Body found in sewer identified as Detroit man, 19
Detroit — Authorities have identified a man found dead Saturday in a sewer drain as a Detroiter who vanished two months ago.
O’Sean Lockett, 19, died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office. His badly decomposed body was found Saturday afternoon in a drain on the city’s west side.
Lockett’s brother, Trevon Nichols, on Saturday stood near the manhole strung with balloons that had heartfelt words on them, including “I’m sorry.”
His eyes were sullen and his face wracked with pain. He said he found the body Saturday and identified it as belonging to his brother prior to the official identification released Tuesday.
Before police arrived Saturday, Nichols and his brothers lifted the manhole cover and saw what appeared to be the same designer gray T-shirt and shorts Lockett wore before he vanished two months ago.
“We shared the same clothes,” Nichols said Saturday, standing near the corner of Chalfonte and Steel streets, where scores of volunteers had searched for his brother, feared dead for weeks.
“It wasn’t hard to notice what I wear. I found my brother, the police didn’t.”
Lockett hadn’t been seen since the evening of July 6, when his mother, Brenda Burton, dropped him off near a BP gas station after his work shift boarding up vacant houses in the city.
Nichols and his mother said Lockett, who always matched, had on gray Converse sneakers.
Burton, 51, always believed her son’s body would be found. A Christian woman with strong faith, she rushed to the scene — a seven-minute drive from her home on Forrer Street — along with other family members Saturday.
It had been a place she and others had combed thoroughly, even a week ago, smelling a stench from the same manhole that someone had complained about.
“Yesterday was 61 days, and I was going to go look again today,” Burton said Saturday.
“And last Saturday, I went to that same spot and stood over that same spot,” she said.
Burton on Saturday said she said she would resubmit dental records to the medical examiner to expedite identification.
The woman said that Lockett, who stood around 5 feet 10, was known affectionately as “Ham,” a moniker given to him at birth because he was a big baby. He lost weight in the last year or so and was feeling good about life, she said.
She and her family are stumped as to why someone would harm her son.
The path to the body has been an odd odyssey. One neighbor within eyesight of the manhole saw a Facebook posting from a sewage worker at 12:08 Saturday that said, “Went to wk this morning found a dead body in the sewer.”
The woman, Alita Calloway, had already seen police at the scene an hour earlier, and assumed police found someone in the sewer. But they left, she said.
She then called the great aunt of Lockett and alerted her to the body because she knew they were looking for him.
That’s when Burton and her sons rushed to the scene and eventually removed the cover to discover that the body was still there.
Detroit police Sgt. Cassandra Lewis said she couldn’t confirm the neighbors’ account or the Facebook posting, but said authorities arrived and found the body in the sewer.
“This is getting too close to home,” Calloway said of the crime and death that has gripped the city for so long. “Since the search, they have found two dead bodies. It’s not really safe anymore and people don’t value life.”
As for Burton, she said she just wants closure. She remembers, as if it were yesterday, the final kiss he gave her on the cheek as she dropped him near the gas station.
She said his final words to his mother were: “You’d better tell me you love me. What if something happens?”