Christmas tree dedicated to autistic man killed in Mobile

Mobile County
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A special dedication Sunday afternoon at the USA Children and Women’s Hospital to honor the life of an autistic man killed inside of a group home in October. 

“He would have been out here giggling and laughing and decorating this tree with us and having the best time,” said Ryan Cox, Matthew’s father.  

The death of Matthew Cox has been hard on his entire family. “I’ve really lost a lot. I’ve lost a lot,” said Carol Easterwood, Matthew’s grandmother. 

“We miss him and we love him,” said Cox. 

21-year-old Matthew Cox was killed in October. Police say he was beaten to death by 27-year-old Trent Yates. Yates was an employee of the group home where he lived. 

The response of the community after the tragedy has made a huge impact for his family.

“Overwhelmingly positive, the people’s lives he touched, sometimes you don’t even realize,” said Cox. 

Sunday afternoon, the Autism Society of Alabama dedicated a Christmas Tree in his memory. 

“It’s hard to keep the tears out of my eyes, when I think of how powerful that is and how much he would have loved it,” said Cox. 

The tree is adorned with fire trucks. “He loved fire trucks,” said Cox. The gesture moved the Cox family. They plan to repay it, by working to prevent this from happening to anyone else. 

“We trust them when they told us that these people were certified, and capable of this, and had training, you know, you trust them. So, we just want awareness to the community that Matthew brought it to the forefront,” said Easterwood. 

His murder case will now go to a grand jury. 

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