DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) - A man suspected of killing his cousin last year now faces a charge of capital murder during an abduction.
Anton Coleman originally faced first-degree murder and abduction charges in the death of Ke’Asia Adkins.
With tears in their eyes, family and friends shared memories of the 17-year-old Adkins during the funeral in summer 2018. At one point, they even prayed for Coleman.
“When she was with us we had one thing. We had that big beautiful smile. We knew laughter was coming and we knew joy was coming,” one family member remarked during the service.
The body of Adkins was found in a wooded area after she disappeared disappearing from her home.
“God, even touch the man who did it. Cleanse him, oh God,” a pastor prayed.
Dinwiddie High School Cheerleaders came together to do one final cheer for their teammate and her former captains were filled with emotion.
"Every time we had practice, no matter what she was doing - whether it was work or behind the wheel - she always came with a smile and she was a natural born leader for all of these girls in practice," said cheerleader captain Breanna Glass.
“I know she is now cheering for the Lord as well as her family and friends,” her former middle school cheerleading coach said.
A moving moment came when Adkins’ sister, Kendra Green, reminded the crowd not of the bad, but the good.
“Please do me a favor and wipe your faces. This is not a sad time. My sister is at home with our father. She has no more worries. She has no more struggles,” Green said.
The Commonwealth’s attorney says Coleman is the prime suspect in Adkins’ murder. Despite that, Green says she forgives him.
"I've been holding up as well as I thought I would. I've had my moments of break downs," said Green.
In the days since Adkins' body was recovered, Green and her family are handling their grief one day at a time.
"It's definitely going to take some getting used to, not having her smile around," said Green.
In the midst of this heartbreak, Green must also come to grips with the fact that her own cousin may be connected to her sister's death.
She says she knew her cousin to be a hardworking young man with plans to play football for a college in Georgia this fall.
Green adds that Adkins and Coleman were very close, almost like siblings.
"He's more of a big, strong teddy bear. He's kind of like the brother we never had. He always laughed, kept a smile on his face," said Green.
It's for this reason that despite all that's happening, Green says she forgives Coleman.
"I know if he was in the right state of mind, this would have never happened...also I just let God be the judge," said Green.
The medical examiner ruled Adkins' death a homicide after her body was found in the 5900 block of Sentry Hill Court at 7 a.m. on June 28. The cause of death was asphyxia.
Adkins went missing on June 25, in what was described as an "extremely unusual" circumstance.
The school released the following statement:
Anyone with information is asked to call the Dinwiddie County Sheriff's Office at 804-469-4550 or Petersburg/Dinwiddie Crime Solvers at 804-861-1212.