WARREN - One by one, people lit candles to remember victims of crime.
The local chapter of Parents of Murdered Children held its annual victims' rights vigil Tuesday at First United Methodist Church, where the names of those who have died in the past year as a result of violence were read aloud and candles lit.
The event was part of National Crime Victims Rights' Week.
Warren Council President Bob Dean reads a proclamation from the mayor in recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. A vigil was held Tuesday at First United Methodist Church in Warren. Photo by Bob Coupland
Mary Jane Reeve of Warren attended in memory of her brother, Milton Grumbling, whose body was found April 2 in his Warren Township home.
Reeve said this was the first time she and Suzanne Zahnow-Elia, cousin of Grumbling, have attended the vigil. They were told about the event by Warren resident Miriam Fife, whose son Raymond was killed in 1985.
''Miriam has been so helpful to us," Reeve said. "We buried my brother just last week. He was a wonderful person.''
Zahnow-Elia said she canceled her other plans to be with her relatives at the vigil.
Patrick Lawson Heltzel, 20, of Warren, has been charged in Grumbling's death.
Many in attendance brought photos of their loved ones or wore special shirts with the images of the family member on them.
Kathy Migliozzi with the Parents group, lost her daughter, Cortney Rushwin in March 2006 to violence, and was among those who organizes the annual vigil.
"We do this once a year and light candles for our loved ones who have passed away. It is important for us to be together since we all share the same feelings and same loss,'' Migliozzi said.
She said many people attend every year.
''This event is to remember our loved ones who are no longer with us,'' she said.
Lynda Couch and Helen Wilson, both of Niles, were both there for Doris and Raymond Montgomery, who were murdered 27 years ago.
Couch said she has attended the vigil for many years but said it still is difficult.
''The constant delay for justice makes it difficult or the family. It doesn't bring closure,'' Wilson said about convicted killer Charles Lorraine's delayed execution date.
Sitting with them was Michale Pratt, who lit the first candle of the evening for his brother, Roger Pratt who died nearly 25 years ago.
''There is comfort to be with others and talk to them knowing they have been through the same thing,'' Pratt said.
Ronald Reagan started the first Victims Rights Week in 1981. This year's theme is ''New Challenge, New Solution.''
More than 20 people died locally in the past year as a result of violence.