Chris Henry’s fiance, Loleini Tonga, wept as she spoke about the Cincinnati Bengals receiver at his funeral Tuesday, and she said while she may have helped steer him out of trouble, he changed her life.
Henry, 26, was killed after he fell out of a pickup truck bed being driven by his fiancé Loleini Tonga during what police described as a domestic dispute. Police are investigating, but no charges have been filed.
“Can’t nobody feel what I’m feeling right now. … We loved each other very much. People say I helped change his life. No. He changed mine,” said Tonga, wearing sunglasses and pausing between sentences. “We were supposed to get married in three months, but I’m going to wait until I see him again.”
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, second from left, is comforted while viewing teammate Chris Henry.
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Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry died Thursday following a fall from a moving pickup truck during a dispute with his fiancee, police said.
Henry, who was 26, died in hospital at 6:36 a.m., Charlotte police said. The National Football League receiver had been on life support through the night.
“Detectives continue to work diligently on this active investigation,” police said in the statement announcing Henry’s death.
Henry, a troubled player who was arrested five times and suspended five times during his NFL career, suffered a broken forearm during a victory last month over Baltimore and was out for the season.
“What I saw was a good person at heart. Sometimes he wasn’t described that way but that’s how I knew him,” Bengals owner Mike Brown said. “It’s a terrible tragedy.”
Chad Ochocinco fought back tears as he talked about his fellow Bengals receiver, who he had spoken with just two days earlier.
“It’s sad it has come to this point. He had been doing everything right. He was taking care of his business,” Ochocinco said. “He was on the right path.”
Police said a dispute between Henry and his fiancee began at a house about half a mile from where he was eventually discovered near a residential roadway.
Henry jumped into the back of a pickup truck as the woman drove away and continued the dispute, police said, adding that at some point while she was driving Henry fell out.
Henry was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with what police described only as “life-threatening injuries.”
“He had made positive changes,” said Andy Simms, Henry’s agent. “We ask that you keep Chris’ family – especially the young children he leaves behind – in your prayers.”
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Henry was engaged to Loleini Tonga, and the couple has been raising three children.
Peep the photo below of Chris with his fiancee Loleini Tonga and their kids – DeMarcus, 10 months; Seini, 3, and Chris Jr., 2.
According Loleini Tonga’s Myspace page, she is a Pacific Islander who has a Bachelor Degree from North Carolina Agricultural And Technical St University in Communications.
Henry was in the final year of his contract with the Bengals, who let him go after his fifth arrest following the 2007 season. Owner Mike Brown then brought him back a few months later, signing him to a two-year deal. Henry had stayed out of trouble since his return, turning into a feel-good story that got fans rooting for him.
In an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer in October, Henry credited his fiancee for helping him straighten out his life, saying, “She’s been a big help. She’s been right here with me and going through things and helping out on my side. We have the kids, and she has my back with everything I’ve needed.”
Source: Associated Press