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Community Remembers Loved Ones on ‘Murder Victim Awareness Day’

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CLEVELAND -- Sylvetta Williams speaks for hundreds of Cleveland families, when she talks about the pain of losing a loved one.

Her son, 16-year-old Sylvonte Williams, was shot to death last July as he and thousands of other people were leaving a concert at Luke Easter Park. Three other people were wounded when a gunman opened fire. At a day of remembrance for local murder victims, Sylvonte's mother said her pain has been compounded by the fact that police have not been able to find witnesses who are willing to cooperate. A tearful Mrs. Williams told the audience, "there were 23 thousand people there and nobody said nothing, no one said anything about my son's death. And please somebody, please, life is priceless, I love my son."

Each murder victim leaves behind a grieving family searching for answers, and all of the stories are heart-breaking.

The parents of 32-year-old Andrew Harris had the misfortune of finding their son beaten to death inside his East Cleveland apartment in March of this year. Like all of the other families, the Harris' seek justice and answers to the questions they have for the unknown killers who have eluded justice. Shirley Harris told Fox 8, "think of your family, what if this had happened to you? Please come forward and give us peace."

Saturday's day of remembrance at Gardenview Hill Park is also a platform for the families of dozens of Clevelanders, who vanished and have not been heard from since. Even though police say they often encounter a wall of silence in many of the murder and missing persons investigations, they say they keep plugging away, in the hope that the truth will eventually be known.

 "It's up to you to remember how they lived," Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba told the audience.

“Our job is to find out what the last moments of their lives were like for you."

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