LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A homeless man has been charged with murder in connection to the death of a 12-year-old boy in Cherokee Park.
According to an arrest report, Joseph Cambron, 21, got into a physical altercation at the park with the victim, Ray Allen Etheridge, 12, on September 30. It "ended with the victim dying from wounds sustained during the altercation."
The arrest report says Cambron disposed of the murder weapon, which Lt. Todd Kessinger of the Louisville Metro Police Department identified as a knife. Kessinger said Etheridge was stabbed multiple times.
Police said Etheridge and Cambron were acquaintances who likely met within the last couple of weeks. Kessinger said surveillance video in the area helped them in the investigation.
"We were fortunate enough early in the investigation that we were able to pick up some crucial evidence that got us pointed in the right direction, basically video surveillance evidence," said Kessinger.
Cambron also contacted police and said he wanted to talk. Police say Cambron had a camp area in Cherokee Park not far from the murder scene.
Etheridge and his family also were homeless. According to the Jefferson County Coroner, the family often lived out of their car. Etheridge was a 7th grade student at Clark County Middle High School. The superintendent, Dr. Andrew Melin, said Etheridge was at school on Tuesday, the day he was killed, but his mother signed him out early because of transportation issues. Police said that Etheridge and his mother went to Mid City Mall in Louisville's Highlands neighborhood Tuesday afternoon and Etheridge had wandered off.
Police said Cambron gave detectives a recorded statement admitting to his involvement in the incident. He was arrested at 5 a.m. on October 2. In addition to murder, Cambron is also charged with tampering with physical evidence.
Etheridge's family gathered on Thursday outside Cherokee Park. Ronald Etheridge, Ray's father, said the last time he saw his son was nearly a week ago.
"I don't know who this guy is and what he was doing around my son," said Ronald Etheridge. "There is no justice for what has happened to my kid."
Etheridge's younger brother, 9-year-old Dylan Fanning, said he is going to miss his brother.
"I pray for my brother Ray Ray, I hope he goes to heaven and I love him," said Dylan. "I know they caught the guy, but I just want to pray that don't let him go till he learns his lesson."
Cambron was previously accused of sexual abusing 6-year-old child. He was acquitted after a jury trial in August 2014.
According to Cambron's Facebook page, he worked at Ditto's Grill on Bardstown Road in the Highlands. A Ditto's manager said Cambron was hired three weeks ago, but had only worked three days as a dishwasher.
Etheridge's funeral expenses have been taken care of by rapper Master P, who reached out to the family after hearing about their loss. A memorial fund has been set up at any PNC Bank to cover costs for Etheridge's headstone.
A candlelight vigil will be held for Etheridge on Thursday at 8:00 p.m. at Bicknell Park in New Albany. There will also be a memorial for Ray on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at Cherokee Park.