Family and friends release lanterns to celebrate the birthday of the late Chad Austin

‘We remember the good times,’ said Chad Austin’s mother, Ellen Austin

BUENA VISTA, Va. – Family and friends of the late Chad Austin came together to honor what would have been his 33rd birthday. Chad went missing in 2019 and was later found dead in May 2020.

On Friday night on his birthday, his family released biodegradable lanterns in his honor. They also held a memorial at his living tree with blue lights, the color of his alma mater, Parry McCluer High School. Chad was a decorated football star in high school—wearing the number 33.

That night, his mother, Ellen Austin read a poem she wrote for her late son.

“We remember the good times at Smith Mountain Lake. Many fish you caught, cleaned and beer-battered bake. You were smart, handsome, our love nature child,” said Ellen.

Chad’s family said it’s a special birthday with the day falling on the night of his alma mater’s homecoming game.

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