Joey, now 42 years old 250 lbs. and 5’8” has always been a special member of our family. A loving and giving brother, uncle, cousin, nephew, son - who, with a shy smile and a strong hug, was all about family. We protected him because we knew, with his mental disability, life might be cruel. But on September 6, 2014, we were unable to protect him any longer. With his new car – a bright red, 4 door 2009 Ford Focus he drove to Washougal WA from his home in Portland, OR just to see how it would ride. He didn’t return home that Saturday and we called in a Missing Person’s report. He had contact with the Skamania County Police on Sunday, where they gave him gas, a jump start and pointed him in the right direction for home. He has not been seen since. He needs medication for several issues, but most importantly for paranoia and schizophrenia. The family is frantic, desperate and deeply worried as to his safety. The authorities are not getting leads and the media is not interested in broadcasting his story. We need to keep his name active until he comes home.
The Greater Portland Area Chapter is hosting our annual holiday meeting on December 1, 2014. We will start gathering at 7:00 P.M. with the meeting to start at 7:30 P.M. The night includes displays of our loved ones’ pictures, reading of their names, and music. We will light candles for each loved one as their name is read. Each family will take home a holiday ornament from our tree. Light food and refreshments will follow.
Since our picture board will be on display, we hope you will bring a picture of your loved one. If we do not have a picture and you want it to be shown in our video show, please e-mail one to Pat Schwiebert at : email@example.com or mail to Pat Schwiebert, 2116 N.E. 18th, Portland, OR by November 24, 2014.
Thank you so much and we look forward to seeing all of you.
One saying that is heard over and over during the holiday time is, “Christmas is the loneliest time of the year.” For co-victims of homicide, it is so true. In the early loss of our loved one, most of us would just wish the holidays would go away. Yet, they don’t. No matter how we try to avoid the holidays, we can’t. Holiday items are brought out earlier and earlier each year with stores crowding out Halloween items for Thanksgiving décor and Christmas items.
I will never forget the first Christmas without our son. It was like my world was being in a “fog”. How could we ever go on? A year before Rob’s murder, we took our family to Cabo San Lucas for a few weeks during Christmas vacation, but going there the next year without him made me feel like displaced. I was happy to have my family with me but, what about my son? We had all been there together and now each of us had an emptiness that would not go away. The Mexican families that we met and stayed with before were more than compassionate. They loved Rob, listened to our story and offered any help we might need. Family is everything to them. Of course, at that time we believed that all cases ended like the cases we saw on “Perry Mason”.
Worst of all, I did not understand about traumatic grief nor that it is like “being in hell”. I also didn’t know that “murder cannot be resolved”. It was in meeting others who had been there, listening to experts in the field, and reading everything I could on the subject that I began to understand that others have had to “get to a new normal” as well. Most important, I found out that I was not alone. In finding this out, I realized that we had not done anything wrong nor had my son. The evil belongs to the person(s) who committed the crime. Even if your loved ones’ life style is judged, the evil lies in the murderer(s). When a crime is not solved or when co-victims are not treated respectfully, the lives of the co-victims never get close to a “new normal”.
What are co-victims supposed to do when the holiday season is here? Like always, we can keep on remembering and honoring our loved one. Sadly though, the loss of our loved one has taken control of our lives. There is no way around it. We have to go through our grief. Even though it is the holiday season, we still must tell our stories. If we don’t, they will play over and over in our minds. It is important to find people who will listen and who do understand. We have a list of telephone friends available to talk. You might have friends or family members who are good listeners as well. We hope you are able to come to our monthly meetings and/or to Delores Cook’s meeting under “Survivors of Murder and Vehicular Homicide” on the front page of our newsletter. A professional in traumatic grief is also invaluable.
We do not have to let our loved ones go! We can have a good life and not leave them behind. Trying to leave them behind is what causes us so much grief. We can stay connected with our loved ones. We do this by remembering them in a deeper level. There is nothing wrong with talking to your loved one, though doing so in front of others may be perceived strangely. It is not a symptom of mental illness if we speak to our loved ones. If it gives up peace or healing, it works!
I once had a Baptist minister tell me, “The reason you are so sad is because you loved your son so much.” “That is it in a “nutshell”. What a compliment to your loved one. They surely must know how much they are loved and missed. The grief we have in their loss is also indicative of the depth of the love we shared. We can only imagine the love they must feel when they see our grief. Though they love us, they do not suffer loss and grief as we do. It would not be heaven if they did. For those who do not believe in an afterlife, you can find relief knowing that your loved one is remembered and honored.
It is also important to know that remembering has no time limit. In speaking for myself, I will never forget my son. I enjoy his memories even more as time goes by. At our chapter’s “National Day of Remembrance”, over five hundred names were read by Meg Garvin, Scott Flor, and Julie Landrum from Lewis and Clark Law College for Victims of Crimes. They did an outstanding job. Not one person complained that it took too much time. I had asked a few people if they thought we should read the names of people who we know for sure if their family or friends would not be attending. Not one person wanted to do that. The reading of our loved ones’ names on our POMC Memorial Wall is a great compliment to all of the people whose names are on it and for all of the people who helped us finance and support the building of it. It was truly a group effort and a way to show our love.
What about honoring our loved ones? The POMC Memorial Wall is a great start with one panel filled and fund raising beginning for another wall. It is visited routinely by family and friends. We hope that everyone will use it for honoring special days in their loved one’s life. Other ways of honoring our loved ones are:
. A memorial garden in your own yard
. Lighting a candle in your home/church
. Putting an ad in your newspaper
. Praying for/having mass said for them
. Giving gifts to others in their name
. Creating a scholarship in their name
. Having pictures of them
. Speaking about them
. Remembering them by helping others
Remembering and honoring our loved ones keeps them closer to us. We do not have to ever stop missing them or grieving for them. We all need to allow ourselves time to be sad, cry, get angry, tell our sad stories, take time off, or be by ourselves. Holidays are especially important. Allow yourself time this holiday to comfort you.
Let it be the time that you find how you can keep your loved ones close to your heart without breaking it. Also, believe us, “old timers”, when we say that dreading the holiday is worse than the actual holiday. Anticipation so many times is worse than what we will go through.
Finally, at our November meeting, I asked permission from attendees to share what does/does not help them during the holidays. The following are their comments and with their permission I used their names:
Joy Duncan tries to keep her holiday traditions. It is also important for her to keep Robby’s memory alive. She uses the comfort of her family to help her through her grief.
Bob Pfeifer’s holidays are difficult since the murder of his son. Holidays use to be a big part of his life. For years, it was too painful to think of celebrating. This year he plans on having people at his home again as he did before.
Rick Vaughn and his wife used to decorate their whole house (inside and out) for the holidays even after their daughter was murdered. It was continued until the passing of his wife. He now will put one tree up and spend time with his married daughter, her family, and granddaughter.
Tara and Jim Garrett will celebrate their holiday together with their child, and others. With a sentencing coming up for the murderer of her sister, it is very trying for them. At the Nov. meeting, her husband reached out to others who needed a place to go for Thanksgiving.
The man who murdered Kent Hong’s wife and son passed away while waiting to be tried. Losing both a wife and son has been especially hard to deal with. Kent and his son will spend the holiday together.
Gayle Moffitt shared a special holiday remembrance of her daughter. She went outside in the snow and made a “snow angel” in memory of Diana. It brought happy memories to all. She will spend these holidays with family and friends.
Susan Scharen is newly bereaved. Her son was murdered on April 6, 2014. This will be the first Christmas without seeing Todd, her son, for the holidays. Our thoughts will be with her.
I will be having a breakfast with family at our daughters in the morning with about 24 people and in the evening we will be having the same people over for dinner at our house. Rob will be with us in spirit and time has helped soften our pain. Yet, love and his memories will always be with us.
On behalf of the Greater Portland Chapter, I wish all of you a peaceful holiday season and please know we are here for you in any way possible.
All my love— Mary Elledge
The Greater Portland Area Chapter would like to challenge all of the POMC Chapters to see who can get the most members to attend the 2015 POMC National Conference in Las Vegas on July 30 to August 2. National Office is offering a $150.00 gift certificate to the chapter who has the most members in attendance. With the conference in Las Vegas, flights are less expensive than most other destinations.
We will be staying at the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa. The resort has given us a special price of $99.00 per night. The rooms are deluxe with wonderful views and tech amenities. There is only a $25.00 fee each way to the airport. If you are planning to attend, we recommend that you make reservations. The number at the hotel is 702-869-777. Please ask for group reservations for Parents Of Murdered Children. This is important because in order to get the special price for your room, you must mention POMC. If you put your reservation on your credit card, you have 24 hours before your room is available to cancel and get your deposit refunded. There will be only so many rooms available.
Registrations are $240.00 which includes meals. There will be a hospitality room and workshops that will provide outstanding presenters to provide the latest in help and information for professional and co-victims of homicide. There also will be speakers and entertainment.
Chapters will be able to reserve tables for meals so it will also be a wonderful time for the larger chapters to see members they might not have seen for years. It is an opportunity to be with people who understand and a chance to learn what other states and the justice system are doing for co-victims of homicide.
The Marriott is off the strip so it will be a peaceful place to also relax. There are shuttles for those who will like to go the Los Vegas Strip, malls, museums, Hoover Dam, and many other attractions. Of course, shopping is readily available. Your conference can also be a vacation time. We are given the special room price for three days before and three days after the conference.
The conference committee is working hard to make this 2015 conference a place that fits the needs and supports all who attend. It should be a positive experience for all. Look for you there……..
The Greater Portland Area Chapter is sponsoring the Memorial Night on Friday. We are hoping to do this as a team and make it a night for all to remember. We look forward for any help from members in the Portland Chapter who are planning to attend. It will be so good for all of us to be together. It is also a chance for Oregon and Washington members to meet their fellow Oregon and Washington POMC members besides all of the other chapter members. I personally have never met such wonderful members in my entire life.
Funding for our new POMC Oregon and Washington Memorial Wall will officially begin on January 1, 2015. People have already been generous with donations and we are so thankful. We will also start listing new names that will be printed on the new wall in the January newsletter. We ask that you call or e-mail us if you do not see your name in the January newsletter if it is not already on the wall.
We are hoping to build a two-sided wall that will hold close to 1,000 names. If any of our members work at a company or know of anyone who would like to donate, please let us know. We are a non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible.
The Greater Portland Area Chapter has been very excited to hear from so many of our members who are planning to go to the 2015 National POMC Conference in Las Vegas on July 30 to August 2. One of the members who called had not been to one in 20 years. This is a perfect time for Oregon and Washington because flights are less expensive to Las Vegas than almost any other state. We will be staying at the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa. The resort has given us a special price of $99.00 per night. The rooms are deluxe with wonderful views and tech amenities. There is a $25.00 fee each way from the airport.
Meals will be included in the registration price and the Portland Chapter will be reserving tables so we can sit together. Our chapter is also going to be responsible for helping put on the Memorial Friday night. It will be wonderful to have a large representation from Oregon and Washington. In keeping up with the other National Conferences, we hope that it will be a special memorial for all who attend.
We will be keeping you up dated each month. Please let us know whenever you might find out that you are able to attend. We want to have plenty of table space. You can call 503-656-8039 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write POMC, 14427 S. Forsythe Road, Oregon City, OR 97045.
(The Portland Chapter would like to thank Carolyn Thomas for her kind words and well thought out poem. They are expressive and have captured the grief and pain parents feel when a child is murdered. Thank you so much Carolyn. Our hearts go out to you and we appreciate you as well.)
Dear Mary, Maryalice and all,
Thank you so much for all you do to ease the burden of pain, and despair we all suffer after a child’s life has been stolen from us. Thank you for reaching out year after year with letters, articles, cards and poetry.
Enclosed are copies of a few thought I’ve recorded after the death of our son Jed in October of 2001. If these thoughts could help anyone else, feel free to share.
Respectfully, Carolyn Thomas
My feet will not
I am weightless
Hold me fast
. sliced through
.seared knife cut
Where am I?
Where is my form?
Can I reform?
I am not—can not.
My son is dead.
4 months after our son Jed’s Murder—Feb. 2002
(Thank you so much, Carolyn.
Your words are powerful.
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: email@example.com 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)
MARYALICE G. AND RICH U.
GWEN J. K.
THE GREATER PORTLAND CHAPTER IS NOW FUNDING FOR THE NEW WALL FOR OUR MEMORIAL GARDEN. WE APPRECIATE ANY AMOUNT OF HELP ANYONE CAN DO. AFTER THE NEXT NAMES ARE ADDED, WE WILL HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE NEW WALL IS COMPLETED TO ADD NEW NAMES. THE NEW WALL SHOULD GIVE US MANY YEARS TO ADD ADDITIONAL NAMES. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT. WE APPRECIATE ANY HELP WE RECEIVE. DONATIONS CAN BE SENT TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS: POMC, 14427 S. FORSYTHE RD. OREGON CITY, OR 97045.
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.
We are continuing to accept donations for our Memorial Garden and are very close to reaching our goal. Thank you to all that have already donated and to those that have not, please consider making your donation today. Please send your tax deductible donations to:
Parents Of Murdered Children
14427 S. Forsythe Rd.
Oregon City, OR 97045
If you have questions, please contact Mary Elledge at (503) 656-8039.
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 spelling will be used)
MEMBER/FRIEND’S NAME AND ADDRESS _________________________________________________
MEMBER OR FRIEND’S PHONE NUMBER __________________________________________________
(Required to verify order)
SIGNATURE FOR PERMISSION TO ________________________________________________________
ENGRAVE NAME AND SPELLING APPROVAL
Please submit one form for each loved one. Please make efforts to confer with other family members/friends to ensure multiple requests are not received for the same loved one. When completed, please mail to:
POMC, 14427 S. Forsythe Rd., Oregon City, OR 97045. The names will then be submitted for engraving on the Memorial Wall at the Mountain View Cemetery and Park. If you have 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
Turning pictures and home movies into a unique video you will treasure for a lifetime.
Tina Tanner 541-510-3075
Tana Tanner 541-935-2023
PO Box 343, Elmira, OR 97437
(Tana Tanner is a member of POMC. Prices are very reasonable for POMC members.)
We would like to get to know your loved one and gain and understanding of their lives, achievements, accomplishments, goals, and personalities. We’d like to celebrate the LIFE of our loved ones rather than remain in the pain of their death. If you would like to share a unique story about your loved one, please submit a short (1 page) letter telling us about them. Some possible ideas to include are:
Their favorite food, movie, book, and why
Their most successful accomplishment
A funny childhood story/experience
Their most exciting vacation
A unique talent
Their most prized possession
Their favorite school subject or teacher
Their educational/professional goals
A personal goal they planned to fulfill
An obstacle they overcame
A school play they may have performed in
Their favorite season/holiday
Please include your contact information as well as their full name and birth date. Thank you.
Please also include a picture of your loved one, if possible. Please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee that your photograph will be returned to you.
Please mail submissions to:
Portland Area Chapter
Parents Of Murdered Children
And Other Survivors Of Homicide Victims
14427 S. Forsythe Road
Oregon City, OR 97045
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 newsletters 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 the newsletter or contact Erin at Hondaerin2@aol.com if your address changes or you no longer wish to receive this publication.