Henry Granju, if you don't know, was the beloved son of Katie Granju, who I do not know (personally), but who is a close friend of a friend of mine.
Henry was just 18, and was, by all accounts, a wonderful young man, kind and loving and smart and funny. I have seen photos of him, and he was handsome. He had a twinkle in his eye, and in nearly all of his photos, there was a smile playing about his mouth.
I have read words that he wrote, and he was a good writer - whimsical and clever and creative, and he had good grammar and a broad vocabulary.
He was a musician, with a guitar in his hand or strapped 'cross his back nearly all the time.
Henry was also a drug addict.
Last April 27, his mother received a phone call that changed her world and that of those she loves. Henry had been brought by ambulance to the hospital and was near death, having suffered an overdose of methadone and been, apparently, beaten.
I say "apparently" because the Knoxville County Sheriff's Office doesn't seem to think that matters. Because Henry was a drug addict.
I don't know all the facts, because I wasn't there. But I know what I've read over the nearly year since it's happened, and I have come to believe some things based on the time line that Katie has constructed from the copious information that she herself has had to root around and find.
Katie, you understand, is not an investigator or a detective or a police officer. Katie is a mother and a writer.
Katie has spent nearly the last year investigating the case because Henry was "an unattractive victim."
On April 25th, Henry was involved in a drug deal gone bad and was beaten up. He didn't get the living shit beat out of him that day, though, and he wasn't dying of an overdose then.
That didn't happen until the next day when two older "friends" came to the "rescue" with an enormous dose of methadone that they got from God only knows where and gave it to him.
Then they came back and picked him up in a van and took him to their trailer. At that time he showed no signs of physical injury.
By the next morning, his "friends" were freaking out because Henry was blue and vomiting and unresponsive and they didn't want to call for help. They only did so under threat of a friend of Henry's calling the police.
From what I have read (and my reading comprehension is well above average), I believe that if Henry Granju had not entered his "friends'" van, Henry Granju would be alive today.
When Henry arrived at the hospital, he had clearly been badly beaten and was bleeding from his ears. He continued to bleed for weeks.
Henry told his mother that his "friends" had promised him some things and compelled him do some rather unsavory things with gentlemen for money and drugs.
Katie Granju reported this information about her son, hard as it was to do, to the Knox County Sheriff's Office, and offered two phones containing hundreds of corroborating text messages to them, and they declined to take the phones or interview Henry while he was still able to communicate.
Because Henry was an unattractive victim.
I call bullshit.
Henry Granju was a son, a brother, a friend, a grandson, a nephew, a beloved child, all before he was ever an addict.
I believe that had Henry Granju not entered that van, he would be alive today.
I do not believe in conspiracy theories, but I think someone at KCSO or the Knox County DA's office is dirty and is being protected. Otherwise, I simply cannot understand why when a young man is given a lethal overdose and is beaten to death, no matter who he is, it's not investigated.
Katie Granju is seeking justice for her son. But that's not all she's seeking. Knoxville is a hotbed of drug activity, and apparently child prostitution. Katie Granju is seeking to keep them from "hurting other kids," one of the last things her dying son asked her for.
It will soon be a year since Katie got that awful phone call. I hope to see significant progress in this case before then.
Henry's story is long and painful, but please take time to read it.