Source: Have you seen this child? MONAE GIVENS
Writer/Researcher of Non-fiction and True Crime articles, blogs and podcasts. Founder of American Crime Journal [www.mytruecrime.com]. Former Criminal Justice major and former commercial & residential Security Consultant. Expert on the I-65 Serial Killer. Born and raised in Aurora, Illinois, by a single mother & grandmother and stepfather that eventually became Dad. Fortunately survived a long, tough journey the prayers and love of mom & grandma.
Violence, unfortunately was part of growing up in our neighborhood, something we as kids desperately wanted understand. At our age in that generation, it's something parents tried to shield us from, but we could see & hear it. Worse, we could feel it. The fear, pain & suffering, the confusion and the rage we'd go through. Perhaps adults felt we couldn't understand or they simply were just as lost and afraid. Looking back, parents had to be terrified. This left us to try and figure it out. Sadly, so many of us would eventually fall victim, either on the receiving end or resorting to violence, resulting in escalation then subsequent retaliation or institutionalization.
Two incidents had a significant impact on me at a very young and impressionable age. Even though I experienced loved ones "going to heaven", I didn't understand finality and how permanent it was. An age when I though hospitals could fix everyone, just like old school ATMs that sat in the middle of parking lots dispensed cash to my mom, when she was "broke". It wasn't gang or drug violence,, but predators— an Aunt and cousin from a small farming community who took a wrong exit into Chicago in late night/early morning hours. Then the brutal murder of my mom's best friend, who is my Aunt.
My ongoing investigation into the I-65 Serial Killer/Hotel Clerk Serial Killer and similar crimes that may or may not be related has been quite the journey over the last twenty years. Street violence was a normal part of life for children from our neighborhood, which we could barely understand. It began as just a boy's curiosity, that eventually evolved into a mission to get the information out there to and evolved recently to has allowed me to meet with folks from all walks of life.
The True Crime Renaissance we are experiencing today is important not only for victims and their families, but for our culture and society as a whole.
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