Loved ones of homicide victims meet to offer emotional support

Organization supports individuals who have lost loved ones to homicide
Published: Aug. 14, 2022 at 8:06 PM CDT
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THEBES, Ill. (KFVS) - A new Heartland group is now meeting up with individuals who have been impacted by a loss due to violence.

The organization called Hear Our Cry met up in Thebes on Sunday and is supporting individuals that have lost a loved one due to homicide in southeast Missouri and southern Illinois.

The goal is to help others by offering to talk to people about their tragedies that have experienced emotional hardship from recent and longer past homicide incidents.

Harold McNelly talked to KFVS about how it helps one another to talk with each other about what they are going through.

“There’s some people that psychologically needs help too,” McNelly said. “If you get a group together like this, it helps a lot just to talk things out. Everything stays with the group. We can say whatever we feel like saying and it doesn’t go any further. It’s a big help.”

McNelly said his son was killed in September of 2019 in a small community in southern Illinois. Something he said affects him everyday.

“He was stabbed 22 times, right in the neck and the head and once in the abdomen,” McNelly said. “Zip tied hands and feet and threw in the river and was later found in Tennessee. It took 3 days to find him in Tennessee. Still haven’t found the murderers to that.”

McNelly said there isn’t much help in the area for helping family victim members for individuals that were killed. He also said more help with local and state authorities would bring an added benefit to the area.

“There’s just not enough assets here in this area to take care of the problems,” McNelly said. “The state police needs more help and the county needs more help. That’s what we’re advocating for.”

Tim Slapinski also attended the meeting. He said his sister was killed in January of 2019 and is still unsolved.

“It took a big toll on our whole family, mentally, physically and financially,” Slapinski said. “We just have a lot of unanswered questions we’re just looking for and I believe this little group we’re putting together here will help.”

Slapinski said this meeting has helped him out with having others listen and support what has has gone through these past several years after his sister’s death.

“It helps to get it out,” Slapinski said. “A lot of times you keep it in and it just festers up inside you. It helps to get it out and get it over with.”

Hear Our Cry founder Debbie Goins said they plan on having another meeting where anyone from the southeast Missouri and southern Illinois area who have lost a loved one due to violence is welcome to attend.

The next meeting will be held at the Thebes Baptist Church on September 4th at 3 p.m.

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