Crime

Wake nonprofit, law enforcement partner to help families, friends of murder victims

A statewide nonprofit agency has established a support group in Wake County to help the family and friends of murder victims cope with their loss.

The Wake County Homicide Support Group, to meet the first Tuesday of every month, was spearheaded by the N.C. Victim Assistance Network.

It’s at least the third homicide support group in the Triangle, after Helping All Loved Ones Survive, or H.A.L.O.S., and Parents of Murdered Children, both based in Durham.

The Durham chapter of Parents of Murdered Children was formed in 1993 by a funeral director who had worked with many survivors of homicide and saw the need for them to “share in their common grief,” according to the agency’s website. The group was one inspiration for the new Wake County organization, said Elizabeth Watson, executive director of Victim Assistance Network.

The Wake County Homicide Support Group will get assistance from the Raleigh Police Department, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and the Wake County District Attorney’s Office. Representatives from those organizations will be on hand during the first half of each meeting to answer questions about the court process and share their expertise about the criminal justice system.

The second half of the meetings will be devoted to “grief sharing,” Watson said.

“Our group reminds homicide survivors that they are not isolated in their grief and that the community of criminal justice partners cares about victims,” Watson said.

The meetings will be facilitated by Freida MacDonald, the mother of a murder victim. Any loved one of a murder victim is welcome, whether the case is pending or occurred years ago.

The inaugural meeting will take place Tuesday on the third floor of the Campbell Law School at 225 Hillsborough St. in downtown Raleigh. All survivors interested in attending are encouraged to contact Watson in advance at elizabeth@nc-van.org.

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