PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Police say two men who went missing last year have both been found dead.
On Thursday evening, Pittsburgh Police called a press conference to announce that both men are dead.
According to police, Gray is the victim of a homicide. And late Thursday night, just hours after the news that his body had been identified, police said that they have a person of interest in the case.
Police have identified that person as 30-year-old Hubert Wingate. He was already in the Allegheny County Jail on an unrelated fugitive from justice charge.
Investigators say Wingate was arrested previously on an outstanding warrant for assault in Colorado. When he was taken into custody, authorities say officers found him concealing a semi-automatic handgun.
Gray’s body was discovered on March 20 near a barge at the Market Street Bridge that spans the Ohio River in Brooke County, West Virginia. Investigators there say he died from a gunshot wound.
Gray was reported missing from his Lawrenceville home on Oct. 25, 2014, by his mother. His house had been ransacked, bloodstains were found and his dog was missing, too.
Gray’s mother, Victoria Gray Tillman, said, “I’m thankful to God for bringing my son home. Now I can begin the closure process. It’s been a long time coming.”
“I appreciate everyone’s help on this,” Corrine Gray, the victim’s grandmother, said. “I was hoping he’d be found in my lifetime, I thank God he is.”
Gray’s dog has not been found.
Meanwhile, the family of Paul Kochu released a statement through their attorney Thursday night saying, “It is with heavy hearts and unspeakable sadness that we learned today of the death of our beloved son and brother, Paul.”
Police say Kochu’s body was also found in the Ohio River in West Virginia, near Wheeling. A forensic dentist helped to positively identify his remains.
Kochu disappeared in the early morning hours of Dec. 16, 2014, on Wharton Street after a night out with friends on the South Side. He was a Duquesne University graduate and worked as a nurse in the ICU at Allegheny General Hospital.
His family, from the Philadelphia area, came to Pittsburgh often to organize search parties for their son.
So far, authorities have not released the cause of his death. They say an autopsy will be conducted.
The family’s statement goes on to say:
“Though we are left with many questions, what we know for sure is Paul was the light of our lives, and we will not be the same without him. Paul loved Pittsburgh. Having traveled here repeatedly over the past four months as we held out hope in the search for Paul, it is clear to us why this community was so dear to him. In addition to family and friends, countless strangers embraced us and offered their love and support in helping us during this difficult time. There are no adequate words to express the gratitude we feel towards the Pittsburgh community. As we cope with this loss, we now ask that the media respect our privacy as our family grieves.”
UPDATE (March 27, 2015) —
One day after the body was positively identified, balloons and flowers were being piled outside of Gray’s mother’s home in Swissvale in Andre Gray’s memory.
Meanwhile, Police in Wheeling, West Virginia, say preliminary reports indicated that drowning may have been a factor in the Kochu case; however, there will be no official cause of death until all examinations are complete.