RICHMOND, Va. -- By now you may have heard the story of Trey Hope: a Richmond man born with autism and cerebral palsy, who overcame a number of hurdles before his mother passed away last year.
"Trey and his mom were really close, his mom was his best friend, his everything," JaWanda Hope, Trey's cousin, said.
After his mother's death, Trey, who is now 26 years old, went to live with his uncle and aunt just two doors down on Grantwood Road in South Richmond.
On July 17, Trey was dropped off at a hospital in critical condition.
"Broken skull, found out he is deaf in one of his ears, can't walk when Trey used to run, it's just so much broken pelvis, ribs, shoulder blade, jaw bones, missing teeth," JaWada Hope said. "It goes on and on. He suffered so much, and still is suffering."
A grand jury indicted Trey's aunt, Tori Nichole Jackson Hope, charging her with two counts of abuse and neglect.
"I want justice. He deserves justice," JaWanda Hope said.
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But JaWanda Hope said she also wants changes to the law, to help prevent what happened to Trey, from happening to someone else.
So, she reached out to her state senator, Joe Morrissey.
"When you look at something as tragic as what happened to Trey you start walking backwards and you say where could we have prevented this where could we have done it," Morrissey said.
Morrissey said he is exploring legislation to introduce next session.
"One of the pieces of legislation may very likely be a requirement that a case worker follow up regularly, at least during the first six-month period, when that Virginian is placed with somebody, even if placed with family members," Morrissey said.
JaWanda and Trey's dad now have guardianship of Trey, and JaWanda said she will not back down until the person or persons responsible for Trey's decline are held accountable, and changes are in place to protect our most vulnerable.
"I was like, you know, me growing up and seeing him and knowing him and knowing his mom, I couldn't let it go," JaWanda said.
Tori Nichole Jackson Hope's next court appearance is scheduled for April 15. She is being held without bond.