Lowcountry officials and family members remember homicide victims

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – MUSC and the Charleston County Sheriff’s office partnered for the 22nd annual candlelight vigil and service of remembrance for homicide victims.

St. Andrews Church in West Ashley was filled with family and friends to honor their loved ones in prayer, dancing, and singing.

“Hold on to what is good, even if it is a handful of earth. Hold on to what you believe,” says Bobbi Jo O’Neal, the Charleston County Coroner.

Ruth Ann Harrison has been attending the candlelight service in honor of her son and sister for years. She says not hearing their voices of excitement for the holiday’s, is what she misses the most.

“I can’t hear them say Merry Christmas mom because every Christmas my son would come and sit on the bed, and just jolt for Christmas time,” says Harrison.

MUSC leaders say the partnership with the sheriff’s office to host this event is important for families to have a safe place to turn to.

“The holiday season can be really difficult for those grieving its very happy for many people, but those who have lost loved ones to traumatic loss, it can be difficult,” Dr. Alyssa Rheingold, with MUSC.

Ruth Ann says the help and support through the service is what helps her grieve.

“I have been a lot of counseling, and it helped me out a lot,” she says.

Victims encourage others to lean on the community, to help with any grieving or pain.

“Don’t give up, keep moving, and keep pressing because help is on the way,” says Harrison.

The Survivors of Homicide Support Group is a collaboration between MUSC and the Charleston County Sheriff’s office. The group meets Thursday’s and email shsg@musc.edu to join.

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