he Story of Two Men Whose Lives Will Not Be Buried
Around 5 p.m. on November 17, 2017 in Macon County, Alabama, an unsuspecting pedestrian made a disturbing discovery. The Macon County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call and confirmed the finding: The body of a young black man in the high grass along County Road 13.
Investigators searched the area until very early the next morning, when a deputy discovered a second body off of Highway 80, just four miles from the first one. Both victims were fully clothed and had begun to decompose in their shallow graves. Sheriff Andre Brunson told AL.com reporters it looked like homicide.
The victims were Edward Reeves and Kendrick Stokes. They were cousins, a rapper and his promoter. They were also fathers, sons, husbands, and survivors. Prayers and inspirations.
Edward Reeves, a.k.a. Bambino Gold, was 29 at the time of his death. He had longed to make a name for himself in the wild Atlanta rap scene and had appeared on over 150 mixtapes since 2011, alongside the likes of Boosie Badazz and Ray Vicks. He had a strong YouTube presence and offered advice on his experiences to aspiring rappers. In September 2017, he opened up about having been shot that summer. A bullet had traveled through his jaw and into his right shoulder, where it remained. He had driven himself to the hospital. In an Instagram post featuring his son, Harlem, Reeves revealed that his son was his source of peace during hard times. “When I got hit in the shootout you the only thing that kept me calm in my mind to survive! You the reason why I [quit] the streets while I’m ahead before I ended up once again in jail or dead! I thank God every time I think about how blessed I am to have you.”
Kendrick Stokes, a.k.a. Skooly Lee Da Tooly, was 30 at the time of his death. He had dreamed of being a promoter since the age of 12. At 25, he moved to Atlanta with Reeves so the two could pursue their careers. Stokes was a father of three: two sons, 10 and 6, and a daughter, 4. But before all else he was a beloved son to Felicia Webster. In an interview with 11Alive during the two weeks between Stokes’s disappearance and the discovery of his body, Webster talked about how her son normally called her every day. He and his cousin were last seen alive around 10:55 p.m. on November 5 in Montgomery, where they stopped to see a friend of Reeves’s on their way back to Atlanta. “The not knowing where he’s at, it’s the worst thing in the world for a parent to have to endure. And I’m not enduring right now. Not at all. But I’m holding on to all my faith that I have,” Webster told 11Alive.
The victims’ families held funeral services and laid them to rest in proper graves in December 2017. The Macon County Sheriff’s Office couldn’t comment on the case, and there have been no updates released to the public since the case broke. The victims’ families have fallen silent, too. If it seems like the person or persons who murdered Reeves and Stokes wanted to make a statement by dumping the bodies into shallow graves, forcing public indignity upon them, then we can also speculate that everyone else seems inclined to bury the details of these deaths as far beneath “easier” news as possible.
Without clues or leads to keep an investigation going, this story will be forgotten by everyone except for Reeves’s and Stokes’s families, who will have to find closure without knowing what happened in the final moments of their loved ones’ lives. The children of the murdered will grow up knowing their fathers as cold case files. The lives of Edward Reeves and Kendrick Stokes will suffer further indignity when they become part of Alabama’s 2017 homicide stats, Atlanta’s dead entertainer stats, Macon County’s unsolved cases. Some people will blame “street life” for what happened to Reeves and Stokes, while others will call the young black men “thugs” and say they got what was coming to them. Those who think they know best will pronounce death a tragic side-effect of being a rapper, a fate to be expected, and there are those who will drown out reality with the latest Kardashian gossip. If you or someone you know have any information about this case, please call the Macon County Sheriff’s Office at 334-724-0669 or Crime Stoppers at 334-215-STOP.