Family of victims of violent crime throw roses in St. Johns River in memory of loved ones

Families threw yellow roses in the St. Johns River to commemorate their loved ones who lost their lives to violence (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Families of lost loved ones gathered and honored victims of violent crime in Riverside Monday evening in an emotional ceremony.

They tossed yellow roses in the St. Johns River following a ceremony that started a week of honoring victims of violent crime.

“I miss her with every beat of my heart. I miss her every day. And I want to tell you my heart aches with yours,” Francis Futrill said.

Futrill’s daughter Mary Elizabeth was murdered in May 2002 and her killer has never been captured.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is an initiative created by the United States Department of Justice to rally and advocate for survivors of violent crimes.

Futrill and other families came to the Haskell Building to grieve and share how the Justice Coalition has helped them deal with their loss.

Valeria Herrera lost her brother Kevin Martinez just over a year ago. She says she misses the brotherly advice he use to give her.

“We feel like we have a hole in our hearts that we can’t get over. We constantly think about the little things he used to do. We just want to keep his memory alive,” Herrera said.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week runs through April 29.

Futrill said events like this help her move forward.

“This has been my home, these people have been my family. I believe the justice coalition has really helped saved my life. Because they gave me something to do and be around other people. Greet them, tell them how much we love them.. and we feel their pain and we pray for them,” Futrill said.

About the Author:

Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.