More than $37K raised for family after father dies in burning car in DeKalb

Peter McGrath was a father of four, the youngest being just 6 months old.

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Peter McGrath was a father of four, the youngest being just 6 months old.

The lives of an Atlanta mother and her children were forever changed when Peter McGrath left for work late Sunday night.

Early the next morning, the mobile locksmith was found dead in his burning work van in DeKalb County, according to police. The 36-year-old was the father of four, the youngest being just 6 months old.

“Peter was a great man. Trying to carve out his little slice of the American Dream. Our dreams were cut short,” his wife, Amber McGrath, wrote on a GoFundMe page, which had raised more than $37,000 of its $50,000 goal by Friday evening, with over 400 donors pitching in.

“He was a loving father. Small business owner. Loved by many. This loss is too much.”

The McGraths had been married for 13 years, Channel 2 Action News reported.

“He did not deserve what happened to him,” Amber McGrath told the news station. “He was a loving father. He was just an amazing human being.”

DeKalb police officers were responding to a call for a wellness check in the 3600 block of Mecklinburg Place about 12:30 a.m. Monday when they were alerted that a vehicle was on fire. After the blaze was extinguished, McGrath’s body was found in the rear of the van.

“Please help our family,” the fundraiser’s description states. “He was the sole provider for our family of six & his mobile locksmith van was destroyed.”

Many family members and friends left words of support on the page. One supporter, Russell Bennett, said he is a 69-year-old locksmith training his 19-year-old grandson.

“I can’t imagine being targeted because of our trade!” Bennett’s comment, alongside a $500 donation, said. “We will be praying for your family.”

Amber McGrath told Channel 2 she suspects foul play was involved. DeKalb police said the incident is still under investigation.

“I do believe in my heart that he was targeted, he was set up,” McGrath said. “The people that did this knew what they were doing when they called my husband.”

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