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Benefit Dinner, Memorial Scholarship Planned in Honor of Slain T - abc27 WHTM

Benefit Dinner, Memorial Scholarship Planned in Honor of Slain Teenager

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Danville, VA  - It's been a nightmare for a family on the Southside after the August death of a 19-year-old man in Pittsylvania County.

Charles Michael Abbott was found dead with a gunshot wound just off Chestnut Level Lane.

Now, his family is hoping to turn their tragedy into hope for other young people through a memorial scholarship.

"That's helped a lot, to have a positive thing to look at instead of just the negative, " said Abbott's mother Beverly Peay.

Peay and family have planned a benefit dinner here at River Oak Church of God in Danville, to raise money for the scholarship named after her son, whose death is still a mystery.

Abbott was found with a gunshot wound after a party in Pittsylvania County. Investigators are still interviewing witnesses, but treading lightly with information.

"I want them to take their time because I don't want them to miss anything, but at the same time, I want to know what happened, " Peay said.

In the meantime, the family is celebrating Abbott's life and looking for ways to encourage others.

"Our goal is to have 250 people, " said Abbott's sister, Kate-Lynn, who came up with the idea for a scholarship as part of a school project.

Saturday's event will be filled with food, live entertainment, and a silent auction.

All proceeds will go toward scholarships for students at Chatham High School and Reidsville High School in North Carolina - both schools that Abbott attended.

Peay says it's a way to help another teenager start a career, something her son had looked forward to so much.

"There's nothing we can do to bring Michael back. So, we're just trying to help another student that's kind of like Michael and give them a chance, " said Peay.

The benefit dinner will start tomorrow at 5 PM and will end with a candlelight vigil. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. 

Meanwhile, investigators are still awaiting toxicology reports to determine more about Abbott's death.
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