Broken hearts on day of love

Published 10:07 am Tuesday, February 16, 2016

RALEIGH – It’s tradition on Valentine’s Day to share your “heart” with the one you love.

Tamira Anderson didn’t take part in that tradition on Sunday as her heart remains broken.

It was a somber weekend for the Anderson family of Raleigh and Murfreesboro as Friday, Feb. 12 marked the third anniversary of the murder of a loved one – Torrey Lamont Anderson.

The 21-year-old was living in Murfreesboro with his grandparents, Michael and Sylvia Anderson, after relocating from Raleigh. He was working at Smithfield Packing in Smithfield, VA.

At 3 a.m. on Feb. 12, 2013, a passerby traveling on Nike Park Road in Carrollton, VA (Isle of Wight County) noticed a vehicle on fire and called 9-1-1. When firefighters arrived at the scene to extinguish the blaze, they made a gruesome discovery – a badly burned body located near the vehicle.

Following a probe by the medical examiner, the man was identified as Anderson. However, it was discovered that he died of a gunshot wound prior to his body being set on fire.

“There’s no new evidence in this case,” explained Tamira Anderson, Torrey’s mother, from her home in Raleigh last week.

While new leads are sparse, there are rumors circulating regarding the identity of those involved in the young man’s death.

“Somebody out there knows something…somebody is protecting somebody,” said Mrs. Anderson. “If they do know who did this and are not sharing that information with the police, then they’re just as guilty as the person or persons responsible for murdering my son.

“We don’t know why Torrey was killed,” she continued. “He had not hurt anyone on this earth; he didn’t have any enemies. Torrey didn’t deserve this; to die in this brutal way.”

To this day, Mrs. Anderson said she regrets not asking her son a very important question when she spoke to him by phone approximately seven hours prior to his death.

“Me and his sisters were at the mall and I called him at 8 p.m. to check on him at which time I told him to be safe,” she remembered. “I now realize that we were the last ones to speak to him. Looking back on it I wish I would have asked Torrey who he was with that night.”

She added that others attempted to contact Torrey that night, including several calls placed by his grandmother. All of those calls went unanswered.

“I honestly do not think anyone thought he was in any type of danger that night,” Mrs. Anderson remarked. “When I spoke with him he didn’t act liked anything was wrong. His voice was calm as usual.”

She did add that her son had worked at Smithfield Packing on Feb. 11, a job he had held since November of 2012. His shift ended that day at 4 p.m.

“From the information we have, we do know that he was seen driving his car after work and there were several guys in the car with him,” Mrs. Anderson noted. “That wasn’t anything unusual for Torrey as he was always the type to take you wherever you wanted to go, but it wasn’t his nature to pick up a stranger.”

The family has posted a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder. Those with information can share it anonymously by calling the Virginia Crime Line, toll-free, at 1-888-LOCKUUP.

Meanwhile, Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Lt. Tommy Potter remains on the case. In an interview last year, Potter said the investigation produced some leads south of the state line.

“Most all of our investigations to date points us towards a person or persons of interest in Northampton County, North Carolina that may know something,” said Potter. “We’ve interviewed people from that area, to include some living near Murfreesboro and from Conway. We believe Mr. Anderson was with those same individuals the weekend before he was murdered. Somebody down there knows something.”

Potter noted how the victim developed and basically stuck to the same daily routine.

“He would get up in the morning, drive from Murfreesboro to Smithfield, work his job, and go home; it seems he didn’t go out much other than that,” Potter said. “However, on the weekend prior to his murder, Mr. Anderson didn’t go home to Murfreesboro. Instead he spent the weekend with some friends in Newport News, VA. We think those friends are the same ones from your area there in Northampton County.”

Sylvia Anderson had high hopes for her grandson. She said he wanted to pursue an education in HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology) at Paul D. Camp Community College in Franklin, VA.

“He filled out papers for financial aid; we were so proud of him for that,” she said. “We were notified by letter in April of 2013, just a few months after his murder, that he had been accepted into that program. It broke our heart to know he was so, so close to realizing his dream.”

Now, the entire Anderson family is more determined than ever to continue to keep Torrey’s case in the spotlight.

“They may have taken Torrey’s physical presence from me, but they can never take him away from my mind or from my heart,” said Sylvia Anderson in an earlier interview. “I’m more determined than ever to help bring the person or persons responsible to justice. Yes, we want justice for Torrey, but we also want to protect others from having to suffer through this same grief. We do not want this evil person to have the chance to hurt another family like he’s hurt ours.

“If someone knows anything about this case, no matter how insignificant you think it is, it will help us out,” Potter said. “Breaking a case is often accomplished by taking small bits of information and putting the puzzle together.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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