CONCORDIA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Authorities in Concordia Parish say they are investigating the murder of a man recently named Teacher of the Year. According to the sheriff's office, it happened on June 23, 2019, in the Ferriday area in northeast Louisiana.
Fred McCray, Jr. taught Technology Foundations and also served as Assistant Test Coordinator at Morgantown Middle School. / Source: Natchez-Adams School District
Carol Williams says she got a text from her son, Frederick McCray Jr., Sunday night saying he was on his way home. She had no clue that would be the last time she'd speak to her son.
"Very shocking, heartbreaking, unbelievable," said Williams.
Investigators say on the night of the murder, Frederick McCray, Jr., gave a ride to both Jimmy O’Neal Lewis and Cedric Tennessee. Authorities say McCray drove the suspects to a location around Bayou Drive in Ferriday where the suspects pulled out a gun and shot him. Authorities say the suspects then drove the body to an old dogfood plant where they hid the body under plywood and garbage.
Authorities say the suspects have given full confessions. Both suspects are charged with first-degree murder.
Family and loved ones are still in shock.
"He just was a good child. I loved him like he was my flesh and blood," said Addison Thomas, McCray’s godfather.
"I will always look up to him and walk in his footsteps in a way," said Hailey Williams, McCray’s sister.
Carol Williams didn't say who, but one of the suspect's parents reached out to offer condolences.
"She expressed to me as she was scrolling down his Facebook page or some page she was looking on about how he was such an inspiring young man and had a whole lot going on how well she just knew he would achieve great things in life. And she gave me her condolences of how much she knew she couldn't bring him back but how deeply sorry her family was," said Williams.
Friends, like McCray's fraternity brothers, are focused on the memories that made him special. McCray was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
"His energy. His smile lights up a room. He could walk in and it could be gloomy just like it was today outside. Earlier today it was gloomy but now the sun is out. His smile had that type of effect," said Jerald Johnson.
If given one last chance to speak to her son, this is what Williams would say.
"His last words to me were that, 'I'm headed home.' Didn't know that headed home wouldn't mean physically the home where I'm at but the home to be with our father. I'll see him someday. So rest on my child, rest on," said Williams.
Family says McCray was a teacher in Natchez and just completed his second Master’s degree. He was in the process of starting on his doctorate.
According to the Natchez-Adams School District, McCray taught 8th grade at Morgantown Middle School. McCray was named 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year.
The following statement was released by the Natchez-Adams School District:
"Mr. McCray dutifully taught Technology Foundations and also served as Assistant Test Coordinator. In his first year of teaching at Morgantown, Mr. McCray was named the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year. Mr. McCray’s zeal for education, infectious smile, gentle personality, fashion sense, and love for children will be missed by all of us at Natchez-Adams School District. Our sincere condolences are offered to his family, friends, and coworkers."