Bodies of minister, 70, and grandson found bound, gagged in Miami Gardens home
07/16/2013 5:17 PM
07/17/2013 1:07 AM
She had lived in the tidy yellow house on 207th Street for about 50 years. Annette Anderson, grandmother, retired minister and “mother” to many in the Miami Gardens neighborhood would always open her home and heart to the needy.
Sometimes over the weekend, she died in the house that she had spent most of her life in, along with her 20-year-old grandson, Tyrone Walker Jr.
Police said someone bound and gagged Anderson, 70, and her grandson, a college student, with duct tape, then shot them “execution style.”
The killings horrified the neighborhood where people spilled out of their homes Tuesday, watching as police methodically went about their investigation.
Pastor Virgil Walker, her son-in-law, described her as “beautiful and kind,” saying she didn’t cause anyone trouble.
“She was a person who did not live a hazardous lifestyle,” he said.
He believes Anderson may have known her assailant.
“I don’t know why else she would open the door,” he said, adding he doesn’t think robbery was the motive.
“These are not two- or three-billion dollar homes in this neighborhood. These are average homes.”
Miami Gardens police said they had no suspects as of Tuesday.
Family members and dozens of neighbors huddled around their cars and houses, constantly shaking their heads in disbelief. Others paced around or stood cross-armed as they stared at the murder scene.
Anderson was a long-time member of the Jesus People Ministries Church where she was ordained as a minister and was said to never miss a service.
She hosted weekly bible study sessions at her home with people she had met over the years, mainly older women. Every Tuesday around noon, neighbors could see visitors going into her modest home at 3451 NW 207th St.
Police still were trying to figure out what led to Anderson’s and Walker Jr.’s deaths. Neighbors say they last saw Anderson stirring around her home between 6 or 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
A concerned neighbor noticed that Anderson missed church Sunday and was not seen on Monday. She called police Tuesday. They arrived around 9:30 a.m.
Anderson’s son, Jack Harris, arrived and opened the home for police to do a security check. That’s when the bodies were found.
“We are conducting this investigation as a homicide,” said detective Michael Wright. “It’s a very sensitive case so we want to make sure to cross our t’s and dot our i’s.”
Tyrone Walker’s father described him as a “a young happy guy, someone who wouldn’t hurt anyone.”
“He was big,” said the elder Walker, who arrived Tuesday in Miami Gardens from Jacksonville. “Just because he was big, most people were intimidated by him, but he would never hurt anyone.”
Walker said his son, nicknamed TJ, had been in South Florida only three months, moving from Jacksonville to attend ITT Tech.
“It’s too close to home,” said neighbor Keino Dobson, who left his job to rush home after getting a call from his mother about the murder. “She was a good woman. Most people here grew up together. Her kids grew up with me.”
On Tuesday, family members gathered at the Virgil Walker family home, a block away from the crime scene. It served as a place of solace and discussion for the community.
Walker and other ministers said they would ask city officials and police to create a plan of action to protect the elderly who live in Miami Gardens.
Miami Gardens Mayor Olivier Gilbert stopped by, calling Anderson “a ray of sunshine.” He had just taken a picture with her recently. He assured the crowd that the city and police will work to find the criminals.
“We will dedicate every resource available,” said Gilbert. “I won’t comment on the investigation because it’s an investigation and we want to actually catch them.”
Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 305-471-8477.
Miami Herald news partner CBS 4 contributed to this report.
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