ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The family of an Eagle River man beaten to death says they want justice, and won't be satisfied until those who took Harvey “Charley” Albright's life are punished.
“He was my baby, he was all I had left -- I had nobody else,” said Charley’s mother, Brenda Albright.
Each day is an emotional struggle for the family of Charley Albright, and it takes courage to move forward.
“Since this happened, I never take it off, because I think in a way I need it -- I need it,” said Albright’s cousin, Talisa Cullen, wearing a bracelet emblazoned with the word “Courage.”
They find strength in each other as they cherish their memories. But after losing her 23-year-old son, Brenda Albright says she won't lose him again.
“It’s OK because I went and got him today, and I got to hold him again, and I'll get to hold him every day now,” Albright said, holding a box containing her son’s remains.
Detectives suspected foul play in late August when Albright went missing.
“I knew on Wednesday, I knew that it was going to end bad for me, that he wasn't coming home,” Albright said.
Police say Albright was beaten for stealing a backpack by three of his friends -- Kennith Upton, 24; Phillip Floor, 24; and Carl Leedom, 23 -- at Upton’s home until he turned blue. When he stopped breathing, court documents say the suspects performed CPR, but dumped his body by a riverbank when he remained unconscious.
“When I went to the funeral home to have him cremated, I asked them to cut his hair for me, and to give me his hair -- and I got a tiny little piece of his hair, because that was all that was left,” Albright said.
Upton, Floor and Leedom are all in custody -- and Albright appeared at each of their arraignments.
“I'm going to everything, everything: every time them young men appear in court, they will look at me,” Albright said. “They will look at me, they will look at Charley, because I’m taking him with me. They will look at Charley -- they'll know.”
For Albright, confronting the three suspects in Charley’s death is a road to closure while she holds on to her memories of him.
“One day at a time, one step at a time, but sometimes I stumble,” Albright said. “But I stand back up because he tells me, ‘Mom, we aren’t done yet -- you have to go.’”
The three men charged with Albright's murder will be arraigned again in Superior Court Monday at 1:45 p.m.
Contact Christine Kim at email@example.com