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In a disturbing turn of events, a teenager wanted for killing journalist Josh Kruger in Philadelphia was sexually exploited by the journalist and blackmailed with explicit videos, the teen’s family claims.
Josh Kruger is a 39-year-old journalist who rose from homelessness and addiction to become communications director for Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services. Police say he was shot to death at his home in the early morning on Monday, Oct. 2nd.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Robert Davis remains on the run after police placed a $20,000 reward for his capture and conviction.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, police initially claimed 39-year-old Kruger was trying to help 19-year-old Davis when he was shot seven times. However, the teen’s family has made a shocking allegation.
Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit Lt. Hamilton Marshmond claims Kruger and Davis were acquaintances.
“Mr. Kruger was trying to help Mr. Davis and they were acquaintances,” Marshmond said. “He was just trying to help him get through life.”
Damica Davis, Robert’s mother, claims Josh Kruger was sexually grooming and exploiting Davis since he was 15 years old. She said she received a call from her son just hours after police came to her house looking for him on Friday, Oct. 6.
“He was scared,” she said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He said ‘he wanted me to do some stuff I didn’t want to do and if I didn’t do it, he said he was going to blackmail me.’”
Allegation sparks comparison to convicted killer Ed Buck
Davis’ family said Robert would say he was dating an older White woman who “worked for the government.” When relatives would see the name “Josh” appear on his phone, Robert would dismiss it as his girlfriend’s brother.
Instead, the family claims Josh Kruger, who worked for the Office of Homeless Services from 2015-2020, was blackmailing Davis with drugs and sexually explicit videos if he didn’t follow Kruger’s demands.
According to the New York Daily News, sources within the police department have confirmed finding sexually explicit videos on Josh Kruger’s phone. Police turned them over to the department’s Special Victims Unit.
News of the allegations against Kruger sparked comparisons online to Ed Buck, who was convicted of drugging, raping and killing Black gay men in 2021.
Many are remembering Kruger as an LGBTQ writer and homeless advocate who fought for the most marginalized people. Similarly, many also adored Ed Buck as a liberal billionaire who donated to various causes.
Josh Kruger: victim or abuser?
For years, the pleas from relatives of Buck’s victims went ignored due to his public persona and political connections.
Likewise, infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer racked up numerous Black victims for years without capture.
Dahmer targeted, drugged, murdered, dismembered and ate the body parts of Black, Latinx and Asian American victims in the ’90s.
Despite a fellow prisoner murdering Dahmer in 1994, pop culture idolizes him with glorified documentaries.
As Davis remains on the run, it’s unclear how serious Philadelphia police will take his family’s allegations against Josh Kruger.
When asked if the sexual abuse claims against Kruger were being included in the police investigation, “I know that’s something they are looking at, yes,” a Philly Police spokesperson told The Black Wall Street Times.