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Group holds day of remembrance for Little Rock homicide victims

(KATV Photo)

So far this year, there have been 26 homicides in Little Rock -- and behind each one of them is a grieving family.

Years ago, a support network was formed for those affected by violence. Saturday morning, they came together for a day of remembrance.

No parent wants to bury a child. But thanks to the national organization Parents of Murdered Children, they have that support in case it happens. The group is a non-profit that hosts meetings, accompanies families to trials and writes petitions to parole boards, among other services for those affected by violence.

On Saturday, photos of lost loved ones lined the walls of the Arkansas Capitol, each showing a life lost to violence. Some were killed more than 30 years ago.

"In 1990, parents of murdered children started here," said Amy Stivers, a Parents of Murdered Children victim advocate. "But in 2008, I had lost my daughter to a homicide. And to this day, my case is still unsolved."

Speakers on Saturday included the son of Beverly Carter and North Little Rock police officer Tommy Norman.

"Me personally, I've never been a family member of a murder victim, but I know from having such a strong relationship with so many members of the community that it hurts them," Norman said. "For me to be here to kind of lend an ear, to have a shoulder for them to lean on, it's something that means a lot to the entire community."

To lose a child, parent or even close friend through an act of violence is a pain not many will have to endure. But for those that do, being able to lean on others going through the same thing makes a huge difference.

"For me, there's just so many homicides right now that we have to hold memorials, we have to keep their memories alive," Stivers said. "And the only way to keep their memory alive is to have things like this."

While some like Stivers may never find closure, she said she has found some joy in helping other families throughout central Arkansas.

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