A 17-year-old Coweta County man that just months ago was reported as missing was stabbed to death late Sunday in Atlanta after an argument with an older man turned violent.
Cody Wayne Phillips was stabbed about 9:45 p.m. Sunday in Woodruff Park after an argument with a 26-year-old man and died a short time after arriving at Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta police said.
Phillips was on the radar of Lost N Found Youth, an organization that cares for homeless LGBT teens. Officials with the group spotted him in Woodruff Park on Friday during an outreach effort and provided him with the number of its hotline, LNF Outreach Director Art Izzard says. The teen called the hotline on Sunday and left a message to say he would call again on Monday. Since he didn't have a cell phone, Lost N Found volunteers couldn't call him directly, Izzard says.
When Lost N Found didn't hear from him again, officials searched for him on Wednesday and were told by people in the park what happened to Phillips a few days earlier.
“He stuck out like a sore thumb because he didn't look like one of the typical dope boys we see downtown,” Izzard says. “He was obviously out of place and we tried to help him out.”
Police say Trenton Clay Anderson, 26, stabbed and killed Phillips. Georgia State University police officers arrested Anderson (photo) a few blocks from the crime scene in downtown Atlanta.
“The preliminary investigation on scene revealed that the victim was involved in a verbal argument that escalated into a physical altercation,” according to an Atlanta police incident report.
Anderson remains in the Fulton County Jail charged with felony murder. His criminal record includes several arrests in Atlanta for battery. He was also arrested in in Knox County, Tenn., in June and again in November 2013.
Early Thursday, Lost N Found posted to Facebook that the organization had started working with Phillips in the days before his death.
No Words… Our Outreach Director […] had just started working with this youth and then this happened.
We have to do better Atlanta!!!
Talk to your Friends, Family, Extended Family, Neighbors, Co Workers about Lost-n-Found Youth and let's get this bigger house and New Youth Center built.
Funeral services were scheduled for Thursday at Community Christian Church.
As recently as May, Phillips was listed as a missing person in Coweta County, according to the Times-Herald.
Phillips was recently listed as a missing person in May, said Lt. John Kennedy with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, but he was quickly found and recovered by authorities with the LaGrange Police Department. Later, he was reported as a runaway by LaGrange authorities and was found in Coweta County, Kennedy said. He was then transported to the regional Youth Detention Center in Clayton County.
Phillips' death comes as Lost N Found continues to highlight the plight of homeless LGBT teens in Atlanta. The organization operates a thrift store and drop-in center near Cheshire Bridge Road and is renovating a Midtown building to turn it into an expanded shelter.
The group recently helped gay teen Daniel Pierce, who was disowned by his family during a violent confrontation caught on video. Lost N Found's efforts have caught the attention of non-LGBT media, including CBS 46, WSB and Rolling Stone.
Izzard says Lost N Found volunteers face a small window to help homeless teens before they turn to criminal activity to support themselves.
“The streets are dangerous for these kids. We lose six gay kids a day in the United States on the streets and he was just one of them,” Izzard says.
Phillips and Izzard spoke for less than 15 minutes and didn't discuss his sexual orientation or why he was living on the streets.
“I don't get into that on the street. I am out there to help any kid – gay, straight or otherwise. I was looking to connect him with services, whether it was Lost N Found or some other agency,” Izzard says.