Supporters 'celebrate life' of slain Chapel Hill man
Posted September 20, 2008 9:36 a.m. EDT
Updated September 30, 2008 3:49 p.m. EDT
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Family, friends and supporters gathered Saturday to remember the life of a Chapel Hill man, whose kidnapping and slaying investigators say nine people were involved in or helped cover up.
A "celebration of life" service was held for Joshua McCabe Bailey, 20, said Ray Warren, a family spokesman and senior pastor at Orange United Methodist Church.
The service took place at 2 p.m. at the church at 1220 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Chapel Hill.
"Josh will always be remembered as a kind, gentle, caring and loving person who had a winning smile, a great sense of humor, lots of energy," his parents, Julie and Steve Bailey, said in a statement released through Warren Tuesday.
They called him a "beloved and precious son" and "a remarkable brother."
Bailey volunteered with special-needs children and watched them while their parents attended training programs with the Family Advocacy Network, his parents said.
They asked that any memorial gifts be made to a fund to benefit the Orange County Mental Health Association. Donations should be mailed to:
Josh Bailey Memorial Fund
The Mental Health Association in Orange County
302 West Weaver Street
Carrboro, NC 27510
Steve Bailey reported his son missing on Aug. 20, and state authorities issued a Silver Alert, which applies to people suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment.
Orange County sheriff's investigators found Bailey's body in a shallow grave dead near Jordan Lake in Chatham County Sept. 12.
Matt Johnson, 21, is accused of shooting Bailey with a 9 mm handgun on July 29. He and five other men – Brian Gregory Minton, 18; Jacob Alexander Maxwell, 18; Brandon Hamilton Greene, 26; Ryan Ladar Davis Lee, 20; and Jack Johnson II, 19 – each face first-degree murder and kidnapping charges.
Minton's parents, Gregory Lee Minton, 41, and Mishele Shade Minton, 37, as well as Chris Manley, 23, are charged as accessories after the fact of first-degree murder.
"It is difficult for the Baileys to comprehend how so many people could be involved in a violent crime against a young man of 20, who ... only wanted to treat people well, give a big smile and be a friend," Warren said.
"Our prayer is that there will be justice for Josh and that the criminals involved in his kidnapping and murder will never again be allowed to walk the streets of any community and prey on other trusting children," Julie and Steve Bailey said.
"We hope you will join us in our prayer for justice – that these criminals are held accountable for the horror they bestowed on our family and on our community."
His parents said that the suspects took advantage of Bailey's "very trusting soul."
"His life was brutally stolen by people who hid their true nature from him. Josh was simply unable to recognize their evil natures until it was too late," the parents' statement said.
After overcoming "personal struggles in life," Bailey had planned to become a chef or work in youth ministry, his parents said.
Julie and Steve Bailey extended thanks to Investigator Tim Horne, with the Orange County Sheriff's Office; Investigator Phillip Stevens, with the State Bureau of Investigation, and "all of the men and women who ... never gave up the quest for truth in this case."
The parents thanked the community for the prayers and support they have received.
"All of us who love Josh are overwhelmed by the outpouring of empathy and affection from the community," Julie and Steve Bailey said. "We feel this is a testament to Josh's kindness and sweet-natured character."