Families remember loved ones in Clark Co. during National Day of Remembrance for Homicide Victims

Monday marked the National Day of Remembrance for Homicide Victims with events around the country.
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 10:29 PM PDT
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CLARK COUNTY Wash. (KPTV) - Monday marked the National Day of Remembrance for Homicide Victims with events around the country. In Clark County, families who lost loved ones gathered to remember those lives taken by senseless violence.

Candles lit up the darkness here at Esther Short Park Monday evening. Families and friends came together to honor those taken too soon.

Families who gathered Monday on the National Day of Remembrance for Homicide Victims are forever bonded by a tragic reality.

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“Losing a child is one of those things that is almost unbearable,” Joseph Thuney, Brittany Thuney’s father, said.

Now, Joseph Thuney and Nichole Norris continue fighting for justice on behalf of those who were taken by violence and murder.

“The system allowed these things to happen. These are murders that could’ve been prevented,” Thuney said.

Joseph’s daughter, Brittany Thuney, 31, was shot and killed in Kelso in what authorities are calling a murder-suicide in May 2020.

Norris lost her daughter and granddaughter Meshay Melendez, 27, and Layla Stewart, 7, in March 2023. Their bodies were found in a rural area near Washougal.

In both cases, investigators said those allegedly responsible weren’t strangers.

The families reached out to Michelle Bart, founder of the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation (NWCAVE) to help organize a remembrance event in Clark County.

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“Victim’s loved ones who are fighting the fight are not listened to,” Bart said. “You heard from Joe, we’re not done with his case. There’s other people that are responsible for the murder of his daughter. Nichole Norris, we go to trial in January.”

Community members, also grieving their own tragedies, joined in solidarity.

“This is my baby sister, Jayme Dawn Morton, she was murdered,” Rachel Davis, who lost her sister, said. “You feel utterly alone in it and that nobody could understand. Having this connection and this family, almost, is really a helpful process.”

Families said this gathering was a time of healing but also a call to action – to fight for justice for those they’ve lost.