Chad E. Ketchum
19 Years Old

September 5, 1972 to August 22, 1992

Chad Everett Ketchum - first and only child of Ricky Ketchum, who was 20 years old on July 21, 1972. Chad was born on September 5, 1972. Chad and Ricky grew up together more as brothers, friends, and then father and son. He was the first grandchild of Dorothy N. LeBleu, and, as the years went by, she was, in Chad's words, "For so long, the only Mother I had."

When Chad was six years old, we nearly lost him to encephalitis. He was delirious and cried all day for his dad - who was holding him in his arms. Then, the very next summer, he almost died from what was finally diagnosed as "Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever" (we later decided it was Lyme's Disease).

Chad grew into this beautiful young man who made friends with anyone he came in contact with, and his young friends always looked up to him as their hero. He was the "peace maker" who always took care of them, and, if there was any trouble among them, he very tactfully settled it.

When he became a teenager, he had his share of problems, but his Dad and Grandmother were always there to help and guide him. He did not know the meaning of prejudice or racism, and his greatest fault until he died was to trust everyone to be his "friend".

Chad graduated from high school in Sulphur, Louisiana in 1991, and had started at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to study architecture. He was an artist and a very good one!

Ricky had bought Chad a 1982 Chevy Blazer to go back and forth to college. His Grandmother, "Dot", bought him some rather expensive rims for his wheels for graduation, and he had worked and bought a stereo system for his Blazer. He was so proud of his vehicle.

During the summer session of 1992, Chad went to visit his Mother in Katy, Texas. While there, he was a victim of a gang of juveniles who broke into his Blazer for his stereo and the rims on his wheels. To keep him from identifying them, and God forbid, because they wanted to kill a "white boy", they took him to a remote area near a school house and shot him to pieces. The boys were all Hispanics, and we never knew that they did not consider themselves white until then. They took turns shooting him with two 45's and two Chinese Assault Rifles with Bayonets on them. They thought they had killed him and started to leave when one boy turned around and saw Chad trying to crawl away. The three carloads of boys stopped, unloaded their guns, kicked Chad over on his back, and started shooting and stabbing him in his head. After burglarizing his Chevy Blazer, they burned it.

The next day, these boys met and laughed at the way Chad died - one of them fell on the floor and mocked the way the bullets bounced his head on the concrete street. They even put a bag of marijuana by his head so that the police would think the murder was drug related.

We had to have a closed casket funeral - Chad was unrecognizable. I have nightmares of my precious child being shot, stabbed, and cursed in the street like he was a mad dog.

Ten juveniles, ages 14 to 23, were arrested and charged with Chad's death. In Texas, if two felonies occur (the burglarizing and burning of his Blazer and his murder), it should be capital murder. However, the District Attorney refused to show this as one crime, so four boys were charged with burglarizing and burning his vehicle and received 10 years probation and six boys were taken to court (one at a time) and received prison terms. As of this date, June 2, 1999, we have one of the murderers in review for parole, and the others will be coming up each year for the next five years.

So, the family receives a death sentence. I am sure that is what "closure" means to us.

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Chad Ketchum