Every year, hundreds of people in south Mississippi lose loved ones due to violent crimes. Tuesday night, Jackson County's District Attorney's Office hosted a ceremony to honor those victims to thank the families for working with them. Sarah Hodge lost her 14 year old brother, Jake, ten years ago when his body was found buried in a shallow grave in St. Andrews. Hodge says she comes to crime victim ceremonies to keep the memory of her brother alive. Tuesday, Jake would have been 23 years old. Hodge says, "They help, they help. I’m glad that they do it for him. I miss him, but at least they do something they remember them by."
Diane Vice and Dean Thompkins share Hodge’s pain. Their daughter, Renee, was murdered 12 years ago, but they still come to these events to share her memory. Vice says, "You'd be surprised at the people that we have met who've went through the same things. You can just sit around and talk and talk about your feelings." Thompkins says, "It helps everybody who has lost someone as special as Renee was. She was so close to us. She was first born. You know how special they are."
The Crime Victim’s Ceremony is put on by the Jackson County District Attorney, Tony Lawrence, and his office to help gather support for those hurting in our community. Lawrence says, "It’s tough on crime victims. They live with this daily, and tonight is no different. They suffer through pain every day, and what we want to let them know tonight that there is a community that supports you and feels their pain too." Chancellor, Judge Jayde Bradley, was one of the guest speakers at the ceremony. She says it's important for victims not to give up hope.
Bradley says, "It’s important for victims out there who have not had justice yet, to see that they have not been forgotten, that they will get justice if they pursue the system’s relief remedies." So no matter where they are in their search for justice, the support they find with each other takes them further in their journey to closure.