In 2007, then-City Paper staff writer Joe Eaton penned an award-winning story on Terrell Hunter, a dangerously obese 15-year-old who’d been declared a ward of the city because his mother was unable to keep him thin.
Hunter died last week due to complications from obesity. Family members are hoping to hold a memorial service next weekend.
We’ll fill in more details as they become available.
Eaton’s original story on Hunter story chronicled the flight of the boy known as “Heavy T,” who was on the run from authorities not because he’d broken the law, but because he wanted to snack freely:
At the curb sits a blue Ford sedan, not a police cruiser, not a silver Chevy Impala like the guys from the Child and Family Services Agency drive. Terrell tumbles off the couch, walks to the kitchen, and picks up his sandwich.
“This is my life,” he says, putting on his gangster shtick. “I’m not afraid of shit.”
His tough words aren’t enough to knock down Terrell’s fear. He is terrified. Since March, he has lived in dread of getting caught. When someone knocks on the door, he hides. When he steps into his neighborhood, he scans the street. When the phone rings, he answers in an old man’s voice and tells callers Terrell is not home.
Terrell isn’t wanted for drugs, weapons, stolen property, or any of the other crimes that take place in the courtyard behind his home in the Greenleaf Gardens complex of Southwest. He isn’t wanted for breaking the law.
The agency is hunting Terrell because his weight is ruining his health. In March, his mother lost custody of him for not keeping him thin. Since then, the 15-year-old has been an unlikely fugitive, running and hiding, slipping away when he gets caught, fighting to stay free, and getting bigger.
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery