RICHMOND, Va. -- Trey Hope's life hasn't been easy.
He was born with autism and cerebral palsy, but overcame a lot of his challenges thanks to the unconditional love of his mother, Doris Howell.
"Trey was on the Special Olympics team, he swam, he liked to bowl," said Trey's cousin, JaWanda Hope.
When his mother died in January 2020, Trey's life was turned upside down. "Trey and his mom were really close, his mom was his best friend, his everything," JaWanda said.
After Howell's death, Trey -- who is now 26 years old -- lived with his uncle and aunt, just two doors down on Grantwood Road in South Richmond.
JaWanda said she tried to check in on him. "No one reached out, every time I called it's like Trey is fine," JaWanda said.
On July 17, 2020, she received some disturbing news. Someone had dropped Trey off at Chippenham Hospital and was in critical condition.
"It was bad, they had to resuscitate him two times," JaWanda said.
From there, Trey was transferred to VCU, where JaWanda and Trey's father finally tracked him down.
"We saw officers coming down and security guards, they gave us information about who we needed to contact, and they pretty much said he was abused, he's in bad shape," JaWanda said.
Soon they would learn the extent of his injuries.
"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, jawbones, missing teeth, it goes on and on. He suffered so much, and still is suffering," JaWanda said.
Although Trey was always non-verbal, JaWanda said he could feed himself, walk and run and take a shower on his own.
But that was before July 17.
Now, he relies on a wheelchair and a feeding tube. "Now he's afraid of the world, he's afraid of people, and that's not like Trey," JaWanda said. "I get sad, like I'm so sorry that this happened to you."
What happened to Trey?
Earlier this month, JaWanda said she finally got some limited answers when a grand jury indicted Trey's aunt, Tori Nichole Jackson Hope. She was charged with two counts of abuse and neglect.
"We're moving forward for justice, and I'm all about getting justice for Trey. And not just for Trey, but for all individuals who are blind, deaf, or non-verbal like Trey because it's unfair," JaWanda said.
Yet, it's still unclear exactly how he was hurt so badly.
According to a civil lawsuit filed by an attorney hired by JaWanda and Trey's dad against Trey's aunt and uncle, Trey went to a dentist on July 16.
The dentist reported that Trey had lost a lot of weight and had multiple lesions on every extremity, including bleeding lesions on his head.
The next day, he showed up in the trauma bay of Chippenham with no pulse.
"I've dealt with children who are disabled and it hurts me to know that children that have, or young adults that have disabilities, they need you the most, they depend on your for protection, they depend on you to protect them, and you failed him," JaWanda said. "I want justice, he deserves justice."
Tori Jackson Hope was recently denied bond. Her next court appearance is March 1.
JaWanda said Trey is now in a safe place and receiving care. A GoFundMe was set-up to cover some cost of Trey's care.
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