PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh police made major announcements in two missing person cases Thursday night during a press conference.
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Authorities said the body of Andre Gray, who went missing from his Lawrenceville home in October, was pulled from the Ohio River in West Virginia on March 20.
Police said a preliminary autopsy indicated that Gray had been shot, shifting the case to a homicide investigation.
"I need for them to confess. We're a loving family and a forgiving family," Gray’s mother, Victoria Gray-Tillman, said during the press conference. "I've said prayers all day, every day, but I knew all along that God had my son."
Pittsburgh police announced that Hubert Wingate, 30, is a person of interest in connection with Gray’s death. Authorities said Wingate was already in the Allegheny County Jail. He was arrested previously on an outstanding warrant for an assault in Colorado.
Police said that when he was picked up in Pittsburgh on that warrant, he had a concealed semi-automatic handgun with him.
Authorities also announced that the body of Paul Kochu, an Allegheny General Hospital nurse who disappeared from his South Side home on Wharton Street in December, was found in the Ohio River on March 20.
Kochu was last seen on surveillance video, walking alone near the South Side Giant Eagle.
Family and friends had organized search parties and spent countless hours looking for him.
Kochu's cause of death is yet to be determined, police said.
His family released the following statement Thursday night:
“It is with heavy hearts and unspeakable sadness that we learned today of the death of our beloved son and brother, Paul. These are circumstances no family ever dreams of coping with. Though we are left with many questions, what we know for sure is Paul was the light of our lives, and we will not be the same without him.
“Paul loved Pittsburgh. Having traveled here repeatedly over the past four months as we held out hope in the search for Paul, it is clear to us why this community was so dear to him. In addition to family and friends, countless strangers embraced us and offered their love and support in helping us during this difficult time. There are no adequate words to express the gratitude we feel towards the Pittsburgh community.
“As we cope with this loss, we now ask that the media respect our privacy as our family grieves.”
- Police ID person of interest in connection with Andre Gray’s death
- Paul Kochu’s cause of death yet to be determined