FAIRVIEW PARK– They shared memories as they searched for justice.
Friends and family held a vigil for two people found dead near the banks of river in the Rocky River Metroparks Reservation last week. Exactly one week after they were killed, details of what happened remain a mystery.
“God has brought us all even closer… Everybody needs to love one another,” said Taneka Glass, cousin of victim Carnell Sledge.
Through tears, dozens of people gathered Tuesday evening to remember 33-year old Katherine Brown and 40-year old Sledge.
“He lit up the room. His beautiful smile. He loved the Lord, he just was there for everybody,” Glass said about her cousin. “Smart, intelligent, God fearing man, always loved his parents and brother.”
“He had a good heart and for this to happen, it was a tragedy… It’s senseless for two lives to be taken like this,” said Tangela Deming, another of Sledge’s cousins.
Investigators said around 5:20 p.m. last Tuesday, kayakers discovered the bodies. Sledge was found near a bench, now adorned with balloons, flowers and a cross. Brown was discovered not far away at the bank of the Rocky River.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner says both had been shot in the head in a double homicide. Cleveland Metroparks Rangers have released few details, but call the case an isolated incident.
“I’m here to support his family and his friends, and to show Sledge how much we loved him and how much he will be missed,” said Karen Jones. Jones used to work with Sledge, who spent five years as a special education assistant in the Westlake City School District.
“He’s very loved, the kids loved him, he loved everybody. There was nobody that didn’t like Sledge,” Jones said.
“He was a role model. Always there for the children motivating them, encouraging them, increasing their knowledge and wisdom and allowing them to let them know that they can be leader and scholars,” Glass said.
Relatives of Sledge said they reached out to Brown’s family, inviting them to participate in Tuesday’s vigil, but they were told her family is not ready to speak out publicly.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County at 216-252-7463.