Robert Purcell’s family and close friends are speaking out for the first time since his murder. According to police, the 40-year-old Snellville man was found in his car with a gunshot wound near the Hugh Howell Road exit ramp on Highway 78.
They discovered his body after his coworkers at Marco’s Pizza reported him missing Saturday.
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Right now, family members say they’re in the process of making funeral arrangements for Purcell, a man who was known by the name “Jesse.” His family lives out of town, but they’re coming to Atlanta to plan the service.
A family member shared photos with us. We reached out to his closest friends in the Atlanta area. Those who knew him well, like 14-year-old Matthew who he babysat often, are having a hard time processing what happened.
“I started considering him uncle because he’s known me since I was a baby,” Matthew said.
His mother Christina Townsend says Purcell often times stayed with her family and looked over her kids while she worked. She called him this past weekend to invite him to a family event but had a feeling something was wrong.
“We couldn’t get ahold of him. We didn’t find out until after,” she said.
Despite how he passed away, his close friends would rather remember him for all the joy he brought. Family and friends started a memorial page sharing their favorite memories.
“He loved to sing. Loved to play the guitar,” Jonathan Espinosa said.
Townsend says she offered Purcell a place to stay recently when he became homeless, but he wanted to figure something out on his own.
His coworkers told us he’s been sleeping in his car the last few weeks and parking it behind the restaurant at night.
“We did invite him to stay with us but he didn’t want help,” Townsend said.
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As far as the investigation goes, 25-year-old Tye Stewart is charged with murder and armed robbery in the death of Purcell. This follows the arrest of 18-year-old Tremaine Washington. Both are being held at Gwinnett County Jail.