Metro families of murder victims come together, ask for change

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Court isn't in session on Saturdays, but metro families of murder victims filled the steps of the Jackson County Courthouse. They are asking for change, and hoping people in power will listen.

"It hurts. I hurt for every one of these people. I really do," said David Greenwood who's son, Justin Graham, was killed in July. "No one should have to bury their child. It`s just not right."

"It's hard. I mean, every day she's missed," said Cory Mohr. The mother of his children, Theresa Christman, was killed this spring.

All families of people who lost their loved ones to violence. Some of them have answers, and others who are still waiting.

"I pray that all of you find your missing loved ones, and you get justice one day," said Rhonda Beckford, the mother of Kara Kopetsky. She was murdered in 2007, and her remains were found in Cass County 10 years later. Her alleged murderer, Kylr Yust, is set to go to trial in the fall of 2019.

"My daughter might possibly still be here, and so would probably a lot of people," said Patti Tam, the mother of Desirea Ferris. The 17-year-old vanished more than 500 days ago, and hasn't been seen since.

Family and friends of Ferris started a group called 'Desi's Voice' which hopes to unite families, and speak for those that go unheard. At the courthouse their representative asked for help, communication, and acknowledgement of the injustices they believe these families are facing.

Greenwood came all the way from Branson to attend the event. Justin Graham, 26, disappeared in July. Greenwood said back then police wouldn't take a missing person's report.

"About 10 days later, August 7, we got a call that he'd been discovered in a field on 17th and White," Greenwood said.

Theresa Christman, 35, was stabbed to death in March. Police said, her boyfriend, Jared Whittar, allegedly killed her and left her body in Sheffield Park. She left behind four children and Whittar is scheduled to go on trial in June for second degree murder.

"There`s a real problem in Kansas City," Mohr said. "I mean, it's mind-blowing that this happens and people turn the other way and don't speak up and say anything."

However, it's not just those who stay silent. The families say city leaders need to step up to keep criminals on the streets, before another family is standing on the steps of the Jackson County Courthouse.

"Do the right thing, you know, no shame in coming forward and saving a life," Mohr said.

"There`s not a day that goes by that I'm not sitting in her room just wishing she was home," Tam said. "I fight and struggle to make it every day. I just want her home. Preferably the best way, but she's coming through the door no matter what. Whether she`s walking through the door or I'm carrying her."

Representatives with Desi's Voice say they are asking for faster and more thorough reaction to missing persons reports, higher bonds for those under investigation, and reforms at the Jackson County Jail.

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