U Can Speak For Me Helps Raise Awareness For Unsolved Homicides
Finding someone you love has been murdered in his or her car is something no one wants to imagine. It's the kind of situation people have nightmares about but hope they never have to personally endure. For some people, these nightmares are based in fact and they have to relive it over and over. Their loved one is still dead and the murderer is still out there, somewhere.
Hope Dudley founded U Can Speak For Me after her son was murdered nearly ten years ago. Originally a way to seek closure, Dudley didn't know at the time she would devote her life to searching for the murderer and helping other families in situations like hers.
Dudley says closure is difficult to get. "My goal in the beginning was to keep information out on him so the people who murdered him would know that we haven't forgot about what happened to him," Dudley says.
On Sunday, families and friends of unsolved homicide victims will canvas parts of Cincinnati's west side with posters and fliers with the pictures of 33 victims of unsolved murders. At 3 p.m., they will release balloons in memory of their loved ones.
Each family will go to the location where their loved one was killed to raise awareness for unsolved murders in that area. Dudley says she hopes by passing out fliers and talking to people, someone will be encouraged to come forward with information they have about the murder.
Arnella Guilford's youngest son, Shawn Guilford, was killed in 2013. Shawn had seven children and was engaged to Buffy Trinka when he was killed. Guilford says birthdays and Father's Day are hard because she feels bad for his children.
"There's somebody out there that knows something, I just wish they'd be man enough to tell," she says. "You were man enough to take my son away, be man enough to admit to what you did. It's not fair. My son is in a grave and they're still walking around breathing every day.
Guilford says she hasn't been able to visit her son's grave.
"I know he's not coming back, but this is something I can't face. Not right now. I talk to him every night and ask him to forgive me for not visiting him, but one day before I leave this earth I will visit him and we will see each other again one day."
Dudley and the people she works with through U Can Speak For Me are focusing on Cincinnati Police District Three this weekend which includes East Price Hill, West Price Hill, Lower Price Hill, East Westwood, English Woods, Millvale and Moosewood, North Fairmont, South Fairmont, Riverside, Saylor Park, Sedamsville, South Cumminsville, Role Hill and Westwood.
Dudley says the process for reporting information has changed and she hopes it will make more people come forward with information.
"It takes the community to come forward and call CrimeStoppers -it's strictly anonymous - and say 'I know who killed this person' and they will actually give you a code where you can use that code and you can go to the bank and get your money." Dudley says. "You don’t have to meet nobody for it so things are different than they were 10 years ago. We just have to learn the new process."
Christina Thompson's cousin, Brian, was murdered in 2012. He was the second member of the Thompson family to be murdered. Thompson's brother was murdered previously, but his killer was caught. Thompson says when she thinks about her brother she can remember the happy times because she has closure, but it's different with Brian because the family is still seeking answers.
"Cold cases do get solved and we all know someone knows. People know who did this but they're not speaking. I know like they're probably afraid of someone finding out they did it, but they can be anonymous. I mean, someone knows."
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