Beltsville family of former ANC Commissioner Antonio Barnes searches for answers in his death

- A Prince George's County family has been left in shock and mourning following the death of a beloved community member after Antonio Barnes' body was found Wednesday night in Beltsville.

Prince George’s County police remain tight-lipped about the investigation into how he died and who may have killed him. But his family told FOX 5 he was a vibrant man with an infectious smile.

“If Antonio was here today he would tell you, ‘girl, if you don’t wipe that off your face and get yourself together… we ‘bout to smile through this,’” said Destiny Barnes, Antonio Barnes' sister.

It’s been just two days since her brother was found outside their Beltsville apartment, dead from what police are only calling “trauma.”

“I remember my brother always told me life is not promised,” added Destiny Barnes. “Tomorrow is not promised. You live life like today.”

At 27, Antonio Barnes had accomplished what most hope to do in a lifetime after a tough childhood.

“He dealt with fighting and going through gangs and all that,” his sister explained. “He learned from that. He fought so hard to change his life and to show everybody that it’s not about your background. You can change yourself.”

Antonio Barnes spent time as an ANC Commissioner, worked with the Board of Elections and was part of the Service Employees International Union.

“He was my best friend,” Destiny Barnes said of her older brother. 

Her last memory of him is especially bitter-sweet.

“March 14, the same day he was taken away,” remembered Destiny Barnes. “My 2-year-old daughter was taken away from me on March 14 three years ago. The last time I talked to my brother was at my daughter’s memorial. He wrapped his arms around me and said, ‘I know. I know she’s playing in heaven. I know she’s playing in heaven.’ He’s with her now. He’s with her now; somebody is there to take care of her. Somebody is there to take care of her.”

The Barnes family is still waiting for answers in his death. They’re asking anyone with information on the case to contact Prince George’s County Police Department's Homicide Unit at (301) 772-4925.

A GoFundMe account has been created to help the Barnes family with funeral expenses. You can learn how to donate here.

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