On the fifth anniversary of Nancy Dunnings death, the city is reminded of the violence and brutality that occurs here and in the rest of the country on a daily basis.
Compounded with the anniversary of the high profile murder, 24-year old Juantissa Hill, with no blatant connection to a VIP, was found dead Tuesday on Van Dorn Street. The case deserves attention.
Dunnings death sparked a communal outpouring of support in the form of hugs and money. A reward fund was set up, raising $100,000 to help find the killer; a vigil is held every year to remember the mother, wife, realtor and Del Ray celebrity.
But unlike Dunning, whose death is unmistakably tragic, other slain Alexandrians and their families do not have the same type of support network available.
Their stories are equally as tragic as is any homicide and deserve just as much attention.
The police department does not discriminate when it comes to investigating crimes. They rely on facts and professionalism no matter the race or creed of the victim. But the sensational elements of cases like the Dunning murder produce intrigue, which spawns talk and conjecture among residents a positive phenomenon if it helps solve the case or at least keep the case alive. Such conjecture, along with Dunnings character, social status and the company she kept, made possible the gigantic reward reservoir that has helped keep the case afloat. This response is not the norm, however.
The Alexandria police have a list of cold cases on their website as a part of their new digital crime database. The victims should stay in the minds of Alexandrians just as the memory of Dunning (who affected many lives, many unknown to her) has. It could be the difference between solving the crime and keeping the case cold forever, frozen for the indefinite future.
The lead investigator of the Dunning case said that the key to solving the murder likely lies in a subtle piece of information held by someone, perhaps without their knowledge.
If you remember any of the following instances, rack your brains for any information that may help:
Bethlehem Ayele, a 34 year-old realtor and Yellow Cab worker, was shot in October 2006 while in her idle car in Del Ray. The suspect is characterized only as a black male, no other attributes listed. According to reports, the shooter walked by several other idling vehicles before getting to Ayles and shooting her.
Young Alisha Johnson disappeared in July 1996. Her body showed up a week later in Fauquier County. She was last seen on Four Mile Run Road. Its been more than a decade since the victims disappearance, and somebody out there knows what happened.
Twenty-seven year-old Curtis Fitzgerald King was shot and killed on Edsall Road in 1994. After 14 years there has been no motive established for the crime, nor any other concrete solutions. There were seven shots fired, bystanders reported, but there was not enough evidence to identify the murderers.
These cold cases, nor Hills murder, will ever be as high profile as Nancy Dunnings active homicide case, but they are equally important and deserve just a much attention from our citys residents in order to put their killers in jail and place peace on the shoulders of their families.