Tuesday, December 26, 2023

The Murder of Gandy Shad Kaydea

Source: ABC 6

 
On the evening of March 20th, 2013, authorities in Cranston, Rhode Island were called about a suspected brush fire at the entrance of Pocasset Cemetery. As the fire department arrived to extinguish the fire, they discovered something unexpected amongst the flames: the body of a young man. 

Fingerprints later helped identify the young man as 22-year-old Gandy ‘Shad’ Kaydea. It was immediately clear he had been a victim of homicide. An autopsy revealed that Shad had been killed by ligature strangulation. 

Detectives believe that Shad was killed in a different place before his body was brought to the cemetery and set on fire. Years have passed since this tragic event, and many questions remain unanswered - such as who did this? and why?

While this information is still unknown to this day, there are a quite a few circumstances surrounding Shad's murder that may hold some significance.  

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More about Shad.

Source: wpri.com


According to reports, Shad was living a busy life shortly prior to passing away. He was an aspiring rapper and had uploaded several music videos to YouTube under the name “Young Shad”. 

Shad also had been taking GED classes at the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence in Providence. Staff members from the school described Shad was a leader amongst the other students. Shortly after Shad's death, an instructor from the school told reporters that "Shad was turning his life around and had one more test to take to get his GED."

Shad was also praised by the school's staff members for his dedication to the program during difficult times. The school's executive director said that Shad was dealing with "the stress of not having a place to stay recently," but was still showing up for classes. 

Shad was also a father - his daughter was only 8 months old at the time of his death. Shad’s daughter and other family members are now left without him in their lives. His relatives still hope to find justice for his brutal murder. 

Possible gang affiliation. 

Initial reports about Shad's murder indicated that detectives believed his killing was gang related. According to The Criminal Journal, detectives believed Shad was affiliated with Providence’s C-Block gang. 

The way in which Shad was found may also contribute to the gang theory. The fact that Shad’s body was found burning in a public place leads to speculation that whoever placed him there wanted to send a message. 

However, Shad's family members stated that Shad was not associated with any gangs in the area. In 2021, Shad’s sister Julie Kaydea told reporters that she had another theory about what might have led to her brother’s murder.

The insurance policy. 

According to a 2021 report on Shad's case, Shad took out a $250,000 life insurance policy about four months before his death. Shad’s sister Julie said she believes the money could be a motivating factor in Shad’s murder. 

Cranston Police Maj. Todd Patalano told reporters that they looked into the insurance policy motive, but it did not lead them to any suspects. According to court documents, a woman named Massiel Ortiz - Shad's former girlfriend - is listed as the primary beneficiary on that life insurance policy. His mother, Julia Klah, is listed as the secondary beneficiary. 

The court documents also reference conflicting claims between the two women. The documents note, in part, "Ms. Ortiz and Ms. Klah have conflicting claims, in that Ms. Ortiz remains a 'person of interest' in the unsolved murder and therefore potentially ineligible for the death benefit under Rhode Island's Slayer Statute."

In 2014, New York Life Insurance Company filed a motion to seek interpleader relief on the insurance policy amid the dispute between Ortiz and Klah. Court documents stated that the insurance company "seeks to deposit the death benefit with the Cout and to be dismissed from the suit." Ortiz fought the motions, claiming that the company was not entitled to the money. 

There have been no other public reports that reference Massiel Ortiz as a person of interest in Shad's murder. In fact, during 2021 Maj. Todd Patalano told reporters that they have “interviewed several people, persons of interest. But at this time there are no suspects.” 

Unknowns.

As it stands, it appears that nothing has been publicly ruled out - from the possible gang affiliation, the insurance policy motive, or something else altogether. Investigators have seemingly not given any updates in the case since 2021. 

It's worth noting that there are some details from initial reports about Shad's death that raise a few questions. As previously stated, a staff member from Shad's GED school said that Shad was struggling with not having a place to stay. However, another report from ABC 6 stated that Shad's last known address was on Progress Avenue in Providence.

If Shad truly did not have a place to stay prior to his murder, it's possible that he may have been having issues in his home life. Again, if true, this raises even more questions about the life insurance policy and other possible motives in Shad's death. 

While this has not been confirmed, it appears this theory has at the very least been investigated. The 2021 report indicates that the insurance policy theory did not turn up any suspects, so it's possible that police are no longer even looking into this motive. Again, though, it appears nothing has been ruled out.

The fight for justice.

Shad's family members have pleaded for the public's help with solving his murder. The police department has added Shad's case to deck of playing cards distributed to inmates in hopes that somebody with information may come forward. 

Those who wish to help anonymously can do so as well. If you have any information that could help the investigation into the murder of Gandy Shad Kaydea, please call 1-877-RI-SOLVE.

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