Families touched by violence face difficult holiday

Daniel Rowe's family still looking for answers after his murder this year



Some families affected by violent crimes across Jacksonville this year are preparing to face Thanksgiving with an empty chair around the table.

One of those families is that of 20-year-old Daniel Rowe.

He was shot and killed four months ago while working at the Blind Rabbit in Riverside. Despite a $20,000 reward, no arrest has been made in his killing.

"They need to find the guys that did this, because they don't deserve to have the holidays with their family. They don't,” said Steven Rowe, Daniel Rowe's father.

Officers say Daniel Rowe (pictured) was shot while taking the trash out in an alleyway behind the restaurant. He was doing a favor for a co-worker and helping to close down the restaurant.


His death has been very hard for his family, but they know they're not alone in that grief.

A lot of grieving families around town are celebrating their first Thanksgiving without a family member -- like the families of Sharnice Wilson and Marquisha Phillips, two women shot and killed in a Northside home in May.

And there are many more.

"I know a few of them that have been dealing with this longer than we have,” Steven Rowe said.

He said his family plans to stay close and hold tight, especially around the holidays.

"We're going to all meet up tomorrow at the family's house and have a Thanksgiving dinner,” Steven Rowe said. "I'm just doing little stuff. I'm not allowed to do a lot of big, big stuff right now."

A spinal cord injury will limit Steven Rowe's time in the kitchen this Thanksgiving. But still, his family is going all out.

"We get to fix the turkey. I told them last year I wasn't going to do it again. And Tommy goes, 'She will. She bought a new oven,'" Barbara Rowe, Daniel's grandmother, said.

The only thing missing this year for the Rowes is Daniel.

"It's kind of rough without him,” Daniel's grandfather, Jerry Rowe, said. “He carries my middle name, that's why it hurts."

The idea that someone would want to hurt Daniel, a man described as kind and gentle, still baffles his family.

"It doesn't matter. If they'll do it to Daniel, they'll do it to anybody,” Steven Rowe said.

Until the killer is caught, Daniel's family members wear ribbons and post fliers in their cars. They're thankful for the years they had with him and cherish the many Thanksgiving memories.

"We’d eat and that's what his favorite thing to do was, enjoy food. Go figure," Steven Rowe said. “It's going to be tough (without him).”

At a news conference last month, it was announced that only eight tips had been called into Crime Stoppers about Daniel Rowe's murder. Anyone with information about any unsolved murder in Jacksonville is asked to call police at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. 

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