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'A bright soul' | Gloucester homicide victim remembered as a good father, friend

Gloucester County Sheriff's deputies said they found Kayron Long buried in a vacant lot on Carmines Island Road Sunday night.

GLOUCESTER, Va. — As James Campbell sat at a table with his hands clasped together, he recalled memories with his close friend of seven years, Kayron Long. 

"It's heartbreaking that he's not here anymore," said Campbell. "I'm still trying to wrap my head around it."

Less than 72 hours after he found out his friend was murdered, he still thinks back on the positive things he remembers about his friend.

"Just a bright soul. Never wanted to hurt nobody... always out to help everybody, and he was a great father."

Campbell said he last saw Long on Thursday night when they went to a local bar to play pool with their friends, Edward Hodges and Winfrey Carlton Henry Jr. He said it appeared like a normal night.

But Campbell said he didn't hear from Long the following day. He said it was common for Long to sleep late, but he would usually text him when he got off of work.

Campbell added, Long's fiancée, Lauren Thorpe, was growing worried. 

"I knew, I knew something was wrong. I didn't want to believe it, so I kept telling Lauren to hold out," said Campbell. "He talks to her every day and when she hadn't heard from him, she knew something was wrong. That's when we started going up there and trying to find him. I would never have expected... you know..."

That's when Campbell said detectives told him they found Long buried in a vacant lot on Carmines Island Road. Deputies arrested two men in connection to the case: Winfrey Carlton Henry Jr. and Edward Hodges, the same two men Campbell said were at the bar with them Thursday night.

Investigators said Henry and Hodges lived in the same home on Back Creek Road where Long was temporarily living. They said three people -- Kathryn Wright, David Ford, and a 17-year-old boy -- showed up to the house on Saturday night to try to find Long and to confront Hodges and Henry.

Detectives said that's when Hodges called 911, claiming someone broke into the home. Through the initial investigation and interviews, deputies said they learned Long was killed and buried about nine miles away from the house.

"I don't know how [Henry and Hodges] thought they were going to get away with this," said Campbell. "[Long] was such a good dude and he loved his son so much. He helped anybody."

Detectives charged Henry with second-degree murder and concealing a body, and Hodges with concealing a body and accessory after the fact.

Now Campbell and others are left with so many questions in the absence of their friend.

"I miss him every day. Like, I still want to text him today, you know? I miss him." said Campbell. "It... it just breaks my heart."

Detectives in Gloucester County said the three people accused of breaking into the home were arrested while deputies investigated the scene.

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