A decomposing body found in Cranston, R.I., last week was that of 20-year-old Mary S. Grier, a former Dorchester resident, a family member said Wednesday.
“I can’t believe anybody would do that to her,” said Jeanetta Trotman, Grier’s former foster mother. “Everyone loved her. She was a quiet person who loved going to church.”
Grier’s body was found Friday at 8:30 p.m. behind a couch inside an unattached two-car garage on Farmington Avenue., after neighbors reported to police a foul odor coming from the building.
Authorities have not officially confirmed the identity of the body, pending the results of an autopsy expected later this week, but they have reached out to Grier’s family, said Major Robert Ryan of the Cranston Police Department.
Police plan to question James A. Adams, 31, of Warwick, R.I., in connection with the death. Police called Adams a “person of interest” in the case and said he has ties to the home where the body was found.
Adams was arrested Tuesday on an unrelated assault charge outside a Charlesgate elderly housing facility in Providence, where he had been visiting a relative. Members of the US Marshal’s Service’s Sex Offender Law Enforcement Multidisciplinary Network assisted local police in apprehending him.
Adams was wanted in an alleged June 30 felony assault in which he pointed a gun at a 23-year-old woman at the same Farmington Avenue house where the body was found. The victim escaped with minor injuries. Adams was arraigned on that charge Wednesday in Kent County District Court and was ordered held on $200,000 bail, said Amy Kempe, spokeswoman for the office of the attorney general.
Adams was on probation for a 2007 first-degree sexual assault conviction, for which he served 7 years in prison, with 13 years suspended. He has been ordered held without bail on a charge of violating probation.
“We’re relieved that this particular individual is off the street,” Ryan said.
Trotman said that detectives from the Cranston Police Department notified her Friday that the body found in the garage was Grier’s. A Massachusetts identification card was found on the body, and Trotman’s address was listed on the card. Trotman said Grier had stayed with her during her last year of high school and had her mail sent to her address.
Trotman said she raised Grier until she was 4 years old, when she was adopted. Grier lived with her adoptive mother in Dorchester and attended the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School and then the MATCH Public Charter High School in Brighton. During her last year of high school in 2010, Grier moved back in with her former foster mother, Trotman said Wednesday. Grier did not graduate from high school, but moved to Cranston at the end of 2010, where many of her friends lived, and was making plans to join the Job Corps.
“Oh, my, I spoke with her about three weeks ago, when she came to my house with her [adoptive] mother. We talked about her progress, about her future,” Trotman said. “She was excited about going into the Job Corps and getting her GED. I believe she wanted to do something with interior design; she was very good at that.”
Grier’s adoptive mother, reached by telephone, declined to comment.
Bob Hill, who teaches US history at the MATCH school said Grier was in his classes for two years, when she was a sophomore and a junior. Hill tracks and keeps in contact with the school’s alumni and said many of Grier’s former classmates were devastated by the news of her death.
“She was someone who was very soft-spoken, a gentle soul,’’ he said in a telephone interview. “She really loved to laugh. In a way, she was very quiet, but then she had this burst of laughter.
“She had great academic promise, but had the typical ups and downs of students,” Hill said. “She struggled at times and shined at other times. Every once in a while, she would come up at the end of class and ask a question that showed she had intellectual curiosity and excellent listening skills.”
Brian Ballou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeballou.