This is the story of a black man from Nigeria, who married a white British women and how they immigrated to the United States to raise a family. The events of that day have now been documented and an investigation is now underway concerning the deaths of two of the children.
The address was 7714 Shelburne Circle, Spring Texas , a quiet subdivison in Suburbia where a family of seven lived for nearly twenty-five years. In fact, the children had grown up in the Neighborhood “Terra Nova”, just down the street from the area school district. When they were in high school, the family bought a new house. An impressive 7 bedroom, 6 bathroom mansion, in another area of Spring Texas known as “Memorial Northwest”. Being biracial, the kids were known by their names. The oldest was Uchenna, then Azuka, Adaeze, Nkem, all girls, and the youngest a boy named Joey. Both parents came from hard working blue collar families. Joseph Okeke now 77 and Christine Okeke now 65 were professionals. A doctor and a nurse, respectively. They came to America to live in the Suburbs and raise their family. Joseph had a close brother from Canada, named Peter Okeke. He was married with two children. Christine, being shy and quiet had two friends whom she confided with, Teresa Burkholder and Vivian Pandya. They all lived in a wealthy section of Spring Texas where their children attended school. In the coming years, the family would get to know many professionals in the area, ones that would help them get through many of the hard times.
Before leaving Nigeria, where Joey, the youngest was born. Joseph senior, got the family passports with which to travel. The girls were all born in Canada in the 1970s. They lived there for the better part of six years. They soon moved back to Nigeria, where Joseph was promised a position as a physician. During this time, Joey was born. He was only two years old, before the family decided they had had enough of the African economy and wanted to relocate to the United States. Dallas, Texas was the first stop. Margret Christine felt the suburbs would be a good place to raise a family. Shortly thereafter, in 1978, they settled down in Houston, Texas. Throughout the years, the family would travel to many locations, or hot spots for vacation and family fun. Mexico, the Carribbean, and Jamaica, were a few of the places Joseph took His family. Those were good times, which brought back fond memories of childhood and friendship. It was only until recently, that all the traveling would end, and the family would become confined to the neighborhood.
Being biracial, the children were often recognized by their light complexion and curly hair. Childhood was carefree and the kids excelled in school. They attended school in Canada, Nigeria, as well as in the US. Spring-Klein was known for being one of best and wealthiest school districts in Texas. Life in the neighborhood was peaceful and good during the summertime. Uchenna and Azuka both had cats and Adaeze had two dogs. Animals were a big part of the children’s lives growing up and they struggled to take of them. Eventually all five children went on to college in different parts of the United States. Working and raising a family kept them coming back and forth to their parents house, especially during the holidays. Joey was married at 21 years of age, Nkem at 27 and Uchenna had a daughter at 32 years of age.
Now, Joseph and Margret Christine were married in 1965 in Great Britain. Joseph was from Nigeria and Christine was born in South Wales. They were married over there and had their honeymoon in Portugal. By the 1980’s they had already relocated to the US and had five children to take care of. They were happily married for the most part and “showed off” their good fortune with fancy cars and two very expensive houses. A successful business was not as easily attainable for the couple and Joseph’s Medical Practice went out of business in 2003. He accepted an early social security check and settled into retired life with Christine remaining at home. The next few years would prove to be the hardest ones the family had ever seen. The death of Azuka and Joey came as a surprise to all who knew the family.
By 1998, all five children had settled into adulthood, mainly in different parts of the country. Azuka and Adaeze were still unmarried. And Uchenna had gotten pregnant at the age of 32 and found herself in trouble with the law. Most agreed that after Joseph’s Medical Clinic went under, the entire family felt this hardship. Joey and his wife moved back home and Nkem and her husband relocated to Houston (from Washington DC) with their two children, Saule and Aras. The accidents occurred within a two year period and although the autopsy reports have been obtained, a conclusive summary of findings has not been drawn. In 2006, Joey was found dead, crushed from a 2000 lb pipe while at work. His body was recovered by Joseph and Christine that same night and the funeral proceeded the next day. Azuka, in 2004, died at Tomball Hospital from acute pulmonary thromboembolus. She had an embolism from smoking a cigarette the night before and being on the birth control pill. Joseph and Christine buried Azuka the next day with a funeral procession to follow. Joey was 29 years old and Azuka only 33. Friends and family who attended that day were shocked that this could have happened to such a proud family. No one there suspected anything but natural causes, although a preliminary investigation is now underway.
As the “Okeke” name garnished more attention over the years, more and more locals began looking for and trying to locate “the kids”. Everyone wondered where they went to or what had happened to them? Joseph and Christine were still married and by 2008 had recovered from those two incidents. They were often seen spending time with their three grandchildren, who lived nearby. In 2010, Uchenna, the eldest, was subpoenaed to court, in defense of her criminal behavior during the birth of her daughter, Hazel McMiller. She also tried, at this time, to workout custody arrangements with her mother Margret Christine, unfortunately to no avail. The two remaining siblings never left the area and are employed today somewhere in Houston. A number of family and friends have heard about the accidents that occurred during that time, but have not been able to follow the story successfully. At present, Azuka and Joey are buried at Klein Memorial Park, FM 2920, in Tomball, Texas. Saule is 5, Aras is 3 and Hazel McMiller is 8 years old.
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