Criminal

An illustration of an aerial view of three women sitting in a circle, talking.

The Mothers

Episode #83

2018-01-26 13:05:57

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There is a group in Durham, NC, called “Parents of Murdered Children.” This week, we meet three of its members.

For a transcript of this episode, send us an email with the episode name and number.

Photojournalist Justin Cook has spent ten years documenting the impact of homicide in Durham, North Carolina. You can see more of his work here.

Joslin Simms wiping a tear away in the middle of a four-way intersection.

Photographer Justin Cook writes: Joslin Simms’s son, Rayburn, 30, was killed in 2005. The case remains unsolved. She says: “Since Ray been murdered, I have nightmares. I dream of him in the morgue and when they are cutting his body I wake up because I can feel the knife cutting me.”  Thirteen years laterJoslin remains maimed by her grief. She calls it a “walking death.” But her grief also propels her to speak out about gun violence, poverty and gentrification in her community. 

 

Mothers laugh and cry while talking about their children in the basement of The Shepherd’s House United Methodist Church in Durham, NC.

Photographer Justin Cook writes: Mothers laugh and cry, and form lasting bonds when they remember their children in the basement of The Shepherd’s House United Methodist Church in Durham, NC. 

 

Frieda MacDonald holding up a piece of framed art that reads: Grief Therapy.

Frieda MacDonald’s son, Stephen Hoyle, 24, was shot and killed on January 26, 2012. Photo Credit: Justin Cook.

 

Carrie Watkins wearing a shirt memorializing her daughter, Carrie Denise "Nook" Watkins.

Carrie Watkins wearing a shirt memorializing her daughter, Carrie Denise “Nook” Watkins, who was shot and killed in 2008 at age 23. Her murder is still unsolved. Photo Credit: Justin Cook.

 

Carrie Watkins with other mothers and friends releasing red and blue balloons, on what would have been her daughter's 29th birthday.

Carrie Watkins (center white shirt) with other mothers and friends, on what would have been her daughter’s 29th birthday. Photo Credit: Justin Cook.