At the height of a teary, spiritually rousing funeral service on Saturday afternoon, mourners of a 70-year-old minister and her grandson both brutally murdered in Miami Gardens a week and a half ago got some unexpected good news.
Ive just been notified they caught the person, announced Pastor Virgil Walker, interrupting his eulogy.
Many in the crowd of several hundred gathered at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Miami Gardens cheered and lifted their arms. Theyd been waiting for answers since Rev. Annette O. Anderson and her 20-year-old grandson, Tyrone Lenard Walker Jr., were found killed in her home on July 16.
As it turned out, the celebration was premature.
Minutes later, Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert walked on stage and whispered in the pastors ear.
They didnt apprehend them yet, but they know who they are, declared Walker, a relative of the deceased. More muted cheers ensued.
Despite the announcement, authorities have not named or detained any suspects, according to Miami Gardens Police Detective Michael Wright.
Its a very trying time for the family, and I dont know why they would say that. Im not a psychologist, Wright said. What were doing is monitoring this case very closely.
Police have received numerous leads and are continuing to investigate, according to Wright.
The discrepancy is one of many unanswered questions plaguing friends, family and the community where Anderson was a fixture for more than 50 years. She and her grandson were bound, gagged and shot execution-style in her yellow house on Northwest 207th Street, according to relatives. The exact cause of death has not been confirmed by authorities.
What possible motive could a person have to execute a 70-year-old woman? asked Walker, who lives a few houses away from Anderson and is the brother of her son-in-law. She was an individual that was always caring, always helping people. She absolutely didnt cause any issues for anyone at all. Its demonic the way that she died. Its absolutely crazy.
Police said they could not confirm whether there were signs of forced entry or robbery. Walker said he is convinced that Anderson knew the attacker because she could see through the front door.
At Saturdays funeral, attendees wiped away tears with handkerchiefs even before the service started. One white and one baby blue casket were brought in from hearses drawn by white horses. A photo slideshow of grandmother and grandson at various ages beamed from the wall.
Mayor Gilbert, who said Anderson was an old friend, spoke on behalf of the city.
My heart is broken too, he said. She was an inspiration to our community and left an indelible mark on the city. We will not remember her by how she was taken; we will remember her by how she lived.
Flanked by all five Miami Gardens city council members, he recalled that Anderson had brought him water when he was campaigning and used to stop him in City Hall and offer him prayers.
Representatives from the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners and the North County Citizens Association, where Anderson was former secretary, also honored her.
Friends and relatives remembered Anderson as a deeply spiritual woman and quiet, yet active, presence in her community. Born in Georgia, Anderson spent 30 years working as a therapist in a state-run mental health institution in Miami, according to Walker. She had a bachelors degree from Jacksonville Theological Seminary and last January received a Master of Theology from the Practical Christianity Institute of Evangelism in California. The school also awarded her a posthumous doctoral degree in theology.