DeKalb County

‘We had big dreams:’ Locksmith, father of 4 found dead inside burning work van in DeKalb

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A mobile locksmith was found dead in his burning work van in DeKalb County, leaving behind a wife and four children while police look for a killer.

Peter McGrath, 36, was identified as the victim by the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office. The cause of death has been ruled a homicide.

“He did not deserve what happened to him,” his wife Amber McGrath told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson. “He was a loving father. He was just an amazing human being.”

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McGrath and his wife have been married for 4 years, but have known each other for their entire adult lives.

Their youngest child is just 6 months old. McGrath enjoyed having a large family after he grew up as an only child, his wife says.

“We had big dreams, big plans,” Amber McGrath said. “They were just stolen from us in an instant.”


DeKalb police found Peter McGrath on Mecklinburg Place in Decatur near Towers High School around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

McGrath owned his own locksmith company, and his wife says he just taken a call for a job In Decatur at around 8 p.m. the night before.

“I never heard from him again,” McGrath said. “He walked out that door. He was gone forever.”

DeKalb police have not announced a potential motive during their investigation.

“I do believe in my heart that he was targeted, he was set up,” McGrath said. “The people that did this knew what they were doing when they called my husband.”

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Neighbors told Johnson that the burning van was sitting on their street for several hours before they heard an explosion.

McGrath’s wife says she doesn’t know why he would be a target.

Peter McGrath was the sole provider for his family. A GoFundMe has been set up to help his family get by.

She’s also asking any witnesses who may able to find her husband’s killer to come forward.

“He has children that he’ll never see grow up,” she said. “My children have no father now. Please have a heart.”