COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – There is a new push to solve unsolved murders and it is all about putting the faces of victims in the spotlight.
Crime Stoppers, Columbus police and the victims’ families are partnering to put pictures and stories on billboards.
There will be one at the intersection of Wilson and Fisher Roads in the Hilltop and one in the Linden area.
The goal is to hopefully spark a memory about these cases to get people to send in tips.
It’s been three years since Brenda Johnson’s son, James Johnson, was shot and killed. Police have still not found his killer.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s still unsolved after three years and nobody came forward,” Johnson said.
Johnson said for years she has paid out of pocket to keep her son’s name in the spotlight. She helped to bring the idea to Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant.
Now she hopes it will be the start of change for her family and others.
“I just hope that this helps solve not only my son’s murder, but a lot of murders out there,” Johnson said.
At a news conference Tuesday, Johnson stood beside Meshell Blair. Blair’s son, Cameron Kates, was shot and killed two and a half years ago. His case is also still unsolved.
“I hope that someone, even if they call anonymously, just solving one murder makes a huge difference for the families, gives them closure,” Blair said.
The billboards will rotate through different cases. This hope is that by seeing the victim’s faces it will spark community member’s memories.
Central Ohio Crime Stoppers President Napoleon Bell said it just takes one tip to be the piece to the puzzle.
“I really hope that this will inspire people to get engaged in their community regardless of where you live, because crime has no boundaries. So I’m hopeful that this inspires people to say, what can I do? How can I help,” Bell said.
They are also giving out these door hangers for people to put up and spread the word about what Crime Stoppers does and how to send a tip.
Bell said anyone can have one of the door hangers to put up at their business or home. Crimestoppers is looking for tips for any crime, not just murders.
As a reminder all tips sent in are completely anonymous. To send in a tip you can call 614-461-8477 or you can submit a tip online.