WARREN - Wanda Marie Cole told a crowd Sunday that her son Jeremy died a hero.
Cole was speaking at the annual Parents of Murdered Children's Day of Remembrance ceremony in downtown Warren. She was surrounded by her children and other family members who wore T-shirts bearing different likenesses of Jeremy, also known as Jay, on them.
Jeremy Cole, 21, of Warren, was shot and killed about noon Thursday at 2220 Oak Circle S.W. Neighbors described the incident as an attempted robbery. A woman who lived at the home, Melissa Putnam, was shot in the hand.
Balloons are released Sunday in Warren during the annual Day of Remembrance ceremony held by the Parents of Murdered Children group. Photo by Raymond L. Smith
"What we want is justice," Cole said. "We want the person who did this to be caught for what was done to my son."
As of Sunday, police had not made an arrest in the case.
Cole said attending the annual event was comforting for her family and herself. The Coles were among several dozen families that attended the balloon release.
Karen Booth and her niece Trenda Johnson held pictures of Booth's daughter Lena Cross and Cross' children, Mason Cross and Christian Pizzullo
The three died in a Sept. 13, 2005, house fire in Girard that police believe was deliberately set. The children, Mason, 5, and Christian, 1, died of smoke inhalation. Lena Cross, 22, died as a result of multiple stab wounds.
"This is a cold case," Booth said. "It is still open. My daughter was tortured."
Booth describes going to Girard police every few months to talk to them and to keep them engaged in the search for the murderer or murderers.
"This is frustrating, because I've reached out for help," Booth said. "Someone out there knows what happened. Someone out there is a murderer. I've reached out to the John Walsh program. They turned me down."
Booth became involved with the Trumbull County Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children through one of its founders, Miriam Fife.
"The program is good because it allows people to talk to people who have been through many of the same issues as you," Booth said. "People say they understand, but, unless they lost a child or a close relative, they really do not know."
Booth said too many innocent lives have been lost.
Roy West of Warren was at the balloon release ceremony to celebrate the lives of his daughter Jamella West and Jameire Ervin, Trevon Williams and Jakai Howard, who all were killed June 21, 2006, in Columbus.
West, whose pain still can be heard when he talks about his loss, says going to the Parents of Murdered Children meetings helps people to know that they are not alone in their grief.
"It allows those who want to talk to express their feelings to people who have experienced some of the same emotions," West said. "I hope to one day be able to say something that will help someone."
The organization meets every third Tuesday at the American Red Cross in Warren.
Barbara Soles was there to honor her son Joshua Soles, who was killed on Nov. 1, 2011, in a shooting involving his best friend.
Soles said the family has started a scholarship for people seeking to obtain their GED.
"My son obtained his GED just a few months months before his death," Soles said. "We want to turn this negative into a positive. We want people to have a second chance for success."
Ryan Wrightsman, of Farmdale, pleaded guilty in the accidental death.
Kathy Migliozzi, director of the Trumbull County Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, says she was introduced to the group after her daughter Cortney Rushwin, 16, overdosed on drugs that had been given to her.
Migliozzi says the group is there to help others. It averages 10 people at every monthly meeting.
Jeremy Cole's death was the fourth homicide in Warren this year. There were 10 in 2011.