Holidays mean pain, loss for these families

Posted at 6:13 PM, Nov 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-26 18:13:34-05

CINCINNATI -- For some, the holidays are a painful reminder of recent-- and not so recent -- loss.

One group, called UCanSpeakForMe, used the Thanksgiving holiday as an opportunity to raise awareness for unsolved homicides in Cincinnati.

On Thursday, the group worked to distribute fliers for unsolved homicides in Cincinnati Police District 5 in College Hill. Currently, 33 homicides in CPD District 5's jurisdiction are still unsolved.

The distributed fliers and matching posters are part of UCanSpeakForMe's "One Empty Chair" campaign, which parallels the holidays with the fact that some area families will have an empty chair at their table as a result of violent crime.

Anita Anderson took part in Thursday's campaign in memory of her son, Jerrod, who was killed seven years ago.

"Things haven't been the same, it's not the same," Anderson said. "I haven't heard anything, nobody's saying anything. (The killer) is still walking around, still breathing, and their families still get a chance to love them. And that's hard, real hard."

Hope Dudley also lost her son to violent crime; he was killed in 2007. Dudley helped organize the Thanksgiving campaign in College Hill.

"Until it happens to you, you don't understand having an empty chair at Thanksgiving," she said. "These families need your support in solving our cases. Please take a poster, place it in your window and let the community know that we haven't forgotten about our unsolved homicides."

The group works with the Cincinnati Police Department Homicide Unit, Crimestoppers and the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office and provides support for grieving families and gives parents a platform to discuss violence and issues in the community. Campaigns like Thursdays are funded by the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

If you have information on a crime in the Cincinnati area, call Crimestoppers at 513-352-3040.