Friends mourn loss of 20-year-old found dead two days after going missing

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 11:14 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A week after 20-year-old Antajuan Hawkins went missing, his friends and family are still mourning after he was found dead near a Richmond park on Saturday.

“When I saw it, I didn’t want to believe it,” Jordan Washington, Hawkins’ friend, said.

It’s the same reaction many had when they went to social media to learn the Henrico High School graduate had been found dead.

Hawkins was reported missing on Feb. 23, and two days later, police found his body near the Pine Camp Cultural Arts and Community Center on Richmond’s north side.

The medical examiner is still determining a cause of death, but on Sunday, 20-year-old Randel Parker was charged with stabbing while committing a felony.

“I don’t know why somebody would wanna do that to him,” Washington said. “Like he doesn’t do nothing to nobody. He’s just a kind person.”

Washington said Hawkins was like a brother to him.

“Some people, if you become friends with somebody, they don’t really check up on you or see how you’re doing like he did to me,” Washington said. “That’s why I kinda looked at him like family because he did that, and I did it back to him.”

Hawkins was a member of the nonprofit, Save Our Youth, a program aimed at getting teenagers ready for adulthood for seven years.

Those who knew him best said he loved the sport of basketball.

“He wanted to go play basketball with me, but we could never really go and play, but I wish we could have,” Washinton said.

Those who mentored Hawkins said he was born in Norfolk but was raised in Henrico.

Now the family is planning a service to honor his life.

“They’re hurt about it too. It’s just a lot, a lot of emotions,” Washinton said.

He said all he has been doing over the last few days are remembering the memories and conversations he shared with his friend.

“Like, I wish he was still here so we can go play basketball together and stuff,” Washington said. “I mean, he still is here in my heart and everything, but it’s just going to be hard to deal with it.”

A vigil will be held this Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Pine Camp basketball courts to remember the life of Hawkins.