McDuffie, Ga (WJBF) – The family of a McDuffie County teenager kidnapped, gunned down and left for dead continues to fight for justice after the 2018 incident.

“Sometimes I have to go to my favorites page or look at pictures through my phone to see what he really looked like because in my nightmares, that’s something no family member should see of another family member like that. It was horrible,” Shontavious Bonner said of her cousin.

Seeing photos of 17-year-old Daekwon Hines is all Shontavious Bonner has left of her cousin. That and memories. She told Cold Case Proeject when Hines went missing Thursday, May 10, 2018, she and other loved ones searched, but the answer to where he was actually came to her while she was asleep.

“It seemed like my cousin came to me in my dream and he was like Cola come get me. It felt so surreal,” Bonner recalled. “All I could see was grass, a wooded area.”

She said she found her cousin shortly after she woke up from that dream behind a home on the 500 block of Dell Drive. Bonner added, “It was like a dead smell coming to me. Following that smell I ended up seeing my cousin laying right there, lifeless.”

Nearly four years later, his loved ones still want justice for that young life lost. While they wait, they reflect on Hines’ 17 years of life for Cold Case Project.

Moneck Gaines, his mom, told us, “He used to love to just build, just build, just build stuff. Anything. Tear it down. Build it back up. So, I knew he had a wide imagination of creativity that he didn’t really get a chance to use.”

Gaines said her son was an early learner, very energetic and happy. She said he was a typical teenager though.
She told us, “Have to make him go to school, clean your room up. You go in there and clean his room up you find 20-30 bags of Doritos. He loved chips and Powerades.”

Gaines added they relocated to Augusta when Daekwon was a pre-teen, but they both decided he would have a better opportunity living closer to more family back in Thomson, so she sent him to live with his grandmother. But Gaines believes her son began to hang around the wrong crowd and ended up at Crossroad Alternative School.

“I used to tell him basically that, you’re going to get yourself in something that mama can’t get you out of. Choose your friends wisely,” his mom said. “Those aren’t your friends. They’re doing things that you don’t need to be doing. I didn’t raise you like this.”

Gaines said those words are some of the last ones she spoke to her son. May 10th, Gaines told us her mother called Thomson Police Department to report Hines missing. His grandmother told an officer he left their home on Cardinal Street, the former Cherry Tree Apartments, and went to Bussey Avenue and Gus Street to visit with a female friend.

Police tracked that friend down on Bussey, but she says they both left her home and she last saw Hines around 6 o’clock that day. Another friend, Daekwon’s aunt, says she later learned some other people who called themselves her nephew’s friend were more than likely not.

“I didn’t expect nothing to go wrong,” his aunt Taina Bonner said. “I didn’t know nothing was going to go wrong with me introducing him to the boys around here knowing he was from a whole different county.”
Taina Bonner said she and her nephew were both were close in age. So, when she later stopped seeing Hines active on Facebook and not responding to her messages she got worried. And that worry turned to fear when he did not come back home.

She explained, “I got scared and everything because I was like ‘where he went just that quick?’ Because people were saying they were just talking with him and they were just with him and all of a sudden he just vanish and yall don’t know where he’s at.”
Locating Hines’ body in the woods was devastating for his family. They later buried him in West View Cemetery, a week after his birthday.

“We don’t supposed to question God, but I hated God. I really did. I hated God because I felt like the God that we serve, why you didn’t snatch him out of that particular situation? Why you didn’t intervene? But I had to also realize God don’t make no mistakes,” Gaines said later apologizing to God.

GBI is investigating this case. And so far, Gaines said there’s only circumstantial evidence, not enough to charge anyone with the crime.

“If you know something, say something. This snitching code or whatever you have, it’s time to put that out of the window because their actions not only hurt the mother, but you don’t know how it affected the whole family per say,” she said.

Taina Bonner added, “During the days he was missing we got a phone call from someone in jail. I was close to the girl that got the phone call. It was her boyfriend calling from jail and he called her crying. He was like ‘They say he gone. They say he gone.’ I’m like where you getting this information from? You in jail, how you know all this?”

While the family is sure there are people in McDuffie County who know something about Hines’ disappearence and murder, they choose to reflect on the good memories until the person or people involved come forward or are caught.

Keyari Anderson, his cousin, told us, “Him coming to my grandma house everyday asking for a dollar.”

“I had a red mustang. He was like cousin you got to let me drive your car. And I was like Daekwon, you do not know how to drive. He was like yes I do, let me drive it. So, I said ok. I gave him a chance to drive my car. We were going around the curve and he ended up running into a ditch,” Shontavious Bonner recalled.

While she keeps Daekwon close, with special clothing reflecting his photos, it’s not enough to bring him back. So, Gaines wants to warn other mothers of the signs of peer pressure she feels ultimately claimed her son’s life that she says she recognized too late.

His mother added, “The way they’re starting to dress, being defiant, don’t want to go to school. Their whole demeanor changes when that group of teenagers come around.”

Another cousin, Nyirah Harris, added, “We all grew up together, so you can’t say that you don’t know who did it when I’m sure yall still having conversations about this until this day. Like you know and it’s easier for you to just come forward so we can get the proper justice.”

Anyone with any information about the murder of Daekwon Hines should contact the GBI at 706-595-2575.