CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The investigation into the death of NFL wide receiver Chris Henry is still open, with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police planning to re-interview his fiancee and other witnesses who may have heard or seen the couple arguing.
Deputy Chief David Graham said a decision about any potential charges likely won't come until the new year. He doesn't expect any charges, but said investigators want to re-examine all the details.
Police say Henry's fiancee, Loleini Tonga, 25, was driving the Ford F150 pickup Henry was standing in Dec. 16 just before he was injured and then later died.
At issue is what exactly caused Henry, 26, to come out of the back of the pickup. He was found unconscious on Oakdale Road in northern Charlotte. They have not said if they believe he slipped, jumped or was thrown from the truck.
The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver was in Charlotte visiting Tonga, whose family lives here. The two, who have three children together, were planning their March wedding. He was on injured reserve with a broken arm in a cast and missed much of the NFL season.
Investigators want to go over evidence again and re-interview witnesses, in part, because of a report from a neighbor who said he heard Henry threaten to kill himself that day by jumping out of the back of the truck.
Lee Hardy, 69, told the Observer on Dec. 17 that he was trimming the upper branches of a pear tree on his property when he saw a yellow truck driving too fast down the gravel path by his house. The truck stopped beneath him, said Hardy, who recognized the driver as Tonga, who he described as his friend and neighbor. She was arguing with a man standing in the back of the truck.
The man was pounding on the roof and asking Tonga to get out and talk to him, Hardy told the Observer. Hardy said he recalled the man saying: “If you take off, I will jump out of the truck and kill myself.”
Tonga refused and drove away, he said. He then heard what sounded like a car skidding on gravel. Then sirens.
Henry's death prompted an outpouring of grief and emotion from Bengals management and fellow NFL players.