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Family of Waterloo homicide victim plead for justice during day of remembrance

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 5:17 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - September 25 is the annual observance of National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims across the country. Organizers in Evansdale decided to hold it on September 23, since the date falls on a weekend this year.

Organizers offered words of comfort, and survivors shared messages of resilience and shared grief. Organizers also asked people to stop the violence. They say the demand for their services has risen.

“Our numbers for our program have increased over the past year,” said Marie Harvey with Homicides/Other Violent Crimes program. “So unfortunately we have not seen that trend… Even during Covid it was busy, but since Covid it’s dramatically increased, I know people are coming out of their houses more, or more mental health, or more anger.”

New this year, families of homicide victims write letters to their deceased loved ones. They send them through water, the paper dissolves in the pond, while the words are for those who’ve died.

Marlene Buss wrote a letter to her son, Dayton Matlock. Matlock was just 23 years old when he died of a gunshot wound in the 1400 block of grant Avenue in Waterloo. She told him in the letter that she loved him, and to keep watching over his family.

“I just wish that he was here, so we didn’t have to do this,” said Buss.

The pond she tossed the paper in has another connection to the child she lost.

“He liked to fish. He liked to be outside,” Buss said of her son. “This was one of our places that we would come fishing, actually.”

A night of empowerment and hope for Buss, ending her letter with a promise to her son.

“I’m gonna get justice,” she said.

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