FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Royce L. McGrady
A Mother’s Search for the Truth about The Death of Her Son
One of the hardest experiences a parent can have is the loss of a child. Those feelings are compounded when a parent doesn’t know how their child died. Royce McGrady, mother of Marcus A. Merritt, Sr. has been left with ill feelings that foul play was involved in the death of her 37 year old son, Marcus and asks the public for help in getting to the TRUTH.
On Friday, January 4, 2013, Royce received a call from Astrea, Marcus’ wife of over eight years just before 6:20pm. Astrea stated she thought Marcus had just done something to himself. Royce could tell from Astrea’s voice something was wrong. Astrea told Royce she and Marcus had been texting each other and suddenly, he quit texting her. Astrea called him but he did not answer the phone. Astrea told Royce she was leaving work to go home. She called her parents, asked them to go the house, knock on the door and see if he would answer.
Royce put Astrea on hold and called her son. He didn’t answer. She remained on the phone with Astrea as she drove home. Royce didn’t hear any driving noises during Astrea’s trip. Once Astrea was home, Royce didn’t hear her talking to her parents, no car door opening or closing or keys jingling. She heard nothing until Astrea said, “They’re still not coming out”.
A little while later, she hears Astrea say, “He did!” Then Astrea began to cry, her mother takes the phone and says to Royce, “I’m so sorry”. The very next day, January 5th, Royce drove to Leonville to Astrea’s parents’ house to speak with her; however, her story changed. Astrea said she and Marcus had been talking on the phone instead of texting. She also said she heard a loud noise after which Marcus said, “Uh”. She got no response from him after that. Later that night, Astrea told Royce they burned the mattress because it had blood on it.
On January 6th, Royce went to Ford and Joseph Funeral Home in Opelousas with Astrea, her mom and cousin to take clothes for Marcus. She was led to a preparation room where Marcus’ body was on a steel gurney covered by a sheet from the neck down. Royce did not see any wounds to his head.
Marcus’ longtime barber, Jody went to the funeral home to give Marcus a haircut. He told Royce he did not see any evidence of a gunshot wound either.
Royce contacted the Chief of the Leonville Police Department, Joseph Noel and asked if she could obtain a copy of the police report. She was told to get it from Astrea.
Royce attempted to get this information from Astrea; however, immediately after the funeral Astrea stopped communicating with Royce.
Weeks after her son’s death, Royce learned the Funeral Home Director saw no evidence of a gunshot wound nor was reconstruction done to Marcus.
Royce calls the St. Landry Parish Coroner, Dr. Russell Pavich several times about the incident. He calls her back February 4th exactly one month later and tells her, Marcus died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Yet no autopsy had been performed. The coroner’s investigator went to the scene and reported to him Marcus shot himself in the head. Dr. Pavich tells Royce he never saw the body of the deceased, his historical information was taken from the spouse and the spouse’s father who helped form his conclusion of how he died. Dr. Pavich asked Royce: “Nobody called you and told you your son was killed?”.
Royce states: “All I want to know is what happened to my son. Will somebody please help me? If I find out it was a suicide, I can rest. However, as his mother this eats away at my soul every single day. It doesn’t feel right. I feel deep down inside that something is just not right. Something happened to my child and somebody knows what, why and how. Will somebody PLEASE help me”?
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If you have tips, or additional information, contact Royce at 832-384-8502 or firstname.lastname@example.org .