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Cindra Bognuda remembers her son, Ahmad Bognuda, whose murder nine years ago remains unsolved

SALISBURY — Every now and then, Cindra Bognuda pulls out a Bible with an inscription in it that provides her with fond memories of her son.

Nine years ago, Ahmad Rashad Bognuda, 30, was shot multiple times at a home on Geroid Street in East Spencer.

Bognuda, a native of California, says her son left behind a wife, three children and three stepchildren. The circumstances of her son’s death remain somewhat of a mystery. She’s been told over the years who may have been involved, but as of this week no arrest has been made.

“It’s not going to bring Ahmad back, no matter how many people get locked up or drop dead,” she said. “He was somebody’s husband, somebody’s child and somebody’s father.”

Over the years, some of the people she believes were involved in Ahmad’s death have gone on to commit other crimes or been killed themselves, she said.

Bognuda said Ahmad was a good father who had a job at Food Lion and also worked part time as a roofer. He worked with a friend of hers, David Boger, who she said is an independent roofer.

After Ahmad’s death, Boger gave Bognuda a Bible that he’d given to Ahmad at work. She believes her son read from it. But she’s always loved the inscription that Boger put inside the Bible — “To my friend Ahmad. Thank you for showing me that there are so many things in life that are different than they first appear.”

Police went to Geroid Street on Oct. 10, 2008, after receiving reports of shots fired in the area. Ahmad Bognuda was shot five times, receiving both superficial and lethal gunshot wounds to various parts of his body including his chest and abdomen, according to an autopsy report. He also received multiple blunt force injuries to his head.

He was treated at the scene and taken to the hospital, where he later died.

East Spencer police were initially investigating the incident, but Police Chief Sharon Hovis confirmed the case was turned over to the SBI sometime after 2009. Hovis was not head of the department at that time.

Each year on the anniversary of his death, Cindra Bognuda, along with her grandchildren and Ahmad’s widow, Denet, have a meal of fried chicken and macaroni and cheese together because it was Ahmad’s favorite meal.

This year, the family went out to eat, but a bigger dinner is planned this weekend to celebrate his life.

Bognuda says her son as well as her other children have been misjudged, but she says they made their own decisions.

She described Ahmad as someone who was at times arrogant, but at the same time humble. She looks at his son Kashon, 12, and sees his father in him.

“He was goofy. He was very outgoing and friendly. He had a very good personality,” she said.

Ahmad’s nickname was Red. Kashon has often been called Little Red. Bognuda said one day about three years ago, she asked Kashon if it bothered him to share a nickname with his father.

“You know what he said: He said he considers it an honor,” Bognuda said.

She often reminds the 12-year-old that he is his father’s son, but that it’s OK to be who he is as well.

All three of Ahmad’s children remind her of him, in some ways, she said.

Bognuda, who is retired from the Hefner VA Medical Center, recalled a time when she found a letter and poem that Ahmad had written to her when he was incarcerated. The poem was about love and God; she found it in a desk drawer.

“I feel like it’s him telling me he’s here and to keep the faith and don’t lose faith no matter how hard things get,” she said of the poem.

She has two other children, Anthony Ryan Bognuda, who is Ahmad’s twin, and Andre Rynell Bognuda, the youngest. Andre Bognuda recently accepted a plea deal in the 2013 death of Salisbury teen Abraham Jenkins, who was shot and killed outside of a boarding house where he lived.

Bognuda acknowledged Ahmad and Andre’s criminal past, saying she believes people judge only the outside. But she said God forgives everybody.

She and the twin’s father didn’t know they were having twins, but she knew if she had a son she wanted to name him Anthony Ryan after her father.

Ahmad’s father got his name from Minnesota Vikings football player Ahmad Rashad. He figured it didn’t rhyme with Anthony Ryan, which they didn’t want, but it had the “A” and “R” initials that they wanted.

It’s a story that Cindra Bognuda tells with a hearty laugh.

This weekend, she and her family will eat Ahmad’s favorite meal, talk about memories, maybe with a few hearty laughs.

Anyone with information about the murder of Ahmad Rashad Bognuda is asked to contact Rowan-Salisbury CrimeStoppers at 866-639-5245. Tips and information can be made anonymously.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-9797-4253.

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