STUTTGART, Ark. –Stuttgart authorities confirmed Friday that a body found in a burned vehicle last week is that of a missing 19-year-old.
Authorities from the Arkansas County Sheriff’s Office and State Police are investigating what led to the incident.
People in the community are saying it’s time for a change.
“I’m to the point where I don’t have time to be terrified of these guys,” local barber Frankie Bledsaw said. “We gotta stand up and take a stand.”
A young man, loved and respected, brutally killed, is now leaving the community ready to act.
Frankie Bledsaw said he remembers when Johnny Howard was born, he lived just two houses down from his family.
“A good respectable young man. Always respectful when I would see him,” Bledsaw said. “When I would take my trash to the dumpster, I would see him.”
Howard was found burned to death in a stolen Ford truck on May 4, the same day his family reported him missing.
Tyanna White said her baby brother was a good person.
“He was a very funny person – outgoing, outspoken, real athletic, playful,” White said.
When White and her family received the news of her brothers passing, it was something she never imagined.
“My momma called me like, ‘Is Johnny at home?’ and I’m thinking he’s with his friends so I just brushed it off and didn’t really think much about it,” White said.
A family friend said she thinks Howard may have gotten involved with the wrong people.
“Honestly, I don’t know if the people he was hanging with were in gangs, but I know they were the wrong crowd,” Johnson said.
At this point, Johnson said she wants whoever is involved to come forward.
“Step up, put down the guns honestly,” Johnson said. A message, which she said, the town needs to act on.
“We put up a $2,500 reward yesterday once the sheriff department confirmed that it was him,” Bledsaw said.
But the family and community said no amount of money can replace Howard’s life. “I can’t, I don’t even know where to start,” White said.