When Demetrius was 15 years old, he passed away. On the afternoon of September 16, 2016, he was last seen leaving school and beginning to make his way home through the Austin neighborhood of West Chicago, Illinois. He never arrived home, and his mother called the police when he failed to meet his curfew. Emergency services were summoned to an alley about two blocks from Demetrius’ home at 1:25 AM the following morning after a fire there was reported. Sadly, Demetrius was burned alive when his body was found in a burning recycle bin in an alley. Demetrius’ murder is still unsolved sadly because no arrests have been made in the case.

On Monday, family members and neighborhood residents gathered for a vigil at the Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church on the West Side to remember the teen who was killed on September 17, 2016, affectionately known as “Nunnie.” His mother Poly Sykes says her son was kind-hearted, quick to smile, and loved dogs.

He was a lovely young man, Sykes remarked.

He never arrived after curfew late—except on the night he passed away. Sykes claims that the girl knew right away that something was wrong when he was late after walking her home. Looking back, she recalls that he had informed her that a gang was attempting to sign him up.

“I knew they were playing a joke on him. He was being bothered by the neighborhood boys. I therefore drove him and picked him up. I didn’t on this particular night, Sykes said.

In a 55-gallon drum left in an alley on the 5500 block of West Cortez, police later discovered his remains. It was necessary to identify them using dental records. According to the results of the autopsy, Demetrius was burned to death.

Following the incident, community members marched and held a vigil. After all this time, Demetrius’ closest friends regrouped on Monday in the same church where he frequently attended on Sundays. They intend to include a picture of his face in the stained glass windows of the church, according to the local pastor. As the investigation into his murderer continues, a lasting reminder.

Although the police do not consider this to be a cold case, they are still grateful for any information and are offering a $10,000 reward.

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