Murdered boy's name released; family is homeless
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A boy found mortally wounded in Cherokee Park on Tuesday afternoon has been identified by the Jefferson County Coroner's Office, and the child's death has been ruled a homicide. So far police have not made any arrests.
Ray Allen Etheridge, 12, was pronounced dead at Kosair Children's Hospital at 5:34 p.m. Sept. 30. His mother confirmed to the coroner that the family is homeless. The coroner tells WAVE 3 News that the family often lived out of their car.
"This case is being investigated as a murder," said Lt. Todd Kessinger, commander of the Louisville Metro Police homicide squad, during a Wednesday morning news briefing. "We have made a positive identification on the juvenile. We have made contact with his family."
Kessinger said Etheridge's mother reported him missing around 10:30 Tuesday night. He added that the boy and his family may live in southern Indiana and frequent Mid City Mall and Cherokee Park.
"Right now, we are looking for anyone who may have seen him in that area [on the afternoon of September 30]," said Kessinger, adding, "There is no reason at all to suspect the family at this point."
Kessinger said investigators believe Etheridge was fatally injured in the area Cherokee Park where he was found between 4 and 5 p.m. in a wooded area near Hogan's Fountain Pavilion.
"From the evidence that we can see, we think that the injuries happened at that location."
Kessinger refused to release a cause of death, but police indicated on Tuesday that Etheridge suffered some type of chest wound.
"There's a certain direction that we're going," Kessinger said, "and to protect the integrity of the case, we're not going to release any types of those details."
Greater Clark County Superintendent, Dr. Andrew Melin, says Etheridge was a 7th grade student at Clark County Middle High School which is an alternative school in Jeffersonville.
"Ray was well regarded in Clark County Middle High School," said Melin. "Kids liked him, he was fun to be around."
Melin said Etheridge was in school on Tuesday, his mother checked him out at 1:00 because of transportation issues.
Anyone with information about the crime should call the Louisville Metro Police anonymous tip line at 502-574-LMPD (5673).
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