Police in Richmond, Virginia are currently on a manhunt for a suspect they say beat a 9-year-old child to death on Thursday while he was defending his 11-year-old sister from being raped.
According to reports, the 9-year-old boy and his sister were playing in their backyard near a set of railroad tracks when the suspect approached them and attempted to rape the 11-year-old girl. The children’s aunt says that the young boy tried to stop the man from raping his older sister, but the man took a brick and beat the boy on his head with it. The boy was tragically killed, and the girl, who is being treated for her injuries at a local hospital, was assaulted.
Police initially said that they were searching for a white male with scraggly facial hair, but they now say that the suspect is a teenage black male who threatened the victim into lying about his appearance.
Family members of the young victims say they are still in shock about what happened on Thursday.
"Nobody expects something like this to happen to the babies in their family," said an anonymous relative. “She's [surviving victim] just traumatized. We just took [the mother] on a ride around the block. She doesn't understand why her and why her kids.”
Police say that there are still many unanswered questions as they continue their search for the suspect, and they hope that they can receive more information as the investigation continues.
"[We are] still trying to put this thing together," said Richmond Police Major Scott Booth to NBC 12. "As I get more information, I will definitely get that out to you, especially when it comes to a suspect."
Thursday night, neighbors and members of the community gathered to offer prayers for both the murdered 9-year-old and his sister, who is still recovering.