I will never forget the first words of wisdom I could relate too after the murder of my son. It was a note that was sent to me from a Baptist minister. A friend of ours’ whose son had died in a car accident a year before Rob’s murder had asked his minister to send a note to us that might help. What he said was so simple. He wrote, “The reason you are in so much pain is that you loved your son so much.” Though simple, it truly said it all. We loved our son, Rob, more than we could put into words. We loved him the moment we saw him after he was born. In fact, we loved him before he was born. We have three daughters we loved equally and our pain would have been as great no matter what child was taken so cruelly from us. The grief we feel from losing a loved one is beyond words and the same loss caused by a murder compounds the grief due to the “baggage” murder carries.
At that time, we also did not understand the difference one suffers when a loved one is murdered. It compounds the pain and grief because the event is unbelievable, unexpected, tragic, a crime, a loss that cannot be resolved and there is no closure. Also, the justice system can last a life time. It has been thirty years in our case, and we are still revisiting our son’s case with two of the murderers still being in prison. We can testify before the Parole Board on how our life was affected since the murder of our son at the murders’ release hearings.
Carrie Freitag wrote in her book, “Aftermath, In the Wake of Murder”:
“Although the struggle with grief is part of every death, murder is darker than death, and so is the road to surviving and healing in the aftermath. Murder devours innocent lives with a cruelty that is absent of reason, absent of values, and absent of compassion. Murder breaks all the sacred rules, knows no fairness, and can never be undone or compensated. It provokes fear and rage, and tempts us to battle it on its terms instead of ours. Murder drives even the most loving and compassionate people to the edge of that fine line that separates our respect for life from our violent potentials. The aftermath of murder
takes us straight through hell where we stand eye to eye with the evil that hides behind human faces, and what we do in the face of that evil defines what lies behind our own face. The aftermath of murder is nothing less than a full-blown emotional and spiritual struggle.”
This is probably one of the most profound statements that fits the “aftermath of homicide” I have ever read. Contributing author, Margaret Kerouac, and Carrie have written this book so co-victims realize that they are not losing their minds and are understood. It provides them with the information they need to reach a “new normal”. It also helps to let others know that this journey really is a trip to hell and hopefully back. The Greater Portland Area Chapter of POMC engraved this writing on the back of our memorial wall in Oregon City at Mt. View Cemetery. We hope that it will also educate those who come to see our beautiful memorial and the names of our loved ones engraved forever in granite as they are remembered forever in our hearts.
In building our wall, it was important for us to in some way show that love lasts forever. I did hospice work before Rob’s murder and a few years after his murder. It was comforting if we are able to tell loved ones that we love them before they died. It was also comforting to know that we were keeping them safe and as free from pain as possible. This does not happen in a homicide. Sometimes, our loved ones bodies are never found. This is actually what prompted us to build a wall in the beginning. We had members who never have found their loved ones bodies. Yet, there was evidence they were murdered.
They had no place to pay respect or go to for comfort. Our Parents Of Murdered Children Memorial gives them a place to go to honor their loved ones’ memory. In fact, for many it is a place that lets us know we are not alone in our grief. This is where “love” comes in. Our love has never changed. It is forever and all of us pay a big price for loving. Love is not negotiable. But, the price we pay for love is only painful when we think that we have lost it. The murderers took their lives. Yet, they can never take away the love our loved ones gave us or the love we have for our loved ones.
Losing a loved one to homicide take so much work. There is so much we must go through. Without support and love from others, we would never make it. What I have seen is that our love for our loved ones that have been murdered never fades. I even believe it makes us better people because we have seen and heard the worst of the worse. We share with people who have no one to share their grief with. We form a special love for our fellow members because we share their loss and trust them.
Trusting a person is the start of loving that person. So many of our members find comfort in the friends and family that have stayed by them during and after the murder of their loved one or loved ones. At a Parents of Murdered Children meetings, there is so much love and comfort from members. It is comforting and safe to tell our members that we love each other. Because we do! Love comes from trusting. POMC friends understand and they are trusted.
With Valentine Day coming on February 14th, it would be a great time for members who come to meetings or for those who are not able to come to bring or send a Valentines card to their loved one or to the group as a whole. We will bring or send the cards to the meeting and we will leave them out for others to look at. If you want your card to be private, please write it on the outside of the envelope. If you are coming to the meeting, please bring a card with your loved one’s name or one for the group if you would like. For those who want to mail a card, please mail it to 14427 S. Forsythe Rd., Oregon City, OR 97045. This is not required and only if you want to take part. After the meeting, I will bring the cards to our memorial and bury the ashes from them on the memorial grounds. I wish I could bury the cards but, there would be a chance they could be dug up. The ashes will forever remain in the ground. We will also put some flowers out for all of our loved ones from our chapter on Valentine’s Day at our memorial wall.
We all know that love is an important part of living. Love is critical to our minds and body. Experts believe that love is the best antidepressant one can have. When a loved one is murdered, we never stop loving them. I believe that they never stop loving us as well.
All my love, Mary Elledge
WORDS ALONE CAN NEVER EXPRESS THE LOVE AND GRATITUDE TO ALL WHO HAVE DONATED AND SUPPORTED OUR POMC MEMORIAL WALL. WE ARE GETTING CLOSER TO OUR GOAL AND HOPE TO GET STARTED SOON. WE ARE SO GRATEFUL! WE ALSO WANT TO THANK MEMBERS WHO DONATE TO OUR “GIFTS OF REMEMBRANCE” AS WELL. IT TAKES ALL OF US TO RUN OUR CHAPTER. WE APPRECIATE THE LOVE AND SUPPORT ALSO FROM OUR MEMBERS. EVERYONE IS IMPORTANT TO OUR SUCCESS.
THE GREATER PORTLAND POMC BOARD
The time has come around again;
To celebrate Krystle Rose’s birthday,
Because love has no end.
We will also be remembering all
Of our loved ones who were
So cruelly taken away;
We know though that
In our hearts they will always stay.
Krystle was just seventeen,
When she was stolen from us;
Her family worked so hard to find her for a year
And the kindness others showed was
More than just a plus.
Krystle was here for such a short time;
Taking her life from all of us,
Is the worst type of crime.
This charming young lady loved music so much;
When we hear her favorite songs play.
It is as if their beauty was from her touch.
Music was important to Krystle and
She liked the band “Korn”;
She was so fun to be around:
She would never have wanted us to morn.
Today, we honor her life that was cut so short;
But, it is her love and kindness
Though that we support.
I bet Krystle is watching from heaven above;
She now represents nothing but love.
It is so thinkable that Krystle is smiling down
On all of us here:
She has probably gotten our loved ones’
Together so we can feel them near!
Please know Krystle, we are all here for you;
We all know that you brought or loved ones too.
For our “Holiday Memorial on December 5th, if we do not have a picture of your loved one already, please mail or e-mail it to: Pat Schwiebert at 2116 N. E. 18th Street, Portland . OR 97212. Her e-mail is: email@example.com. Pat needs the pictures as soon as possible so she can include them in our slide show. Your loved one’s name will be read out loud even if we do not have a picture on our board.
We are so grateful to Pat and her family at “The Peace House”, where we hold our meetings. They spend hours decorating their home so it is beautiful for our holiday memorial. For many, this time is the most special day they have during the holiday season since the murder of their loved one. It is a safe place to be.
On behalf of the Greater Portland Area Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, I would like to express our deepest appreciation to all of the generous people who have donated to the building of our addition memorial wall. We have a beautiful POMC Memorial now and families and friends from all over Oregon and Washington come to honor the memory of their loved ones who were so brutally taken from them. Sadly to say, our wall is completely filled. We have 500 names engraved on it.
What we are planning to do when we have enough funds is to build an additional wall that will hold 1000 more names. We have so many families who are waiting to add their loved ones’ name. It means so much to them because one of our greatest fears as a co-victims of homicide is that our loved one will not be remembered. They did not get to live the life they were suppose to. Some of the names on our wall belong to little babies to any age of adult. As co-victims, we have all suffered the same loss, the loss of a loved one to homicide. Our lives were completely changed. Homicide cannot be resolved.
What is also important is that we also educate the public when people come to see our wall. Murder can happen to any family. If people see the amount of people who are murdered, they will realize how important protection of society truly is. We need a justice system that works and laws for the protection of society. At POMC, we wish that people would never need our services. Sadly to say, we are getting more calls each day.
Co-victims of homicide need the peace and tranquility we are able to achieve at our POMC Memorial Wall. We are surrounded by beautiful sequoia trees, running water from the memorial, flowers, verses engraved on the stones that stand tall by the wall and a serenity that gives them hope and a place to gather and see that they are not alone.
We again ask for your help and thank those who have been so generous to our cause. If you would like to help, please go to the website of “Go Fund Me” and look under “POMC Memorial Wall”. All donations are appreciated and tax deductible. So many of our members are waiting to add their loved one’s name to the wall. Oregon has the largest POMC Memorial in the United States. Thank you for your help.
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.
Amber Rhiannon Adams
Austin Joe Hrynko
Braylon Michael Duguay
Cheritee Yvonne Vance
Christopher James Loftus
Colton Jacob Salsbury
Craig C. Moritz Jr.
Dale Archie Brown
David G. Swapp Jr.
Dean A. Kuntz
Devan Chanel Schmidt
Douglas Olive Benton
Glen Edward Drysdale
Harold Sloan Blanchard
Jason Dale Johnson
Jason Michael Ell
Jason Scott Williams
Jayme Sue Austin
Jeffery Ray Brown
Jessica Lynn Clark
Jodi Marie Brewer
Julio Cesar Marquev
Kathleen Lois Bauman
Kayla Ann Hendrickson
Kaylee Anne Sawyer
Keith Ardell Benefield
Kenneth Dylan Lambert
Krystal Jaye Mitchell
Kyle William Peckham
Laura Jean Bohlen
London Grey McCabe
Marcos J. Castillo
Molly Irene McCarter
Nicolas Lamont Lawson
Nicolette Naomi “Nikki” Elias
Paul W. Miller
Rachelle “Shelly” Law
Randall Lee Gettman
Rebekah “Becky” Selegue Johnson
Ryan Robert Jones
Sahara Grace Dwight
Steve Leroy Johnson
William Roland 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.)
JOHN S. AND MARLENE Y.
LAW OFFICE OF JOSH LAMBORN (ESTATE OF COLTIN JACOB SALISBURY)
RENA AND DANIEL S.
ESTATE OF DEAN ANTHONY KUNTZ
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.
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.