For Abigail Dennis, 2012 has left her with a lot of unanswered questions, a sadness she is reminded of every time her 4-year-old son asks for his father.
In June her 60-year-old husband, Hayes Osei Dennis, was stabbed to death on Q Street SW near Nationals Park. Lt. Robert Alder, of the MPD’s Homicide Unit, said Dennis died as a result of a robbery.
The assailant, an unidentified black man, approached Dennis outside of Goldstar Cab Repair, the company where he had worked as a full-time manager and part-time cab driver for about seven years, Alder said.
The perpetrator took $20 from Dennis and attacked him as he turned to walk away. Dennis left behind a wife and seven children between the ages of 4 and 20.
Dennis’s case is one of 44 in 2012 in which no suspects have been arrested.
Parbhpreet Ghuman, a Goldstar manager, says that getting through the loss of their co-worker was hard on the company as well as the customers.
After the attack, Goldstar closed its doors for an investigation and an additional two weeks while the owners and co-workers mourned the loss of their friend.
“Everyone knew Hayes really well. He was like a brother to all of us,” Ghuman said. “It is really hard to describe all of the things that Hayes was, but he was definitely a hell of a person and a really exceptional worker.”
Ghuman is not alone in his characterization. In the days following Dennis’s murder, comments on Homicide Watch D.C. came from friends, family, coworkers and customers, praising the Fort Washington man as “a pillar of his family,” “friendly and giving” and “a beautiful human being.”
“You just can’t replace him,” Dennis’s wife said in an interview. “I have always said in my community no one is like him, and anyone who knows him would say the same.”
One commenter, another cab driver, said Dennis had plans to visit Africa, where he was born.
“He will never make the trip he was so forward looking for,” the other driver said, “nor will I ever see this beautiful human being again.”
Dennis grew up in Ghana and moved to Fort Washington 32 years ago. At the request of his family still living in his hometown, Dennis was buried in a family plot in Ghana, his wife said.
“Since we got home from Ghana, it’s been really hard,” Abigail said. “We have good days and we have bad days, but we are trying to get through this tough time as a family.”
The many unanswered questions remain. “Not knowing what really happened and not knowing when the case is going to be solved is really hurting my family.” she said.
She said police have not informed her of any possible leads in the case, although they retrieved a surveillance camera from a neighboring parking lot. The video, released in mid-December, shows a black man with braided hair walk through a parking lot. He is wearing a gray long-sleeved shirt, black pants and tennis shoes, while carrying a black jacket with gray lining.
The Dennis family has set up the Hayes Osei Dennis Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo Bank for any donations.
“If anyone had told me last year that this was going to happen I would have never believed it, and I still don’t want to believe it.” Abigail said. “I hope we eventually catch the man who did this. Until we find out what happened that day, I don’t know if we are going to be able to sleep peacefully.”