Here it comes again, Christmas! For the newly bereaved, we offer our deepest understanding and love. Yes, love needs to be given to everyone whose loss or losses are triggered by the holiday season. How can we even forget about it for just one day? It starts as early as Halloween time when the stores bring out Christmas trees, ornaments, gifts we should buy, holiday meals, songs and shows that are totally Christmas stories. For those who are suffering from traumatic grief and the triggers that put it right back in our face, we offer our deepest sympathy and understanding. Most co-victims can hardly wait for the holiday season to be over.
For many, it just seems too much to bear. Many co-victims are already suffering from depression and holidays just add to their feeling of hopelessness. It is not uncommon for co-victims to suffer from flashbacks, nightmares and an unbearable sadness. It can stop a person in their tracks. Tears seen harder and harder to hold back. Some of us can’t sleep and for others, they just want to stay in bed. During the holidays, some people become ill or have aliments they have become chronic. Stress also causes physical illnesses to those who are suffering from making it to New Years. Also, many of us have found that the anticipation of the holiday is actually worse than the day itself.
What we can do and what has helped other families is to try to discuss what traditions cause us the most grief. There are traditions that we can change or do in another manner. Holiday happenings are not written on stone. This is where understanding and not wanting others to be left out are where we show how much we care. It is an act of charity to try to understand. It is also important for co-victims to appreciate and let others know that we appreciate their kindness and understanding. We see this when we have a holiday celebration on our December meeting on the first Monday in December. Of course, the room is full of co-victims and we plan it around the losses of our loved ones. Yet, it affects everyone in a different way. Tears are welcomed and we all know that everyone understands. Because we all have lost loved ones in a violent manner, no one has to make excuses or not let the tears flow. In fact, we draw strength from one another.
Adding a special tribute to remember those who have been murdered can also help co-victims. It is recommended that you try the following traditions this Christmas as see if it helps: light a special candle; keep a special chair empty and leave something special on it as a candle or flower; write special notes or remembrances on a piece of paper and keep them where others can read them; openly express a special memory of your loved one during your family time together; or you can put a special ornament on your tree for your loved one just before you open presents so they are still a part of your celebration.
Traveling to a different location can help in some situations but, it can also cause more loneliness. It is wise to remember that being away can cause more stress. Sometimes, we can find comfort in keeping things the same as much as possible. But, it may also be wise to incorporate new memories or favorite things of your loved one. Reliving fond memories can also be up lifting. No one can ever take away the happy memories you have shared with your loved one. Celebrate what you have and though it is hard, remember that memories last forever. Try to be with people who understand and if you cannot hold back your tears, know that they understand. This does not ruin the holidays for others, it is human to express how much we loved someone. Unsaid words and especially grief builds when they are not released. Other family and friends may be having a sad time as well.
Don’t be afraid to let your family know that you want them to mention your loved one. If it makes you cry, it is better to share your loss. Holding back or knowing others are afraid to mention their name only causes us more stress, We must learn how to give ourselves permission to feel our grief and to also experience happiness. We need to accept love, sympathy, and support from others who love us as well as reach out to others who need support.
When we help others during the holidays, it makes positive happenings in our life. It is helpful if we can make a contribution or volunteer to help someone who needs help. There is no way we can buy our way out of this sadness so just spending can even cause us more stress if we are over spending. But, we can again join the human race even with our tears.
This also may help another family member or friend who tries to hold in the loss of their loved one or your loved one.
Finally, take care of your health. Get the rest and sleep your body needs from the painful journey we are traveling. Group support is wonderful as well as having a special friend that you can share your feelings with. Remember that your life has been turned upside down. Baby steps are good. POMC telephone friends can be a great help as well as going to our memorial and visiting the POMC Memorial Wall can be helpful. Your loved one’s name is written in stone and when our new memorial wall is finished, the new names will be added.
Please know that all of us at POMC will be thinking of our fellow co-victims. Be good to yourselves. Remember that it is the murderer who took your loved ones’ lives. It does not matter if it was murder or vehicular homicide. We are all in this together. Others also feel our pain.
All my love, Mary
TO HONOR ALL VICTIMS OF HOMICIDE IN COLUMBIA COUNTY
Survivors of Murder and Vehicular Homicide and our POMC Chapter will host the “Krystle Rose Cook Remembrance Day” on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at the Columbia County Court House, 230 Strand Street, St. Helens, Oregon. This will be the 12th celebration for Krystle Cook. Since its beginning, the Cook family wanted to include all victims of homicide along with Krystle on this special day. The Greater Portland Chapter is honored to help support this wonderful occasion to honor all of our loved ones. The public is also welcome to come.
The event will start at 11:30 A.M. and will include speeches, a balloon release (with a note from each victim’s loved one), and refreshments. We hope that this will be a good opportunity for all of us to honor those who were taken so cruelly from us and a chance for the public to learn about the aftermath of homicide.
“Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.” – Elie Weisel
“It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.” – Doe Zantamata
“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.” – Iyanla Vanzant
From: Irene James
Offender: Dayton Leroy Rogers
To Whom It May Concern:
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Irene James. I am the mother of Maureen Ann Hodges. Maureen was my only child. She was brutally tortured and murdered by Leroy Dayton Rogers in 1987. Even though Maureen’s remains were buried in Molalla after Mr. Rogers severed her feet and murdered her, we will never know the exact extent of the torture he inflicted upon her. We know that he had to bring the young women where no one could hear their screams. I spent nearly 100 days in court hearing of the worst pain anyone could do to another human being. Women who escaped his “executions” told of the torture and pain he continually caused them until they escaped or sadly to say many were murdered.
If Maureen were still alive, she would be 54 years old. She was just 26 years old when the worst nightmare that could happen to a human being was inflicted upon her. She has been dead for 28 years. Maureen had a five year old son when she was murdered. He will never get to know his mother and she will never get to know her wonderful 10 year old grandson. All of our lives are impacted by the absence of Maureen. I never got to do the things mothers do with their daughters. There is always an ache in my heart. I was teaching at a grade school when my daughter was murdered. I did not return the following year to teach and instead took an early retirement. Mr. Rogers changed our lives forever.
I have one brother and three sisters and out of all of my siblings, I am the only one to get cancer. It was in remission until about three years ago. I am suffering from stage four cancer and because I am so weak, I might not be able to attend the new sentencing trial. I may not even be here. But, to me, it is so important that the court knows what Dayton Leroy Rogers has done to our family and to the other families as well. There seems to be a higher ratio of my co-victim friends getting cancer than those who have not had to endure the loss of a loved one to homicide.
As someone whose child was murdered, I found that my life has changed forever. The monumental happenings for other families will never happen to me. “Mother’s Day” brings only heartache. I ache, not just for myself, but for my grandson and his son. There is always a “missing plate” at our gatherings.
In spending nearly 100 days in court, I have never seen Mr. Rogers show any remorse. None of the young women he murdered got to turn their lives around. If he is released to general population, we diminish the horror he has inflicted on so many. What does one have to do to be considered a risk to those who work in the prison or who are inmates? Please consider the lives and horror he has committed. His behavior and actions are unthinkable. The anguish Mr. Rogers has caused our family and others is not measurable. What does one person have to do to be considered for the death penalty?
Sincerely, Irene James
1)Make Peace with your Past so it doesn't spoil your Present.
2)What others Think of you is None of your Business.
3)Time Heales Almost Everything, Give the Time, Some Time.
4)No one is the Reson of your Happiness Except You yourself.
5)Don't compare your Life with others, You have No idea what their journey is all about.
6)Stop Thinking too much, Its Alright not to know all the Answers.
7) Smile, you don't own all the Problems in the World.
It is an honor to share thoughts and stories from members. I never stop learning and I hope others will share with us as well. I would like to thank Linda Blake and Yvonne David for their articles:
From Linda Blake: Mary, I’d be happy to have this in the newsletter. Anything that helps. One thing I thought of is “Through Field Tapping”, which you had in a newsletter (EMDR, eye movement). I have 2 websites I like. Magnus Tapping (for depression) and Dr. Ng. who does a power routine. Both are similar and the light finger tapping plus the eye movement STOPPED the brain Chatter. I was able to focus and read novels again, after almost 9 years of inability to concentrate. Please tell people to NEVER give up hope to get better. It’s been a long journey, and certainly not an easy one. However, today I can even talk about Melody without crying. It DOES get better.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6133V2EcVIY This is Magnus, and excellent! Note that it can only help, as there are no negative aspects. The process accesses right and left brain. Clearing the obsessive or negative thoughts and feelings. Freedom!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkU1uY75U2Q Dr. Ng does a slightly different sequence and she is equally good.
From Yvonne David: I have a counselor that explained to me 3 waves we can be on during the time of grieving, “a high wave”, “a low wave” and “a sneaker”.
A “high wave” is when you are having a bad day. You cry, you are depressed, just can’t function. This wave can control you. It has to gradually come down to a low wave and roll onto the shore. This “high wave” can beat us as it does to a ship being tossed back and forth. In Mark 4:36-39 a storm arose and the disciples were afraid. They cried out to Jesus to save them for they thought they would perish. Jesus rebuked the wind and said unto the sea. “Peace be still”. The wind ceased and there was great calm. This is what we need to do when a “high wave” comes upon us. Ask God to still our wave.
A “low wave” is when you are having a good day. You are happy and thing are going smooth. But then WHAM—a “sneaker wave” hits you! A memory of some kind pops up unexpectedly and triggers the grieving: a date, birthday, phone call, a location you pass by etc… A “sneaker wave” can knock us off our feet. We have to get up and continue going forward. Get on that calm peaceful wave. We all want to be on the “calm wave”, but there will be days when a “sneaker” or a “high wave” will hit us.
I have shared these 3 different waves to my friends, (real simple like) so that they may help me. I can call on them when a wave hits me. Our friends always ask us, “How are you doing, or how are you today?” It is such an open question. How do you answer them? Well since they know about the waves, they can now ask, “How are your waves this week or what wave are you on today?” I encourage you to share with your friends about these waves and have peace throughout your day.
Funding for our new POMC Oregon/Washington Wall officially began this January, 2015. Members and friends of our chapter have been generous with donations and we are so thankful. Many of our new members are waiting for their loved ones names to be put on our new wall. We are listing new names that will be engraved when the wall is completed. We ask that members will call us, e-mail, or mail the information if you do not see your loved ones name on the list. The phone number is 503-656-8039, the e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org or POMC, 14427 S. Forsythe Road.
We are designing the wall now and hoping to build a wall that will accommodate more names than the existing wall. We want to list all of our loved ones
If any of our members work at a company or know of anyone who would like to make a donation please let us know or it is fine for you to ask for a donation yourself. We are a non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible. Please use the phone contact numbers from the first paragraph of this article. Thank you so much for your support.
Carol Lynne Keightley
Craig C. Moritz Jr.
David G. Swapp Jr.
Dean A. Kuntz
Douglas Oliver Benton
Glen Edward Drysdale
Jayme Sue Austin
Jessica Lynn Clark
Julio Cesar Marquev
Kathleen Lois Bauman
Marcos J. Castillo
Nicolette Naomi Elias
Paul W. Miller
Randall Leo Gettman
Rebekah “Becky” Selegue Johnson
William Ronald Hatch III
(Please contact us if your loved one’s name does not appear on this paper and you would like to have it added. A form will be added to our newsletter each month to be used for adding names for the wall when it is completed. Please check the spelling of your loved one’s name and let us know if it is wrong. You can e-mail us at email@example.com, call 505-656-8039, or mail us at POMC, 14427 S. Forsythe Rd., Oregon City, OR 97045.)
J.H. COOLEY AND Z.A. COOLEY
SONIA M D.L.
KYLEE AND CLINT K.
JUSTIN W. AND LYNDIA W.
THOMAS AND KIMBERLY N.
MARY AND BOB E.
DELORES AND LEE C.
PAT AND DICK K.
CAROLE AND BUCK J.
SCOTT AND LORI S.
The Greater Portland Chapter is proud to announce that Beth Greear has created a facebook support group for POMC members. To reach it use: www.facebook.com/groups/POMC.Portlalnd.Vancouver/ Beth said that there are several “admins” of the page so she is sure it will be very beneficial to anyone who would like to use it.
We cannot thank her enough for the chance to have even more support for our members. Beth is an outstanding person who is always there to reach out to help others. She even brought a delicious dessert for our December holiday meeting. We will be writing more on this next month and giving the names of other members who are helping with this project.
There could not be a better time to share the story of beautiful Annie McCann. Annie is the daughter of Mary Jane and Dan McCann. You will also find a letter in this newsletter that was written to State Attorney Marilyn Mosby about getting help for the McCann family.
Mary Jane and Dan have written an article so that you can read the entire account, “The Color of Puke”, on line. It is a compelling story that we hope you will read:
What do parents do when their child’s apparent murder goes unexplored? That’s what POMC members Mary Jane and Dan McCann are struggling with. They’ve written of their cruel ordeal. Here is an excerpt:
“Annie died under the most sinister of circumstances. She was seen by two extraordinarily reliable eyewitnesses as lively, animated, and unbruised at a pastry shop in Baltimore’s Little Italy. A few short hours later, a few blocks away, she was found soaking wet, without shoes , with blunt force trauma to both sides of her forehead, with a vicious bruise on her backside and a bloody bra, poisoned with a massively lethal amount of lidocaine in her engorged stomach, stuffed behind a dumpster by thugs, who If they didn’t kill her themselves, were likely paid to dump her.
The best objective guess on how Annie died? It tracks pretty closely to FBI Deputy Assistant and Director Campbell’s testimony to Congress. She was lured under false pretenses from her sheltered suburban home by human traffickers, and murdered with a lethal dose of lidocaine, probably in an alcoholic drink, when she resisted the unfolding plan. That is informed by speculation, based on the facts we’ve learned; in honesty and accuracy, it is light-years beyond the impossible theory, that Annie killed herself.
What’s really needed is a vigorous and open-mined police investigation. That’s all we’ve ever asked for. It’s never been done.”
You can read the entire account, “The Color of Puke” online.
During this year’s commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Week, can we engage our POMC community to help the McCanns gain justice for their daughter?
Shelley Dawn Elkins, born on May 31, 1968, was a beautiful twenty year old woman who had loving parents, Nina and Don Elkins, and a devoted loving sister, Sharon Christensen. Shelley was engaged and was living in own home with her fiancé when she was murdered on May 31, 1989.
Dail Ryan Yates waited for her fiancé, his cousin, to go to work early in the morning when he decided to murder Shelley. He strangled her. He showed no remorse. In fact, six months earlier he shot and killed a man in Estacada, Oregon. He was charged with the man’s murder and kept in jail until his trial. Unfortunately, he was found not guilty. He had claimed self-defense. It was less than a month later, that he murdered Shelley. For a family, it is unbearable to think that if justice had been handed out their daughter might not have been murdered.
After the murder of Shelley, Yates was found guilty and given life with the minimum of 25 years. On February 18, 2014, he was given a parole exit hearing. He had served his twenty-five years.
Shelley’s sister, Sharon, spent hours contacting people to write letters against Dail’s release and working with Victims Specialist Attorney Rosemary Brewer to get information and evidence that Dail Yates was a risk to society if he were let out. Ms. Brewer is an excellent attorney who is well prepared to assist victims trying to keep a murderer behind bars when they are likely to commit a crime again. Again, Mr. Yates was not sorry he murdered Shelley.
The Parole Board listened to both sides and ruled that Dail Ryan Yates should serve four more years. Many letters against his release were mailed in and eleven people were there to support Shelley’s memory. Ms. Brewer proved he was a risk. Shelley’s sister Sharon spoke as well.
As a chapter, we are proud of the Elkins family and all of those who helped keep a murderer in prison longer to protect society. We also offer the Elkins’ family our deepest sympathy and support. Your daughter Shelley would be proud. Your actions are protecting society. Shelley is and will always be remembered. We would also like to thank Rosemary Brewer for an excellent job as well as the Board of Parole and Debbie Wojciechowski, Victim Specialist . Debbie is excellent in helping co-victims of homicide go through the painful experience of revisiting the murder of their loved one.
The murder of a loved one is the most horrific thing a person can experience. The only thing that can make it worse is a substandard initial investigation or not seeing justice in your case. Timely collection of evidence followed by an arrest and conviction would provide a degree of comfort, but what happens to co-victims when a thorough investigation is not done, and there is no arrest? Many of the victims' friends and acquaintances will gradually let go of their grief over time, but the closest of friends and family will remain in a state of sorrow, haunted by the injustice of investigators that may not have conformed to rules or standard operating procedures during their initial investigation. Not only is there no relief, but the agony of the event changes their lives forever, and becomes part of their very being. Co-victims' everyday battle becomes their effort to get a thorough investigation.
Helplessness is a gut-wrenching emotion which plagues co-victims who are not allowed to assist with the investigation and are longing for justice. We don't want to let our loved one down; we are compelled to fight for justice no matter how long it takes. As the process drags on, frustration grows. Many times, due to confidentiality, important conversations between co-victims and law enforcement are avoided, and this lack of communication can cause co-victims to feel neglected and disrespected, which often manifests itself in frustration, anger, and a loss of confidence in the investigators. Regular contact and truthfulness are two of the most important things survivors need from law enforcement. We need investigators to focus on routine communication of as much information as possible with sensitivity and without being misleading. Survivors’ perception that information is not being shared with them can result in them feeling they have been secondarily victimized. As the years pass, co-victims start wondering if their unsolved homicide could be reviewed by a fresh set of eyes, and they often look into getting their case to a cold case unit, only to find out that some jurisdictions don't even have a cold case unit. If there is a cold case unit in their jurisdiction, cases are evaluated and chosen according to a set of criteria. Co-victims whose cases seem to be continuously passed over for review become dismayed and even angry toward law enforcement. Anger can mobilize psychological resources for corrective action, but uncontrolled anger can negatively affect personal or social well-being.
Co-victims who put forth the effort to examine and understand the cold case process and various factors which must be dealt with during cold case investigations are able to put the process into perspective. They must understand that cold cases are among the most difficult and frustrating cases for both co-victims and law enforcement, and not every case is chosen to be investigated. It helps to review the following criteria checklist used by the National Sheriff’s Association, Justice Solutions and POMC:
Complete an application for cold case review. This application includes detailed information regarding agency reports, victimology, suspects/persons of interest, timeline, coroner, lab reports, investigation documents, weapon descriptions and media releases.
Co-victims should also be aware that closing rates can be more successful if investigators work only one or two cases at a time. At this point, if we find out that our case doesn’t qualify for review by a cold case unit, our only hope is that a thorough re-investigation will be done by homicide investigators.
If you have comments or questions about this article, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Pat Kuiper at 702-809-8654 to get your loved ones' name listed in our newsletter. Feel free to contact Pat if you would like to share your story.
Lucy Eilertson (1998)
Diana Moffitt (1987)
Donald James Brown (2007)
Kimberly Larson Reames (1983)
William (Bill) Mark Stratton (2005)
The Greater Portland Chapter is so proud of our member, Amanda Harris, for launching her official site for siblings. Amanda is offering the Website: www.unitingsiblings.com so that sibling co-victims of homicide have a place to go where they will be understood and supported. This site will include video, chat, and telephone conference via a secure and private interface. Amanda is paying for the expenses and will be delighted to be another support for sibling co-victims. Amanda can also be reached at: Amanda@unitingsiblings.com or 623-866-3189.
Amanda Harris is now ready to start her web site for siblings. The Portland Chapter is excited about the support and understanding this new group will be for the many often overlooked survivors.
Please find, enclosed, $10.00 for my annual subscription (three issues) for the Survivors Newsletter.
(Please consider adding an extra subscription fee to help defray the cost for someone who cannot afford it.)
CITY, STATE, ZIP____________________________________________________________________
MAIL TO: POMC, INC. ENCLOSED IS MY: CHECK _________________
100 E. EIGHTH STREET, B-41 MONEY ORDER__________
CINCINATTI, OH 54202
Download form here
PRINTED NAME OF LOVED ONE_________________________________________ (This will be engraved on the wall)
LOVED ONE’S BIRTHDATE____________________________ DEATH DATE____________________________
MEMBER/FRIEND’S NAME AND ADDRESS ____________________________________________________________
MEMBER/FRIEND’S PHONE NUMBER_____________________________ Do you want a Newsletter? Yes No
SIGNATURE FOR PERMISSION TO
ENGRAVE NAME AND SPELLING APPROVAL_________________________________________________________
Please submit one form for each loved one. Please make efforts with other family members/friends to ensure multiple requests are not received for the same name. When completed, please mail, fax, or e-mail to the following places: POMC, Mary Elledge, 14427 S. Forsythe Road, Oregon City, OR 97045 or fax 503-656-4420, or e-mail: email@example.com. If you have any questions, please call 503-656-8039.
Download form here
Please Complete and Return to Memorial Garden,
POMC 14427 S. Forsythe Rd Oregon City, OR 97045
100% of Contributions are Tax Deductible
Name:____________________________________________ phone: __________________________
Gift in Memory of: __________________________________________________________
Anonymous gift (will not be recognized at the Memorial Garden or in published materials)
Method of Payment:
Credit Card #_________________________________________Exp Date:___________
Name on Card _________________________________________________________________
Pledged Payment (to be completed by December 31, 2014)
Please add notes on payment timing _________________________________________
Thank you for helping to create the Oregon-Washington Public Memorial Garden. Your generosity will never be forgotten.
Download form here
Tacoma Violent Crime Victim Services Welcomes Homicide Survivors
Peer Support Group Meeting
If someone you love has been the victim of a homicide, we invite you to attend our monthly support group meeting. You will find acceptance, compassion and support.
Place: United Way Building
3rd FLOOR CONFERENCE ROOM
Date: 3rd Wednesday of Each Month!
Time: 7:30PM – 10:00PM
The United Way Building is located in Tacoma, at 1501 Pacific Avenue. This is the same building that the VCVS office is located in. It is next to Union Station on the north side. As you pass Union Station you will see the United Way Building. Parking is on the south side of the building. Please park your vehicle in an open space and enter the building’s front entrance and take the elevator to the third floor. The conference room is Suite 312. Please call Lew Cox for more information (253) 383-5254.
POMC'S Court Watch Program is designed to help families maneuver through the court system. Two of the most important aspects of Court Watch are the prevention of any re-victimization to family members, and the minimizing of the emotional pain of going through hearings and trials.
If you would like support from POMC during hearings and trials or want to offer assistance, call Pat Elmore at 503-312-5681 or Allen Tremain at 503-522- 0577.
Each month a number of newsletter are returned due to delivery problems. In addition to the initial postage, return postage is charged by the Postal Service. To minimize this expense, please write to the return address of this newsletter or contact Gayle if your address changes or you no longer wish to receive this publication.