16 Months

Damn. Here it is, the 7th again. Another month passes. It is now sixteen months since Ryan was senselessly beaten, changing his existence forever. May sucker punched him and Vantrease kicked him in the head as he lay unconscious and defenseless.

Not sure why, but this has really hit me hard this month. I tried, but couldn’t bring myself to put out a post yesterday. My blood was boiling, filled with venom and hatred. I thought better of spreading my poison on this blog. I’m glad I did.

Still, let’s remember who got us here. Jonathan May and Austin Vantrease. Two thugs from Newark, Delaware. Two trouble makers from a gang of derelicts , with a history of running on the wrong side of the law. A gang out causing trouble one November night in 2009.

Jonathan Matthew May

Austin Issac Vantrease

Bad kids, from bad families… in my opinion. Seemingly permissive parents who pass blame from their tormented children. They blame Ryan, they blame West Virginia, the blame the court system, they blame their lawyer, they blame the media, they blame it on “boys being boys”, they blame it on fate, and who knows what else they blame it on.

Then, when caught, they start turning on each other. May and Vantrease are simultaneously throwing each other under the bus. A gang member, Colin McKeefrey, who is known for being the “big mouth of the group” instigated the conflict. When questioned by detectives, McKeefrey is more than willing to blab (as documented in the police report).  Just incredible. It speaks to their character, or lack thereof. Of course, this is my opinion…




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29 Responses to 16 Months

  1. Helen Causin says:

    Hoping you and Ryan somehow have a peaceful day…I wish you well

  2. Will Nier says:

    I wish you and the family some peace. You are allowing these two criminals to get back into your lives each month. You have to work on a way to get away from the anger so as to bring the beginning of peace into your lives. Your stuck in anger. I am hoping that you can find a grief counselor to speak with so as to bring these issues up and find a resolution. Being stuck in anger is not healthy for you. And you prove that in your own words:’Not sure why, but this has really hit me hard this month. I tried, but couldn’t bring myself to put out a post yesterday. My blood was boiling, filled with venom and hatred.” Don’t allow those two criminals to continue to do harm.

    My prayers continue for Ryans healing and Ken for yours.

    • Paula says:

      P.S. To add to Will’s comment, yes, many of us kept looking for an update from you yesterday — no pressure or anything : )

  3. Cheryl Onderchain says:

    Ken, I can feel your venom in your words. Sadly, even in our own community I see so many parents who fail to raise their children to take responsibility for their actions. It’s pathetic.

    Never keep fighting the good fight my friend.

    I hope you find some peace today. Love you guys.

    • Cheryl Onderchain says:

      Obviously I mean never STOP fighting the good fight ; ) sorry I need a lot more coffee today.

  4. Patrice says:

    I feel your rage and understand it. Vantrese and May’s turn will come full circle when both of the losers get street justice metered out in jail and prison and throughout life. Convicted felon’s can’t vote, can’t get alot of good jobs in the Government, can’t work in law enforcement, the other imbecile with the misdeameanor will get locked up as a felon as soon as he is out so his life. Focus on how you will take the high road and show how they can’t live in your head, and continue to keep up all the positive energy for Ryan, your family and friends. who love you and understand your pain. God Bless You Ken, never give up.

  5. Peggie says:

    Every time the 7th rolls around, I too get that horrible sick feeling in my stomach too. I’m sorry you, Sue and Kari have to deal with this. There are no do-overs and that’s what makes it all the harder. I know this is difficult for you right now, but you must continue to focus on all that you can do from this point forward….FOR RYAN….just as I know Ryan feels the presence of his friends around him and his family continually reminding him that he’s going to get better, he is going to feel your pain and anger too. We (and while you can’t see all of us all of the time, I know there are many, many of us) continue to pray every day for you – for your continued strength to get up every day and face the reality of it all as well as every new curve that’s thrown at you each day with Ryan’s care, and that your love that you clearly feel for your family does not falter when being consumed with the anger (and you are very much entitled to feel that anger). The blessing here is that you are so very much in tune with Ryan. Not everyone is capable of that…it’s a gift. I find it incredibly amazing that you are able to pick up so quickly on every little difference that might crop up with what’s going on in Ryan’s body when he cannot communicate that to anyone right now…You are just incredible! Please try to not let the wickedness of two individuals overcome you. It’s the devil’s work and you are not going to permit that to overcome you…..You are being tested big time, many times over and you continue to stay on top. Try to stay on top now too. The prayers of many of us right now are going to help you through this horrible moment and Ryan IS going to get better. There are many of us that DO believe that and we will never stop believing in that. We love you, we love Ryan, and we are not giving up. I know you are not giving up either…continue to let Ryan know that through all of the positive energy you can possibly muster right now.
    Praying for all of you continually……Love, Peggie

  6. Paula says:

    Hello Ken, Just want you to know I’m thinking about you and your family today. I don’t like thinking about the two you mentioned because it’s like drinking from a well of hopelessness…and I’ll be damned if they are going to take away my hope!!! I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I’ve finally determined that true, actual, bonafide success is knowing how to love people, and being loved. In the end, that’s where we live and die, in that love — if we are blessed. I cannot speak for the individuals who deliberately injure, hurt, torment and wound others, without remorse, without apology, and without the actions to back up any words of remorse or apology they might say. It’s all a sham, if the person who caused the pain and heartache will not acknowledge the hurt and damage they have caused. I don’t pretend to understand how people can live that way, and I don’t want to wrack my brain trying to figure it out. Thank the Lord you and your family are the people you are — so strong, so smart — and for lack of a better way of putting it — magnetic. We are flocking to you – to your fortitude, devotion, loyalty, strength and courage. We’re not coming here for shi$$ and giggles, we’re here because the things you say and the things you do mean something. We relate, we respect and we feel the love for Ryan. It’s impossible not to, that’s why we can’t stay away. I feel at once like kicking something, crying, asking why, and then getting on my knees and thanking God for you and your beautiful family. What those people did will not define Ryan, because Ryan is so much better than anything they could ever hope to become. That night forever changed Ryan’s life, but the damage is not the victory, his strength and will are! As an infamous person recently said, Ryan is winning!!!!!!!!! Still here, still praying, today, tomorrow, always – Paula

  7. Newark says:

    Don’t worry Ken. Just wait until they both return to Newark …..

    Still here, still fighting

    • Patrice says:

      just looking at those losers’ mug shots tell me they are scared being locked up and spoiled punks. They may or may not make it back to Newark given that if they don’t keep their mouth’s shut in jail they will definitely meet their match and wish they never were born. Frankly, both of the losers don’t look like they can handle themselves in jail – bet they are crying like babies and wish they never had to do time if you know what I mean, what comes around goes around.

    • J.R. says:

      I’m sure there are a ton of UD boys, past and present, who’ll give these dudes the welcome home they deserve. Delaware’s a small place. People don’t forget.

  8. Patrice says:

    I have to add that the other comments about handling the anger in a healthy way are on point. Anger has a way of storing up in the body and cells of our body in a toxic way unless it is discharged through talking with a Professional and finding a way to acknowledge, respect your feeling and self, then channeling your life into ways you feel good. Not that I’m the touchy feely type, I just don’t want you to become sick from anger and toxic because of those @ssholes who are nothing. They have already wreaked enough damage and havoc in your family’s life so don’t give em any more latitude but hopefully you can find a trustworthy Professional to get the anger contained and channeled in a way that benefit you and your dear son Ryan and family.

  9. Patrice says:

    one last comment before I get off the platform, forgive me for my vebosity today, anyway I would like to emphasize that what you are feeling is totally appropriate and normal, so I nor anyone can tell you how to feel, what to feel, or how you “should” feel. Just know we are on your side and their is power in numbers. You are to be commended and admired for your love and dedication to your family.

  10. Michele says:


    God is in total control – keep looking to Him and don’t let May and Vantrease take up space in your brain (rent free)! Ryan is way ahead of the other two. He is basked in love and light from family and friends every single minute of every day. God will take care of the other two – they will end up where God feels they belong – and I’m not going to say it but it will be very hot and last for an eternity! Ryan is so lucky to have had such a wonderful life before this and you guys are doing great taking care of him and when he wakes he’ll thank you for all that you’ve done… Please keep the faith (I don’t blame you one bit about feeling so angry but I also think you may want to seek grief counseling (I lost my son when he was 20 yrs. old and it will be 14 years ago this coming August 29th). Grief counseling helped me a whole lot. I hope I am not offending you by giving some advice – I’ve been there in a sense but in my case there was an ending. I really think you are so strong to keep putting one foot in front of the other each day!

    Love and prayers,


  11. Paula says:

    …on the seventh day, evil tried to take down a good man; but on the eighth day he fought back, and the devil ran…..

  12. Sam Durham says:

    I’m okay with whatever you are feeling today. As I have said to you before, forgiveness is not something you have to give, ever. If Ryan chooses to forgive someday, he can. I think that 99% of the time you don’t have the time and energy to think and let the poison duo contaminate your life, but if they do on the 7th, then they just do. Would it be better for you to be able to push them out of your thoughts, absolutely, but I don’t have it in my power to do that and Ryan’s not even my baby. How much easier that would be for you if they had attacked you and not him. I don’t think you have to forgive things done to your children. As loving parents, it is just too hard. As long as you are able to love Ryan, Sue and Kari every 7th, you are doing just fine in my eyes. ❤ you all, ESPECIALLY on the 7th.

  13. Gail Doyle says:

    Dear Ken, So sorry for these feelings you have every month ,but.. that you can keep them under control most of the time is amazing to me …(someone hurting our child is hard to comprehend and what they did to Ryan is unforgivable..God will understand) I hope some day you will find your own peace your way….May God be with you and Ryan ,Sue and Kari. I can tell from reading all the posts from everyone that Ryan is getting the BEST care from you and Sue and he will continue to thrive… And that what matters most…..Praying every day for you all and will continue SHSP …
    … Gail

  14. Anna says:

    With you all the way Ken!! Two thugs who ruined many lives. Two thugs who blamed everyone else. Two thugs who turned on each other. Finally two thugs without two things…..character and class!

  15. Carla Liberty says:

    My heart is heavy for you Ken. I can’t fathom the pain you are going through every single day, much less the 7th of each month. As others before me have stated though, your feelings are understandable, and God understands this. In time, you may get to the forgiveness part, but it doesn’t mean you have to forget. How could you forget something of this magnitude, especially when it was done to your child? And I won’t believe for one iota of a second that Ryan doesn’t know how hard you are trying, and how much everyone believes in him. Take comfort in that, Ken. Because that is helping Ryan fight the good fight!

    You have an amazing community behind you, one that loves you and your family very much. You also have the love of God, the love of your family, and the love of so many who don’t even know – but are still praying – for Ryan. That speaks volumes. We will never give up on you, Ken. We are here for the duration!


  16. Ms. Blasé says:

    “From this moment on…”

    When I’m so frustrated and angry that I can’t see straight (like today), I repeat those words in my head. When I’ve spent the night yelling and crying on my knees because I can’t do anything to change the past or what others have done, I hear those words. When there’s nothing else left to do but live, I keep telling myself over and over, “From this moment on… From this moment on…” And may you, too, Ken, do the same. I pray that from this moment on you will…

    … not give up or allow the depravity of others to infect you,
    … rest in the loving support of others as they stand with you,
    … and never once forget that you and your family are loved beyond measure.

  17. sally ellis says:

    You are certainly entitled to feel the anger and rage that you experience, who wouldn’t if their child were beaten as Ryan was. My concern is for you and your health. I’m sorry I don’t have any answers, I don’t know where to put that anger, but unfortunately the 7th creeps up pretty often. I hate to see you get this down every month. I am constantly amazed at the far reaching support that has become available on this site. Please feel our love and support. We feel your pain on the 7th and every other day. I think I can speak for everyone when I say we are here and not going anywhere.

  18. Ken,
    None of us have any idea what it truly feels like to be you and to have to recall every month the violence that robbed your son of so much. The only thing I can say is that their evil act does not have the last word. The dignity, class, love, integrity, faithfulness, etc that your family exhibits on a daily basis are the last words.

  19. Debb Brooks says:

    Ken, I too, have a 20 year old, graduated in 2008. Has a life that any child would wish for. Except, he lives a life of pure depression. No reason, except this is what he was born with. I have 3 other children that live their lifes full of joy and purpose. I have no one to blame for my oldest. Please let go of your anger, live your life and what it gives you. I will always take care of him, he is my child, I could blame God or Drs. that delivered him, or anyone else that could be the blamed. But…life has other purposes for us. I, like you, have researched depression, bipolar, anything I can get my hands on. Parents like us, are the ones who will open doors to other children with TBI or anyother brain disorders. Please let go of your anger. You are such a candidate for being a spokesman for TBI, do this for you and more importantly for Ryan. There is not much out there for parents dealing with such issues. Your blog is shedding light on this!!! YOU got this!

  20. Keith says:

    You know I have never went through what you are all going through but if i did i would have the same feelings as you do and its only normal to feel this way. So if you need to put your feelings on here you go right ahead we are always here to listen to you and we will be right here for you. Take care And God Bless
    And im like some of the others when no post everyday we seem to wonder. But we understand that sometimes you would raither not write.

  21. Beth Abraham( Ken's Sister) says:


    I have a suggestion about what you can do to make the 7th of each month something fun, happy and postive instead of it being filled with saddness, depression and hatred. Think back over the previous month and on the 7th of the next month do these 7 things:

    1) play the lottery using numbers with 7’s in it ( 17,27, etc.) or play numbers that add up to 7’s ( 16,25,34,etc). Actually, I love this idea and am going to do this one myself !!!!!!

    2)think of 7 things that made you feel grateful

    3) think of 7 things that made you laugh really hard !!!!

    4) think of 7 things that you are looking forward to doing

    5) think of 7 things that made you the happiest

    6) think of 7 things you did in the past month that gave you a great sense of accomplishment.

    7) think of 7 reasons why life is good

    Can anybody else think of ways to make # 7 positive and happy ???????

    With love,

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