CHICAGO — Activists and family members say the cases of dozens of women killed or missing from the South and West sides still aren’t getting enough attention from police, politicians or the public. Community groups marched in Bronzeville Tuesday to bring attention to the issue.
Freedom First International's Bishop Gregg Greer has been one of the leading voices trying to bring attention to more than 50 unsolved cases, mostly involving women of color, slain on the South and West sides since 2001. Greer says the issue reflects both racial and geographic disparities in the justice system.
“You wouldn’t see it in Lincoln Park or downtown, and actually we don’t see it. The stats prove it,” Greer said.
Activists marched the 16 blocks from 35th Street and King Drive to Dyett High School Tuesday to raise awareness of the cases of Kierra Coles, Chaunti Bryla, Shauntya Smith, Reo Renee Holyfield and dozens of other women.
The issue has increasingly unnerved many women in living in the South and West sides. U.S. Representative Bobby Rush recently held a community forum to address concerns that a serial killer or kidnapper may be responsible for a spate of strangulation deaths and disappearances.
But police have cautioned that it’s important to separate fears from facts, saying each case is investigated individually until there’s solid evidence to believe it might be connected to another case.
Gregg argues the longer cases go unsolved, the bolder the criminals will become.
"If these cases are not being resolved, there’s no answers, then that gives the criminals and the bad guys a green light to continue on, it maybe even motivates them to push harder," Gregg said.
CPD issued a statement addressing those concerns, saying the department is "conducting a comprehensive review of these cases":
“Detectives conducting this review are also detached as federal agents with the FBI should we need any type of technical assistance from the Bureau. At this moment, there is no physical evidence linking any of the victims, but we are re-processing DNA samples and are taking the concerns very seriously.”