This Is Your Brain on Homicide

Remember back when we first became aware of the murder?  The death came when we least expected it, as it always does.  Then began the urgent contacts to and from immediate family, extended family, and close friends followed by official discussions with law enforcement, the coroner’s office, EMS personnel, or clergy. So many strangers!  Our […]

Who Represents the Crime Victim in Court?

Until recently we were on our own during criminal proceedings.  Homicide survivors, rape victims and others peered up a steep learning curve without instruction.  Most of us have never even been inside a criminal court proceeding, let alone participated in a criminal case. We’re usually unfamiliar with the legal vocabulary.  (What does “nolo contendre” mean?  […]

The Newly Widowed and Their Wedding Ring

When a spouse is suddenly killed it seems odd to think of ourselves as “unmarried.”  This is especially so if the marriage was a good one, or an effort was being made by both partners to improve it. The “ring quandary” is present with every widow or widower, regardless of the cause of death. When […]

 Nine Myths About the Aftermath of Homicide

for Those Left to Grieve Hollywood, social media, health care providers, and even well-intended friends hold some fairly inaccurate and dated assumptions about the aftermath of murder on those left to grieve.  Let’s clear them up, shall we?  Here are just nine myths along with a suggested podcast interview about that presumption. Most murders are […]

Would a Journalist Who’s a Crime Victim Speak to a Crime Journalist?

In the immediate aftermath of homicide would you answer the door to the press?  Would you?  You could.  But would you? For once I’m examining this question from the vantage point of the journalist.  Would a journalist answer their door if their loved one had been murdered? A survey by Tamara Cherry, an award-winning crime […]

Abandoned Death Notifications

Families Wait The public believes that relatives are always notified following a murder.  But, according to PBS, Fox 26, WLBT, NPR, NBC News and other news outlets, that isn’t true. Case in point… Pauper’s Cemetery – Hinds County, Mississippi  Ms. Bettersten Wade reported her son, 37-year-old Dexter, missing in March of 2023 to local law […]

Emotional Support Animals and Homicide Survivors

When in crisis, homicide survivors often think of formal or informal mental health intervention as our “go-to.”  But we should also consider the power of animals to help – by themselves or in addition to other forms of aid. Human-animal bonds have been strong ever since we lived in caves.  If we ever need a […]

You Have the Right to a Private Funeral Service

(How to Get one) Do not expect death care professionals to understand or offer the option of a private funeral or committal service at the grave.  They are trained to think of this in business terms.  Too few homicide survivors even realize they may request a private funeral service or graveside service to help head […]

Primary Care Providers’ Assistance of Homicide Co-Victims

A patient who has recently experienced the murder of a loved one would do well to turn to their primary care provider for help.  Too few survivors take this important step.  Hopefully, friends of the co-victim will make this recommendation and offer to drive them to the appointment if necessary. One way to nudge them […]

Six Things Friends Can Do for Homicide/Suicide Survivors in the First Weeks

Friends on the edge of trauma, looking in at someone grappling with suicide or homicide, want to help but don’t know how.  And to complicate matters, those of us in the middle of the trauma are not likely to ask for help. We recoil at feeling defenseless. We don’t want to burden anyone.  We seldom […]

Is the Aftermath of Murder Like an Orphan Disease?

Orphan diseases impact a small percentage of the population.  They’re rare.  They’re neglected. They can be genetic, infectious, toxic, or from unknown causes. Orphan diseases get little funding to carry out research.  The lack of research keeps the conditions from being known, diagnosed, and treated. It’s a vicious circle. Examples of rare, orphaned diseases are […]

Real-Life Heros Who Helped in the Capture of Serial Murderers

Need inspiration? A boost? If so, this should do it!  What might a blond teenager from Southern California, a vision-impaired artist from Mississippi and a career white-collar investigator for the Veterans Administration have in common? They all ensured that serial murderers were put behind bars. Lynette Duncan First up is Miss Lynette Duncan.  Back in […]