City Desk

Heavy T, RIP

In 2007, then-City Paper staff writer Joe Eaton penned an award-winning story on Terrell Hunter, a dangerously obese 15-year-old who'd been declared a ward of the city because his mother was unable to keep him thin.

Hunter died last week due to complications from obesity. Family members are hoping to hold a memorial service next weekend.

We'll fill in more details as they become available.

Eaton's original story on Hunter story chronicled the flight of the boy known as "Heavy T," who was on the run from authorities not because he'd broken the law, but because he wanted to snack freely:

At the curb sits a blue Ford sedan, not a police cruiser, not a silver Chevy Impala like the guys from the Child and Family Services Agency drive. Terrell tumbles off the couch, walks to the kitchen, and picks up his sandwich.

“This is my life,” he says, putting on his gangster shtick. “I’m not afraid of shit.”

His tough words aren’t enough to knock down Terrell’s fear. He is terrified. Since March, he has lived in dread of getting caught. When someone knocks on the door, he hides. When he steps into his neighborhood, he scans the street. When the phone rings, he answers in an old man’s voice and tells callers Terrell is not home.

Terrell isn’t wanted for drugs, weapons, stolen property, or any of the other crimes that take place in the courtyard behind his home in the Greenleaf Gardens complex of Southwest. He isn’t wanted for breaking the law.

The agency is hunting Terrell because his weight is ruining his health. In March, his mother lost custody of him for not keeping him thin. Since then, the 15-year-old has been an unlikely fugitive, running and hiding, slipping away when he gets caught, fighting to stay free, and getting bigger.

Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Comments

  1. #1

    Horrible news. My heart goes out to his family.

    And if anyone hasn't read that cover story on him, please do. Best City Paper cover ever.

  2. #2

    Thanks, Walter. It's very sad news. He was a very cool kid. People who know Terrell say he gained a lot of weight since the story, and had been sick for a while, with several visits to the hospital.
    Janice Williams at the YMCA recently met Terrell and tried to help him work on his weight. She says he was too embarrassed to visit the gym. "If we don't get on top of this thing, we are going to lose a lot of Terrells," she says about DC's childhood obesity problem.

  3. #3

    IT'S STORIES LIKE THIS THAT MADE ME SO ANGRY AT THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION. HE HAD A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO GRASP HOLD OF AN ISSUE THAT PLAGUED THIS CITY AND IS SPIRALING OUTTA CONTROL. THE MAYOR OF THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION WAS AN EXERCISE JUNKY AND FOR HIM NOT TO PART SOME OF HIS EXPERTISE AND KNOWLEDGE TO THE YOUTH OF THIS CITY WAS A TRAVESTY!

    THIS IS WHY THE COUNCILMEMBER WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THE HEALTH COMMITTEE SHOULD NOT BE REELECTED BECAUSE ALONG WITH HIV/AIDS THIS WAS ONE OF THE MAJOR ISSUES THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED AND SHOULD BE ADDRESSED. BUT HE WAS SO CONCERNED ABOUT GETTING HOMOSEXUALS AN EMPTY PIECE OF PAPER THAT HE BELIEVES SOLIDIFIED MARRIAGE THAT THE YOUTH OF THIS CITY WHO NEEDED SOME LEADERSHIP IN THIS AREA WAS DEPRIVED.

    I BELIEVE THE HEALTH, EATING HABITS, LACK OF EXERCISE AND WELL BEING AND OF THE NEXT GENERATION WILL HAVE THE SAME EFFECT AS THE CRACK EPIDEMIC OF THE 80'S IF SOMETHING ISNT DONE TO CURB IT IMMEDIATELY!

  4. #4

    Does anyone know what happened between 2007 and 2011. Did he ever receive treatment? It would be nice to close out this tragic story.

  5. #5

    I read that story when it came out. Sorry the grownups let you down, buddy. An acquaintance of mine died not long ago at age 30, also by complications due to obesity.

    Appetite and weight are complicated. I've learned that exercise is good, but does not do much for weight loss. Calories-in must be limited for that to happen. It is easy to out-eat any exercise program. Medications have been a disappointment, but I think we'll have effective ones someday.

    God rest their souls.

  6. #6

    gotta love the white guilt.

  7. #7

    Choices are made by people every day, some good, some bad. This guy was 15 not 5 he had choices and he paid for making a bad one! It was no one's fault but his, but the nanny state liberals including the one here think we should of stepped into his life, but will not interfear if a women wants an abortion, what's the difference you hypocrites?

  8. #8

    Death is always a difficult thing - especially when 100% preventable - so all the best to his family. At the same time, I also remember this story and will say now what I said then; while continuing to fully provide wellness assistance i.e. fat camps, diet/nutrition programs and the like, the city should have had him sign a waiver preventing benefits relating to self-inflicted obesity after age 18. We'll help you lose weight and keep it off, both physically (health club, trainer etc) and psychologically (therapy sessions); but you don't get to use taxpayer money on the back end for the increased medical costs you'd inevitably incur. Sadly, I knew this was a moot point since I knew he wouldn't live long enough for it to matter. . .

  9. #9

    Oh fucking please!!! DC does not give a shit about black kids in any way shape or form. They are too busy causing and allowing the black kids to be shot off in mass amounts!!!

  10. #10

    @noodlez

    I so agree about Catania. He is only concerned about creative ways to get up in another mans but and one up his.

    Alexander sets a horrible example on a constant basis!!!

  11. #11

    'watchingtoo', you're remarks above places you in a class of people known as STUPID! By the way it's BUTT not BUT, DUMBASS!

  12. #12

    At some point people have to accept personal responsibility for their own lives. This is very sad, but the kid did not want to change. He showed disdain for the very people who were attempting to help him, he improved while in their care, yet referred to it as prison, and as soon as he was home - he was left to his own devices.

    His mother should have been charged with neglect, because all she did was make excuses for being a terrible parent.

    She is NOT a victim, the government is not at fault. It's time for people to stop blaming everyone else and look in the mirror.

  13. #13

    I'm not sure what's so tragic about this story. People have to start taking personal responsibility for the damage they do to their own bodies. In some ways, his mother was right - Terrell had to help himself. While she sounds like a relatively horrible parent, she was right in that she could not control what this kid put in his mouth once he was 14, 15 years old. He did it to himself.

  14. #14

    Chances are this kids obesity issues didn't start when he was 14...they probably started years before that. If that's the case, how then is a child responsible for their own care?? To listen to some to some of you one would think we were discussing a full grown adult that KNEW full well the negatives that would come of this issue when it got started. In other words, some of you sound like you want a 10 yr old child to have the mental capacities of an adult.

    I struggled with obesity as a child (8, 9)and my father too figured it was my responsibility and it was something I could exercise will power and control. He was as ignorant cold as some of you posting here. The lifestyle choices of this young man were solidified by the time he was in his late-teens and those are damned hard to break. Anyone here that has tried to lose weight knows its a helluva fight.

    And to Rick Mangus, having looked at several of your posts, you sir are a racist.

Comments Shown. Turn Comments Off.
...