Community supporting family rocked by murder

DURHAM Police have charged the father of the family, Joseph Mitchell, in the death of his 4-year-old son, Blake Mitchell, and for allegedly trying to kill his other two children last month.

Blake's father remains at Raleigh's Central Prison for safekeeping after a suicide attempt.

While investigators won't talk motive, records show the family was suffering financially and their home was in foreclosure.

Shocked by the brutal murder, residents in the family's north Durham neighborhood are pulling together for what they call, "A Hug from Blake."

"It's just devastated us all," neighbor Adele Trustlow said. "This could've happened to anybody. It happened to the Mitchell's, but this type of thing could happen to anybody."

A website has already been set up to allow visitors to not only leave donations, but also messages.

Donations paid for Blake's funeral, according to family friends and the hope is a 5-K run will help raise more money for Mitchell's wife and surviving children.

Runners will be greeted by people offering hugs along the way. It's just one of several fundraisers in the works.

"I like knowing that I live in a neighborhood that supports people," Trustlow said.

Family friends tell ABC11 Eyewitness News that the Mitchell family truly appreciates the community's support.

If you would like to help the Mitchell family, visit

In the meantime, Joseph Mitchell was set to appear in court on Monday, but it was postponed. He is due in court in the next few weeks.

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