Boy Beaten To Death With Pipe
Gary Grant Jr.’s killer has never been caught.
Gary Grant Jr. was a 7-year-old boy from Atlantic City, New Jersey. His parents, May and Gary Grant Sr, had divorced a year prior and he lived with his mother.
On Thursday, January 12, 1984, Gary had the day off from school due to a teachers’ conference. Over breakfast, he told his mother he had a secret appointment at 2:30 PM. May thought that he had a girlfriend he didn’t want to tell her about. Around noon, Gary left the house after telling his mother he’d be back at 4 PM.
He never returned home.
Alarmed that her son hadn’t arrived home yet, May visited Gary’s friends to ask if they had seen him. The two girls said he had been at their house but he’d left at 4:30 PM. This lead to May believing she had just missed her son and went home expecting Gary to be there.
She was wrong, there was no sign of the young boy anywhere. She called Gary Grant Sr., a police officer, and they searched the neighborhood until 2 AM.
The Atlantic City Police Department began their official search in the morning. Due to regulations, Gary Grant Sr. was not allowed to be a part of the investigation. Nevertheless, he searched for his son on his own.
Two days into the investigation, Robert Hughey heard about the news and decided to search near the warehouse he owned. In a vacant lot, he found a small body wrapped in a rug, merely 2 miles away from where the missing boy lived. Gary Grant Jr. had been beaten to death with a metal pipe that was located near the body.
Police immediately ordered a radio silence so they could tell the family first. However, Gary Grant Sr. found the crime scene and had to be restrained once he saw the body.
Police had only one suspect, Carl “Boo” Mason. Boo was a mentally challenged 12-year-old who was friends with Gary. He claimed to not have been with the boy on the day of his disappearance, but various neighbors stated otherwise.
Boo’s grandmother drove him to the police station where he was put in a room with police officers for a 3 hour long questioning. He was very inconsistent but eventually admitted to being with Gary and hitting him with the pipe. According to the police present, Boo knew things only the perpetrator could possibly know.
A confession was written and Boo, his grandmother, and the authorities signed the document. He was charged with murder and was sent to a juvenile detention center. However, he quickly insisted that he was innocent and had not been with the victim at the time of his death. Years later he remarked,
“I did not have anything to do with his murder. The one cop said if you admit that you did it we’ll let you come home. So me at the age of 12, I was so tired, I said if you say so, but I didn’t, then next thing I know, I winded up in a home.”
Months after his initial arrest, a hearing took place for a judge to decide if the confession would be admissible in court. The charges against Boo were dropped because the admission had not been made voluntarily.
On January 2, 1986, two years after Gary’s death, someone wrote on the side of a patrol car, “Gary Grant’s dead. I am living. Another will die on January 12th if all goes right”.
A few weeks later another note was left, this time on a sidewalk, “Gary Grant Jr. lives. I still killed him. Son of a pig officer. Payback is a M.F.”.
It is unknown if the unidentified vandal has any true connection to the crime.
In 2016, Gary Grant Sr. found two 911 tape recordings from 1986. One is of a man claiming to have killed Gary asking if he could keep the reward if he turned himself in. The other is of a person claiming the killer confessed to him. Gary’s murderer had told him that the boy was killed because of an arrest his father had made.
Gary Sr. hopes that these lost tapes could provide answers on his son’s death.
Despite being retired and having moved to Puerto Rico, he has still not stopped investigating Gary’s death.
He believes Boo was present during the murder but doesn’t believe he committed the crime. Boo’s older brother had been involved in a scheme that required getting kids to steal.
It is believed that he tried to convince Gary to rob a house, but Gary, being the son of a cop, would want to tell his father. To silence him he was killed.