The tears and the stories flowed as Isaiah Drummond’s grandmother, sister, brother and about 100 friends and family members remembered the man who motivated them, made them laugh and, above all, looked out for so many of them.
They recalled how Drummond, 30, made up his own words to songs and the “constant fun” he brought to their lives. They told stories of his encouraging words and vigilance to make sure his siblings stayed on the right path and fondly remembered his days as a top scholar in Southside Academy High School’s class of 2008.
And Thursday they mourned the senseless killing that brought them to the New Genesis Total Praise Center at midday. Drummond’s body was found last week in the shallows of the Patapsco River off 100 Reedbird Ave. in Cherry Hill Park after he had been missing for nearly a month.
Police say his roommate, Epenetus Henrique, 28, has confessed to stabbing Drummond, and charged him with murder.
Lucia Thompson, Drummond’s grandmother, and Maria Johnson, his aunt, stood outside the Praise Center at 314 N. Gilmore Street wearing black t-shirts memorializing the South Baltimore native.
Johnson, whose shirt read “Rest in peace nephew, forever my angel” said she remembered him as a “loving and caring” person. From when he went missing to the gruesome discovery of his body to Thursday’s memorial service, the past weeks have been a series of unimaginable events for the family.
Thompson said the family still has no idea of the motive behind her grandson’s death, and that they all remain stunned and heartbroken.
“We love him to death. It’s not right without him now — we don’t feel right, we are hurting,” Thompson said after the memorial service.
After graduating near the top of his class at Southside Academy, Drummond attended Baltimore City Community College for two years, studying early childhood education, his family said.
He never graduated from BCCC, but his brother, James Drummond Jr., said he planned to start a mentoring program for Baltimore youths in the near future. He leaves behind two young sons, his family said.
As the large crowd began to disperse, Drummond’s siblings gathered to share their personal experiences.
Janae McDaniels, his sister, said her time with him was nothing but “constant fun." She smiled remembering how Drummond would often not know the words to songs, so he simply made up his own while staying on the melody.
Shatia Drummond, another sister, remembered her brother as a motivator of the close-knit family. Since his death, she said, the siblings have drawn even closer together.
“No matter what it was, if he saw me slacking, he jumped in my ear it did not matter whether it was a text message, a phone call, or if it was face-to-face,” Shatia Drummond said. “He made sure that I stayed on top of what I had to do and let me know that what I was doing was always right."
Drummond’s siblings said they hope to continue his dream of developing a youth mentoring program, and plan to name it after him.
“We are going to come together and try to get it off the ground for him,” James Drummond Jr. said.
Drummond went missing for several weeks. When the family filed a report with Baltimore police on Jan. 28, they told police he had been missing since Jan. 22.
His father, James Drummond Sr., turned to Facebook hoping that people on the social media network could help locate him.
“We have not heard from nor seen him since Wednesday of last week. If you should see him at anytime please inbox me or tell him were looking for him,” his father wrote on Facebook.
Police searched the house Drummond shared with his roommate, Henrique, at the 2500 block of Cecil Avenue. They found evidence of foul play, but no sign of Drummond.
Under questioning, police said, Henrique confessed that he fatally stabbed him and then later led detectives to where he hid the body in the river shallows off Cherry Hill Park.