Slain woman's family receiving threats

Victim's mother seeks to help families of murder victims

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Darlene Farah says a month and a half after her 20-year-old daughter, Shelby, was killed inside a Northside MetroPCS store, her family still lives in fear.

Police arrested James Rhodes and charged him with Shelby's murder, but Farah says the threats keep coming.

Someone with a blocked number is calling her phone, telling her not to go home and not to go back to the store where it happened. That's why she says her family hasn't moved home since Shelby's death.

"I didn't do it because I got a phone call the day before that I better not go near my house; I better not go nowhere near MetroPCS if I wanted to live to see the next day. Then I was told, 'And we even know what kind of car you drive.' So I was like, 'really?'"

"What kind of mother would I be to take them back to the house and somebody come by and shoot up the house and bullets him, them?" Farah said of her other children. "I already buried one child. I don't -- I cant take that chance with my kids' life. I mean, we literally have to relocate."

Farah filed a police report about the threats, which she says keep coming in, and detectives are investigating. But it's left her and her kids with their backs against the wall. They've been staying at a secret place and have gotten a lot of help from the community, but the funds are running out.

"I'm trying to go on with our life," Farah said. "Shelby will always be with us, but its not fair to my other two kids."

Farah said the help for families of slain victims isn't enough. She said she received a few thousand dollars for funeral expenses, but that's it. She's working on filing a lawsuit against Shelby's employers for not keeping her safe. But until then, she needs help.

Farah said when her family gets back on their feet, they're going to set up a charity with a safe house so families of homicide victims who feel their lives are in danger can go somewhere and feel secure.

"The lawsuit that I'm filing, it's not about the money. It's what I want to do for the community," Farah said. "It's going to take money. I'm going to take that and put it back in the community. My goal is to make sure that another family doesn't go through what I go through. I have to make positive out of this tragedy."

The lawsuit has been in the works for a while, but Farah and her attorney say they still are investigating and making sure they do everything correctly before they officially file it in court.

For now, Farah's friends have set up a special account for her and her family to find a new, safe place to live. The VyStar Credit Union account number is 703007700.

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