Created: 07/25/2014 9:06 AM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4
CHURCK ROCK, N.M. -- One of the homeless men beaten to death in Albuquerque decided to live on the streets after a life-changing heartbreak, his family said.
Kee Thompson grew up and spent most of his life in Church Rock near Gallup. He loved his family, especially his nephew, Jeremiah.
"He was a jokester like him. They were inseparable," said Stephanie Plummer, Thompson's sister.
But in 2005 at just 19 years old, Jeremiah died from a heart condition.
"He was really sad about it. He took it hard," Plummer said.
Thompson then left to Albuquerque. He told his family he'd rather live on the streets than at home with the memory of Jeremiah all around.
"He's the only son I have," said Louise Yazzie, who raised Thompson after his mother died. "I told him, 'I want you to stay here with us.'"
Yazzie would drive to Albuquerque every few months to find him, and each time, he told her he needed to stay with his street family.
"He loved them so much," she said.
Every once in a blue moon, Thompson would show up on the family's doorstep in Church Rock for a short visit.
"He'd always come in the house and say, 'I'm back, mom,'" Yazzie said.
But he'd be gone too soon. Thompson's life was taken on the streets he used as an escape.
But his memory is still at his old home in Church Rock, and there's no room in that little house for anything else.
"Hate's not going to bring my brother back," Plummer said. "You just have to find that peace within."