When Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner announced arrests in two so-called “cold case” homicides last month, it gave some answers to the loved ones of two men.
But it also gave hope and reignited determination to dozens of others.
“We’re all really connected,” said Veronica Grant-Rooks of those touched by violence, especially in Atlantic City.
On Dec. 11, it will be 10 years since her mother, 61-year-old Joyce McKinnon, was killed inside their Venice Park home.
In that time, a street and a home helping women have been named for her. But still there has been no arrest.
Grant-Rooks was hopeful after hearing that Tyner mentioned her mother’s case as one that needs focus when he announced the charges in cases from 1996 and 2010.
Tyner also mentioned Demond Tally, one of four unsolved homicides this year in Atlantic County this year.
Tally died Feb. 10, in a shooting not far from his home just after leaving his best friend, now-Mayor Marty Small.
The father and grandfather died still waiting for answers in the killing of his son, Demond Cottman, who was fatally shot outside the Hamilton Mall as Black Friday shoppers filed in Nov. 25, 2016.
Days after the announcement of the “cold case” charges, Grant-Rooks took to Facebook to ask other victims’ families to “post them dates” of other killings.
The response was overwhelming, and sparked more conversation of how to get attention.
“The sad reality of what we’re dealing with is, we are so connected but disconnected, and family is killing family,” said Kellie Cors, whose son was lost to violence.
On Oct. 30, she marked three years since her 17-year-old nephew, K’Vaun Wyatt, was fatally shot in Atlantic City. There still has been no arrest.
“I’m keeping the faith that my God will allow my mother to get justice in the courtroom one day soon (before) she leaves this earth,” wrote Mona Tally, Demond Tally’s sister and Cottman’s aunt.
While there has been no proof of Tyner’s previous claim that some of these older cases were marked NIM for “non-important murder,” there are many who still believe that certain killings were treated that way.
“Someone knows something,” is often the response to unsolved homicides.
Attention is what’s needed. A call to those who may have seen something or may finally be ready to speak after remaining silent for months, years or even decades.
BreakingAC is looking to help get those answers. We are inviting those who have lost loved ones to violence and are waiting for an arrest to come forward and give attention to those cases.
Those stories will be part of a regular feature set to start in December highlighting those cases. Each story will include input from those who knew and loved the victim and will look at what is known of the circumstances surrounding the killing.
Those interested in being a part of this project can email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “waiting for justice” or reach out via Facebook at facebook.com/breakingAC.
Each story will also include how people can send tips to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
HAVE A TIP?
Do you have a tip that could help solve a killing?
Anyone with information can call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Major Crimes Unit at 609-909-7666. Information may also be submitted anonymously online at https://www.acpo.org/forms/tips-crime-reporting.
Crime Stoppers, which offers cash rewards for information leading to an arrest and indictment, can be reached at 609-652-1234 or online at http://crimestoppersatlantic.com/
For those in Atlantic City, there is also the option to anonymously text tip411 (847411) beginning the text with ACPD.