Who are these co-victims of homicide? What can we do for them? What can they do for themselves? First of all, there are no perfect answers. Second, we are all individuals. Third, each case is so different from one another and so are the players. Never the less, there are important traits that bind us to join with one another to find comfort, understanding, answers, strength, and hope. Being alone without support is a “road to disaster.” Yet, there is information and facts that can make us understand each other and ourselves. To start, we must realize that as individuals we are unique.
It is important to remember that all of us have our own DNA. We come into this world different the moment we are born. Scientists have found in their research that if you compare the DNA in any two genomes in the population they are 99.9 percent identical. DNA, which consists of two strands of chemical compounds, called nucleotides, linked together to form a ladder that has been twisted into the shape of a winding staircase, carries the individual blueprint for every creature on the planet. All humans share 99.9 of the same nucleotides, a remarkable number that makes it hard to figure out why we are all very different individuals according to Lee Dye, a former science writer. The reason we are not more like each other is that we inherit a different number of the same copy. The researchers studied 50 individuals and fund out that, on an average, each person had 12 large-scale copy variations. Dye compared this to imagine climbing a ladder with 12 missing rungs and the researchers think those changes, may help explain a lot about who we are.
“One study shows that some people may have 10 copies of this gene while others may have as much as 24 copies of the same gene,” says Lee. Of course, this may make people think that we are just a bunch of programed robots. However, according to Scherer, a geneticists and biologists, our environment can influence us more than genetic traits. Nutritional changes can make a difference in how we turn out so that even can play a part in how we think or act.
Research also found out that they still do not understand about behavioral differences. Scherer thinks that now both genetic and environmental can make us different. I guess the bottom line is that even experts may think differently. No wonder we have a hard time trying to help co-victims reach the same understanding or move in the same direction. It breaks down to that we each have to understand that we are not going to react the same way dealing with one of the worst crises we might ever have to face, the murder of a loved one. (Sorry about the quick study on genetics!)
Though this information is scientific, I hope that it helps us realize there is no wrong way or right way to help each of us. What works for one of us may not for another. Where we can help is to understand that each of us comes from a different place and each of us is affected differently.
This July 13, 2017, will be thirty-one years since my son was murdered. I have talked to hundreds of people. We all need to tell our story and have someone listen to us. We all need to tell or write it down so we can release it. Otherwise, it plays over and over in our minds. Without this, we cannot keep it from leaving us in a constant state of agitation. I know you must get tired of hearing this. Grief is unique to the individual. The murderer should be the one who pays for the murder of our loved one. He or she needs to be where they will not hurt anyone else. Unsolved crimes keep a person from moving forward. Sadly, nothing in life prepares us for this tragedy. This is why we have POMC and specialists who work to help co-victims of homicide.
When someone is murdered, those left behind must be allowed to grieve in any manner that they wish and as long as they want. Crying is helpful and important to co-victims of homicide. It releases tensions and is a healthy expression of grief. There is no time limit. This applies to both men and women. Talking about our loved one is also most healing. Please do not listen to people who say it is time to move forward. The co-victim will know when it is time. It is different for every individual. Remember are DNA!
Like all people whose loved one died, we need to be able to talk about them. Hearing ourselves talk, bring us back to reality. We need to say the good things about our loved ones as well as things we did not like about what they did. We all have had good times and bad times in our lives. Families also need to keep their loved one as part of their family. It may make others feel uncomfortable but co-victims need to share past experiences with their loved ones. It only makes us feel worse if we feel we are not allowed to mention them or tell happy or even sad stories that play in our minds. Who cares if we cry! It is good for us to cry. Tears we shed after a loss have a different chemical makeup than tears of joy.
Survivors should be given help with funeral arrangements if needed. There are times that they cannot even think on how to get help. It is important they know how to get help from victims’ assistance so that a family may ask for financial help if they have not been told before. This can be dreadful for a family who has no way to pay for funeral arrangements. There are also times when there is not enough evidence to prove a loved one has been murdered. This may keep them for getting financial help until there is evidence of a murder.
If a murder takes place in the home of the loved one, there will be funds available to help from the National Office of Victims of Crimes. It is important for co-victims to talk with the county their crime took place. Each county has victims’ assistance. Co-victims also need their rights provided for them. Please have them call us at POMC if they need help. District attorneys’ offices have resources for
survivors of homicide to call if someone does not call them. Part of getting back to a “new normal” is when we help others. This can take time because some co-victims can barely make it the first few years. They will need help from us who are able to help. This, in turn, continues to help us because it is healing when we help others. Telling our stories and helping others is like a formula for helping us heal.
Days like birthdays, the holidays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, anniversaries, and special events can trigger grief in all co-victims of homicide. It helps for all of us to talk about it. Meetings and phone calls with people who understand helps. No one who loses a loves one in anyway wants to take this person out of his or her life. Remembering them keeps them close to our hearts. Helping others helps us heal.
The best gift we can give to other co-victims ourselves is hope. There is hope are we would not be here now. When we smile, laugh, go somewhere, help others, enjoy the sun, go out to eat, see a movie, visit with someone, and feel compassion, there is hope. Hope is contagious. We perpetuate it when we smile at someone who looks sad. When we reach out to help someone who needs a door opened, a hand to help him or her carry something, or any random act of kindness, we inspire hope. At church this last Sunday, I whispered in the ear of an elderly woman a “Happy Mother’s Day.” She reached for my hand and kissed it saying, “All of my children live away from me. Thank you, so much.” It helped make my day! I think it helped her as well. It was such a little thing.
All my love, Mary Elledge
The local community and surrounding areas are invited to Mountain View Cemetery’s Service on May 29, 2017 at 10:00 am. Mt. View Cemetery is located at 500 Hilda St, Oregon City, OR 97045.
This annual event will feature a guest speaker, a 21-gun salute and other military honors and floral tributes, Oregon City High School Junior ROTC, with music provided by Gardiner Middle School and Grand View Baptist Church bands.
The Greater Portland POMC Chapter will be there with information on POMC and news on getting ready to build our second Memorial Wall. We hope that many of our POMC members will be able to attend. We will also be bringing flowers to present with other groups honoring our military heroes. This is also a chance to show our appreciation to the community and Mt. View Cemetery for all they do for POMC.
On behalf of the Greater Portland Chapter, I would like to thank the National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) and fellow POMC members for the wonderful time we all had at the “TWIST YOGA FUND RAISER” for NCVLI under the leadership of Meg Garvin and her outstanding staff. Parents of Murdered Children who attended were: Matt McCabe, Joy Duncan, Bob Pfeifer, Mary Elledge, Karen Cornwall, Susan Scharen, Pat Kuiper, Delores Cook and Lori Williams. It was a wonderful opportunity also to speak personally with THE staff from NCVLI.
NCVLI is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit legal education and advocacy organization whose mission is to actively promote balance and fairness in the justice system through crime victim centered legal advocacy, education, and resource sharing. They might be better known to POMC members by the outstanding job they do every year at our “National Day of Remembrance.” They are also the outstanding organization that reads the name of every one of our loved ones engraved on our POMC Memorial Wall. Their staff comes every year and does this sincerely from the bottom of their hearts. It is a labor of love for them. Not only are they respectful, they go out of their way to pronounce each name correctly.
Some of NCVLI‘s impact and expertise experience from their article, “About Us” is as follows:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: email@example.com 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.
Aisha Kathleen Collins
Amber Rhiannon Adams
Austin Joe Hrynko
Braylon Michael Duguay
Cheritee Yvonne Vance
Cheryl Elizabeth Hart
Christopher James Loftus
Coltin Jacob Salsbury
Craig C. Moritz Jr.
Dale Archie Brown
David G. Swapp Jr.
Dean A. Kuntz
Dean Anthony Kuntz
Devan Chanel Schmidt
Douglas Oliver Benton
Glen Edward Drysdale
Harold Sloan Blanchard
Jason Dale Johnson
Jason Michael Ell
Jason Scott Williams
Jayme Sue Austin
Jessica Lynn Clark
Jodi Marie Brewer
Joseph Ben Peterson
Julio Cesar Marquez Jr.
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 Juan Castillo
Molly Irene McCarter
Nicolas Lamont Lawson
Nicolette Naomi “Nikki” Elias
Paul W. Miller
Rachelle “Shelly” Law
Randall Leo Gettman
Raymond Lee Meyers
Rebekah “Becky” Selegue Johnson
Ryan Robert Jones
Sahara Grace Dwight
Steve Leroy Johnson
Thomas James Fite
William Roland Hatch III
Wendy Kim Kimball
Savannah Danielle Munden
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org, call 505-656-8039, or mail us at POMC, 14427 S. Forsythe Rd., Oregon City, OR 97045.)
PAT AND KEITH E.
LELAND AND HEATHER C.
LEE AND DELORES C.
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: 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)
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.