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Cincinnati mother hopes to sway silent witnesses 30 years after son's murder

Floyd Davis
Posted at 6:59 PM, Mar 25, 2022

CINCINNATI — The 17th homicide in less than three months set off a mom fed up with witness intimidation in Cincinnati.

"Every time you hear someone has been murdered unduly, you think about that parent," Gabrielle Yisreal said. "(Getting closure) consumes you."

Floyd Davis, 23, was killed March 27, 1992. Almost 30 years later, his case is cold and his mother, Yisreal, is determined to get tips for police.

"Mothers have a sense of something, but you just don't know what," Yisreal said. "I just remember sitting on the side of the bed like, what is wrong? And the phone just started ringing off the hook and the first call I got was Floyd's been killed. I hung up. No way. Then, when we got to University (of Cincinnati Medical Center), it was just so many people in the waiting area (saying) that's his mother. I just hit the floor."

Years of unsolved murders in every police district have a theme that Yisreal and advocates want to end: witnesses avoiding police.

"Retaliation and fear, that's real," said Karen Rumsey, the Cincinnati Police Department's witness advocacy and health program manager.

Of the 17 homicides WCPO tracked so far this year, nine have no arrests. Yisreal said she knows some of the pain parents of victims in those cases feel.

"As (Floyd's) mother, I'm never going to stop as long as I have breath to breathe I have to continue this (fight) in finding out what happened to Floyd and who killed him," Yisreal said.

Davis was no angel, his mom said. She said he got into drug dealing in the Marines and got kicked out for smoking marijuana. Also, Davis faced a felony indictment at the time of his murder.

Still, what happened after his death haunts Yisreal every day.

"I walked the hood," she said. "I walked places, talked to people I would never talk to. All I kept hearing was let it go. Leave it alone. Leave it alone? Never. It was demeaning, broke my heart. These were people I went to, we didn't travel in the same circles, (whom) I thought would give me some answers because they knew Floyd and his father Big Floyd. I would leave work, go to the homicide squad. I knew they were overwhelmed but they did sit down with me. But then you're right back to square one. Nothing. Zero. That's why I'm doing this today."

Yisreal said she wants to sway witnesses to speak up about her son's murder and other cases.

"May I ask these young kids to stop? Stop it," Yisreal said. "Somebody disrespecting you and you kill them? You just kill somebody just to kill and then you leave others here to deal with what you brought to them for the rest of their life. Even though your ass may be in jail, they have to deal with it. It's your parents, your loved ones, your friends. Why? Stop. It's selfish."

Cincinnati Police welcome any tips on the Davis case and any other unsolved murder through CrimeStoppers. Anyone with helpful information should call 513-352-3040.

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