Murder victims honored on National Day of Remembrance

Published: Sep. 25, 2021 at 11:04 PM CDT
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - September 25 is a day of remembrance for murder victims. Many families gathered at the Rapides Parish Courthouse for a candlelight vigil to remember and honor their loved ones that they’ve lost.

Those who went brought pictures of the murder victims to show that they will forever be in their memory.

“Just look around you and know that you are not alone,” said Stephanie Belgard, the organizer for the event. “There are so many others just like you. Nobody wants to be a part of this group, but we all need each other to get through it.”

For Belgard. it’s been nearly 17 years since her daughter, Courtney Coco, was killed. She spoke to all the families at the event saying that she hates that more people come every year because that means more lives are being lost.

It’s an annual tradition to call out the names of each murder victim, but sadly more than 30 names had to be added to that list in the past year. For Tameika Brown, this was her first time attending the event and having to hear her daughter’s name Ashley Mortle be called out.

“Tonight I never expected to be out here and having to hear my daughter’s name called because she was murdered, unselfish murder,” said Brown.

Mortle was killed in a double homicide back on February 7, and even though it’s been seven months, Brown said it still feels like it was yesterday.

“Seven months of not being with my girl and hearing her laugh is hard,” said Brown. “To know that it’s people that don’t even know me that’s supporting me and that’s praying with me is beautiful.”

Brown is a part of many families who are thankful for the support and know that together, they will be able to find peace.

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