Family, Interrupted

By Katherine Ozment | Boston Magazine |

Upstairs in her bedroom later, Amber walks over to the Pace jersey that hangs on her wall. She leans into it and inhales, saying, “It still smells like him.”

The room has pink curtains, a keyboard, and an unmade bed with two teddy bears on it. Amber keeps a few of DJ’s belongings that she salvaged and now displays: framed photographs, his cross, a bracelet with tiny portraits of religious figures set in ovals, rosary beads. (DJ was devoutly religious; he and Brandon had gotten baptized together before leaving for college.)

Amber then leads the way to DJ’s room. There’s a TV with a video-game console set low just beyond the foot of the double bed, framed sports posters, a Michael Jordan jersey, Celtics paraphernalia. In one corner, two white garbage bags filled with clothes slump beside a chest of drawers. After DJ died, Amber says, “We all came in here. We took his stuff in and kind of just sat here.”

Amber has two more years to go at Oliver Ames High School. She likes to write, bake, sing, and act. She says she and Kyle, who’ll be attending college this fall, are going to make a song together. For now, though, she’s settled into a routine. Each night before bed, she walks down the carpeted hallway to DJ’s room and lowers his blinds — “Just to keep his room his private space,” she says. “Just to take care of him.”

The room, with those posters and jerseys, video games and clothing, goes dark. In the morning, she walks back down the hall and raises them up.


  • maureen

    Thank you Katherine Ozment for this wonderful piece, you did a fabulous job of capturing the essence of this family.

  • Snowmama

    My heart continues to break for this family, and shocking turn of events in the lives of DJ and the wonderful young college students and patrons trying to save his life. I am furious that the actions of one cop can so alter the lives of so many kids. It’s disgraceful also how the state of NY has treated this grieving family, absolutely disgraceful!

  • J

    …but I pray you find peace in knowing that this was not just about DJ but for all the families you have experienced loss of their children in the hands of that silent “blue” wall.

  • Patricia

    This was a great article and portrayal of the Henry family. Our prayers continue to go out for them as they heal from this tragedy. I pray God grants them the peace they desire in knowing the absolute truth. Blessings all of them.

  • nora

    Dan and Angella Henry have shown remarkable strength, grace and restraint during this tragedy. It is difficult to grieve privately yet keep this story in the public eye in an effort to find the truth

  • Lori

    Thank you Boston Magazine for this piece. So well done, and so important. The horrible wrong can’t be undone, but major media staying focused on this story may lead to justice and some degree of peace and closure for the Henry family. They need our help. Thank you for this story.