CINCINNATI – Alexandrea Thompson would have been 10 years old Monday.
But she was shot to death during a home invasion in January. Despite community leaders' pleas for information leading to the shooter, no one has come forward.
They blame it on the "no-snitch" mentality and they say it could be hindering the police investigation.
"It’s intolerable when you have innocent kids ... being killed," said Rev. Alvin Scales.
This isn't a new problem. In 2015, then-Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell decried the same fear of being perceived as a "snitch" as the reason that a homicide investigation in Bond Hill had run into a wall.
As convicted murderer Shannon Keys wrote in Toledo newspaper The Blade, circumstance and history have led some communities to view cooperation with police as a betrayal of one's friends, family and neighbors. A person who links a crime to its perpetrator can be perceived as sneaky rather than right-minded and could even become a target of retaliation.
Fear of both social ostracism and physical punishment can keep knowledgeable witnesses quiet in cases such as Alexandrea's.
A peace march and a balloon release were held in Alexandrea’s honor Monday at Mount Auburn International Academy, where she went to school.
“It's given everybody a chance to feel her," said Alexandrea’s aunt, Aja Bryant. “It means a lot 'cause this is something that Sissy would do if, you know, she was here."
Alexandrea’s family and the police are still looking for answers into who killed her and wounded her father.
“It's very important that we get this case solved,” said Rev. Alvin Scales. He said someone knows something about what happened.
“We want people to constantly remember this young lady and what her family is going through right now,” said Pastor Peterson Mingo.
Mingo, a community outreach advocate, spoke to city council’s law and public safety committee Monday.
“People need to be able to come forward. Somebody knows something and we don't know whether it is because of fear or cause of their involvement that they don't want to come forward," he said.
Mingo is working with Stan Ross and the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence to find ways to get people to come forward.
“Our responsibility is to watch out for each other,” Ross said. “If you see something, say something and somebody will do something"
Ross says building relationships in the community is key.
Both he and Mingo are confident Alexandrea’s case – and others - can be solved If someone speaks up.
”This is something that we have to all be concerned about and come together as one and just point toward.” Mingo said.
Community outreach advocates will be flexing their hours during the summer months to help with their efforts.
If you have information, call Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.