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Vigil planned for Renfroe Middle student murdered in Decatur, suspect sought

Crime and public safety Decatur slideshow

Vigil planned for Renfroe Middle student murdered in Decatur, suspect sought

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Photo provided to Decaturish

The community is planning a candlelight vigil to honor a Renfroe Middle School student murdered in her Trinity Walk apartment Sunday morning.

Shykia Ward-Reese was 14-years-old. Another victim, a male, has not yet been identified pending a notification of family. The vigil will be held Tuesday, March 27, at 6:30 p.m. in the Beacon Municipal Courtyard, located at 420 W. Trinity Place Decatur, GA, 30030.

Police are still seeking the primary suspect, Royce Stewart, who faces charges of auto theft and two counts of murder.

“Royce Stewart was last seen operating a silver 2014 Ford Mustang Convertible GA tag: 1BARB1E,” the Decatur Police Department said. “Police are asking anyone who has information concerning the location of Royce Stewart to contact the Decatur Police Department at (404) 373-6551 or Crime Stoppers at 404/577-TIPS.”

Police on Monday afternoon, March 26, confirmed the vehicle had been found.

“The silver 2014 Ford Mustang convertible GA tag 1BARB1E stolen in the double homicide on March 25, 2018 from Trinity Walk Apartments has been located by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and DeKalb County Police Department at an address on Glen Raven Court, Decatur, Georgia,” the Decatur Police Department said. “The vehicle was unoccupied at the time it was recovered.  Officers are still attempting to locate the suspect, Royce Stewart.”

Trinity Walk apartments are located at 421 West Trinity Place and are owned by the Decatur Housing Authority.

Police responded to the apartments on Sunday, March 25, at 9:35 a.m. to a call about a person stabbed.

“”Upon arrival, Decatur Police found two deceased persons inside the residence,” the Police Department said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Decatur Police Criminal Investigations Division with the case.

The Decatur Housing Authority has been fully cooperating with investigators. They said the suspect is not a resident of Trinity Walk or any other DHA properties. DHA said Shykia Ward-Reese lived at Trinity Walk with her mother. In a statement, DHA said, “All of us at the Decatur Housing Authority are shocked and deeply saddened by what has happened and we are keeping Shykia’s family and friends in our prayers.

“The safety and well-being of our residents and employees has always been the Decatur Housing Authority’s first priority every day and especially during especially during situations like this one.,” DHA Executive Director Doug Faust said. “As with many of you, we hope to learn more information about this sad event and how we can avoid such unnecessary violence in the future.”

Police provided these photos of the suspect:

Photos provided by Decatur Police

Editor’s note: Earlier police reports indicated the victim’s name was Shykia Ward. Police have clarified that her full name is Shykia Ward-Reese.

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