LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — A week has gone by since the disappearance of 20-year-old Avriel Hooks. Law enforcement has given some updates on the case after a body was found in a wooded section of Lexington Turnpike in Amherst County. Avriel’s family shared they want people to remember her as a person.
“She was a firecracker, and she was my wild child and beautiful in every way,” said Ashley Pittman, Hook’s mother.
August 29 was a hard day for the family. The beginning started with an extensive search around the intersection of Carroll and Garfield Avenue in Lynchburg.
“So we searched a little bit, kind of backtracked a little bit, and we saw other some things a little out of the ordinary,” said Lydia Page, Avriel’s sister. “Right around 1:45 p.m., I believe, things started to shift a little bit.”
Law enforcement confirmed that they did find a body near the wooded area off U.S. 60 in Amherst County. The identity of that body has yet to be confirmed.
Following that news, Pittman said it was vital for her to have the vigil because it marks a complete week since she left to drop her daughter off at home. Not only that but it served as a way to thank the community.
“I didn’t know the community cared as much as they did, so this is the biggest smile I’ve been able to put on myself in days to know so many cared to help,” said Pittman. “It was still important for the community to know it mattered, the search party this morning mattered.”
Pittman wore a yellow dress with flowers and the community brought the family yellow roses because they were Avriel’s favorite. Pittman shared she was on the path of changing her life around, creating a wonderful space for her five-month-old son.
“There’s not a word in the English language for the kind of love she had for him,” said Pittman. “I’m gonna gather every picture, every video, every…I believe I have every report card. I’m never gonna let him not know. He will always know.”
Michael L. Perry III was held and eventually charged in connection with Avriel’s murder. He’s been charged with 2nd-degree murder and unlawful disposal of a dead body. Avriel’s family said he is the father of Avriel’s son. Perry is currently being held without bond at the Blue Ridge Regional Jail.
Anyone with additional information is asked to contact LPD Detective C.T. Davis at 434-455-6166, Amherst County Sheriff’s Office Investigator B. Escher at 434-946-9373, or Crime Stoppers at (888) 798-5900.