With Philadelphia’s yearly murder tally consistently passing 300, and with a murder clearance rate of about 60 percent, hundreds of families around the city know what it’s like when the leads dry up and the killer of their daughter, or son, or brother roams free as if nothing happened, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. Disheartened relatives of murder victims have built their lives around bringing the killers to justice, putting up rewards out of pocket, organizing fundraisers, and canvassing some of the city’s roughest neighborhoods.
“It has to be me, because no one else is going to do it,” Janice Collins said of her efforts to push for closure in the case of her murdered daughter, Ericka Brair. “I feel like I just relive it and relive it. It’s been a rough road.” Right after her daughter’s murder five years ago, Collins, 59, and her mother put up a $2,000 out-of-pocket reward through the Citizens Crime Commission and raised more by selling “Justice 4 Ericka” bracelets and holding a beef-and-beer fundraiser at a place where Ericka worked with a friend, making the reward $10,000.