INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Dozens gathered in Independence on Sunday evening to remember loved ones whose murders remain unsolved.
Local advocacy groups Corey's Network and Momma On A Mission joined together to host the event. The goal is to support victims families and raise awareness about high rates of violence in the metro area.
"Hopefully it will give someone some encouragement and some courage to put their child's name or their loved one's name out there as often as possible so that no one forgets who was killed and when they were killed," said Michelle Metje, co-founder of Corey's Network.
Metje created Corey's Network after her son was murdered in 2013. Three years later Corey's murderer was caught. Still, she says with rising crime rates in the metro area there's still a lot more work to be done to stop crime and support victims.
"We have already had over 80 murders this year. Last year [my organization] paid for 27 homicide victims to be buried, this year we've already helped 30, so that means by the end of this year we’re going to double this and thats insane," Metje explained.
Michelle Wilis is the founder of Momma On A Mission. She started the group following the death of her son Alonzo. Wilis says the support she's gotten and has been able to provide to more than 30 families has been helpful. She believes more people need to speak up if they witness crimes.
"There’s probably a couple homicides that are created by the same person so if you can get that person off of the street it’s possible to reduce some crime," said Wilis.
There have been 85 reported homicides in Kansas City so far in 2017.
If you have any information that could lead to an arrest in an unsolved homicide case contact police. In Kansas City, the tip line number is 816-474-TIPS.