A 6-year-old Mississippi boy was found dead from a gunshot wound on Thursday in the back of a car that had been stolen from his mother hours earlier in Jackson, Miss., the authorities said.
Ebony Archie, the boy’s mother, had left him in a running Toyota Camry at about 1:15 a.m. while she ducked into a Kroger grocery store, according to Heath Hall, a spokesman for Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker. At some point during the 10 to 15 minutes that she was gone, a Honda Civic pulled up and someone jumped out and got into the Camry, taking the car and the boy, Kingston Frazier.
Ms. Archie notified a law enforcement officer at the grocery store, who began filing a report for a missing car before realizing later that Kingston had been taken, too, the authorities said at a news conference.
An Amber Alert was issued at about 4:15 a.m., describing Frazier as 3 feet 9 inches tall and weighing about 40 pounds. He had last been seen wearing a white tank top, khaki pants and “black and gold Jordan tennis shoes,” it read.
About 9:30 a.m., however, the authorities found Kingston dead with a gunshot wound to the back of his head, Mr. Hall said. His body was left in the back seat of the car, which had been abandoned behind a warehouse on a dead-end dirt road in rural Madison County, about a dozen miles from the Kroger, the authorities said.
Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies coordinated throughout the day. By Thursday night, the authorities had arrested three 17-year-old suspects, Dwan Wakefield, D’Allen Washington, and Byron McBride, Mr. Hall said. All three will be charged with capital murder, a crime punishable by death, and were being held without bail, the authorities said.
“All they had to do is let this kid off on the side of the road, at a grocery store, at a church, anywhere else, but they chose to kill the kid,” Mr. Hall said.
On Thursday, family members expressed their sorrowful disbelief.
“It’s hard to know that people out there are evil, that would kill a child,” Velma Eddington, the boy’s great-aunt, told The Clarion-Ledger. “That’s evil. That baby hadn’t done anything to him. That baby hadn’t done nothing. They could have left that child on that back seat, asleep. They didn’t have to kill him. Those people are evil. Evil.”
His uncle, David Archie, said the boy “just liked to have a lot of fun.”
“There is nothing out there worth taking a 6-year-old’s life,” he told the newspaper.
The Jackson Public School District said on Facebook that Kingston was in kindergarten at North Jackson Elementary School and was “beloved by his classmates and teachers.”
Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi reacted to Kingston’s death on Facebook on Thursday night.
“The innocence and life of a 6-year-old child have been taken by a horrific crime,’’ he said. “It is time this senseless violence end. We can all pray that God will assuage the pain of Kingston’s family and friends, while we hold the guilty accountable.”