By Arielle Dollinger
A former Half Hollow Hills High School East student died this weekend of a cause not yet determined, on the same day that his mother was sent to the hospital and police arrested his older brother on assault charges, police said.
Bradley Okonkwo, 15, died at his Dix Hills home at 3 Norman Ct. on Saturday. Police charged his brother, 18-year-old Charles Okonkwo Jr., with second degree assault after their mother, Chinwe Okonkwo, 52, was found unconscious at home. She was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital with “severe head injuries.”
Charles Okonkwo Jr. entered a plea of not guilty to the assault charge and will undergo a psychiatric evaluation. He is being held on $250,000 cash bail.
Suffolk County Police arrived at the Okonkwo home on Saturday, having received a call from Charles Okonkwo Sr., 62, who told police he had arrived home from a hospital stay to find his younger son dead and his wife unconscious. Police found Charles Okonkwo, Jr. and the 2002 BMW X5 he was driving “a short distance” from the house.
Sayville-based attorney Eric B. Besso, listed in court records as Okonkwo Jr.’s defense counsel, did not return calls for comment by press time on Monday.
Two boys who said that they had been friends of Bradley’s rode their bicycles to the house on Sunday afternoon. The boys, each entering the 10th grade in the fall – the same grade Bradley was to enter – said that they had known him for about six years.
“I didn’t even think it was real,” said Matthew Touhamy of the news of Bradley’s death. “We were at a pool party not too long ago.”
Touhamy said that Bradley was “always funny.”
“You never saw him mad or anything,” he said. “He always made everything into a joke.”
Sitting on a red bicycle, Cristian Torres said that Bradley was “a good person” and “a really nice kid.”
“He was there in a time of need,” Torres said.