CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Kornelius Klah still finds it hard to believe his brother’s body was found burning in a Cranston cemetery eight years ago.
“Just thinking about it, I could still cry,” Klah said. “There’s multiple times I think and I just start to tear up.”
It was March 20, 2013 when Shad Gandy Kaydea, 22, was found in the Pocasset Cemetery. Reports from the time said he was strangled; detectives believe he was killed elsewhere and brought to the cemetery, where his body was then set on fire.
Klah said his brother was smart and creative. The young father was making a name for himself in the local rap scene.
“Growing up, I always wanted to aspire to be like him,” Klah said.
At the time, detectives believed Shad was affiliated with a local gang, but his family disputes that.
“I just want them to know that he was gentle, he was loving, he was caring, he was kind,” Shad’s cousin Dee Conway said.
Julie Kaydea, Shad’s sister, was living in Pennsylvania at the time. She tells 12 News she remembers hearing of her brother’s death on social media.
That’s when she rushed home to be with her mother.
“I just saw my mom crying, that was the first time I saw her crying,” Julie recalled. “I just knew that he had probably passed away, but I still didn’t know how and I still didn’t think it was real.”
Cranston Police Maj. Todd Patalano said detectives combed through surveillance footage and visited several locations in an attempt to track down evidence.
Julie has her own theories about what might have motivated someone to kill her brother, and believes a $250,000 life insurance policy that Shad took out just four months before his death holds the answers.
Patalano said police looked into the policy, but it didn’t lead them to any suspects.
“We’ve interviewed several people, persons of interest,” Patalano said. “But at this time there are no suspects.”
Julie said their mother passed away last year, meaning she died not knowing what happened to her son.
“They killed my mom and my brother,” Julie said. “Every day when I [would] go in her room or go check on her, she was just looking at his pictures. She just let it consume her.”
Patalano tells 12 News they’re still actively investigating Shad’s murder.
Meanwhile, his family is still left wondering who was responsible for his brutal death.
“My family is hurting,” Klah said. “To help our hearts, please do something, because it’s really painful.”
To bring in more leads, Shad’s case was added to a deck of cold case playing cards. Each card highlights an unsolved homicide or missing person case in Rhode Island. Shad Gandy Kaydea is the two of Spades.
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-877-RI-SOLVE.