ST. LOUIS (KPLR) -This weekend marks the 4th anniversary of an unsolved St. Louis murder case that has long since slipped from the headlines. Theodis Howard, 41, was shot to death in front of his sister, his nephew, and his daughter. But Howard and hundreds more victims of St. Louis area homicides will not be forgotten.
There was a gathering Saturday to make sure of that. The Crime Victim’s Advocacy Center and the Homicide Ministers and Community Alliance hosted a vigil at Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church in North St. Louis to remember homicide victims and their loved ones. The groups offer counseling, crisis response, and advocacy to those left navigating that terrible course between grief and justice.
“More than anything else my detectives need to be that voice for that person who can no longer talk,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told the crowd.
Lauren Cheathem was there.
She had been with her brother Theodis Howard when he was murdered exactly 4 years earlier, April 5, 2010.
“I loved my brother dearly,” she said.
For her and her mother, events like the vigil were life changing.
“It’s a rejoicing the see other people and to help other people understand that God is with them and to encourage them to keep moving and don’t just stand in one place. Try not to seek revenge and put it God’s hands and know that He will work it all out,” Cheathem said.
“These parents, these wives, children, and loved ones of those who’ve been taken from us, they never forget. I’ll tell you the truth, the detectives never forget either. We live with these cases for the rest of our lives, not only the unsolved cases, but the ones we solve,” Chief Belmar said.
The three men who gunned down Howard near Hadley and North Market in North St. Louis that Spring afternoon have yet to meet justice.
But in this place the loved ones of those lost, found that along with grief there was still room for a loving hand and so many reasons to carry on.