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National Crime Victims' Rights Week can be tough reminder for victims' families

Posted at 5:41 PM, Apr 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-09 18:27:24-04

CINCINNATI -- For people like Amie Thompson, living with the pain of loss doesn't get any easier.

Her brother was killed in one of Cincinnati's unsolved homicides. So was Serina Knight's son.

"It's the worst when you send you child to school and kiss them goodnight and never know tomorrow is not going to be day that happens," Knight said.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week is April 8 to 14. It's meant to empower crime victims and their families, but it can also be a tough reminder. 

Cincinnati police and victim advocacy groups work together to ease the harsh reality when a loved one is lost to violence.

Hope Dudley lost her son Daniel, who was known as Chaz. Someone killed him in a drive-by shooting 11 years ago as he rode in a car in Hartwell. The 26-year-old father of five was not the intended victim, police said.

She holds onto hope through UCanSpeakForMe, an organization she founded that's received acclaim from former President Barack Obama, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Tri-State police chiefs and sheriffs – even the rank and file officers. 

Her organization puts photos of unsolved homicide victims onto playing cards, so that someone might recognize them and come forward with information.

Hundreds of people whose sons, daughters, brothers and sisters have been killed in unsolved homicides know Dudley for her work.

"National Crime Victims' Rights Week, for me, is bringing information to families about their loved ones' cases," Dudley said.

No matter how old the case, Cincinnati police also make it a priority to provide support for victims and their families, too.

"No amount of anything will bring a person's loved one back, but at least letting them know who did this to their loved one -- there's no words for how important that is," said Karen Rumsey, a police witness advocate for the Cincinnati Police Department.

That starts with support groups and therapy, and witness protection like the Cincinnati Citizens Protect Our Witnesses, or CCROW, program.

"We're encouraged by the number of people that have began to come forward, but we know there's more and no case is too old to ever be solved," Rumsey said.

For Thompson, the mission is one word: justice. And she won't give up until her last breath.

"I want to remember Brian as my baby brother who I took care of and wiped his boogers and chased him around and stuff -- not my brother that got killed," she said.