Families of Utah homicide victims gather to support each other for National Day of Remembrance

Sep 26, 2023, 12:16 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Dozens of families gathered at the Utah Capitol Monday night to remember their loved ones killed by violence. In total, 80 homicide victims were honored during the National Day of Remembrance, put on by local nonprofit group Utah Homicide Survivors.

Darcie Housley’s son was killed in a 2017 drive-by shooting in Ogden. She said events like these help her connect with others who may be in similar situations.

“We all kind of get each other,” Housley said. “It’s something that we are going to struggle with for the rest of our lives.”

Her 28-year-old son’s killer was never caught. It is a trial she continues to endure; one she did not know how to handle in the beginning.

“I just didn’t know how to deal with it and I didn’t know how others were dealing with it and that’s what I needed,” she said.

Housley eventually founded Utah Homicide Survivors, which offers free group therapy, counseling services, legal advocacy and educational resources.

Executive Director Brandon Merrill said attendance at their events continues to grow year after year.

“Doing events like this will also get people to know that there is a community out there,” he said.

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services found the state averages 83 homicides per year. There was a total of 80 in 2022, 95 in 2021 and 103 in 2020.

Organizers hope keeping their memories alive with a Remembrance Wall will help families heal.

For more information about resources available to families of homicide victims, click here.

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Families of Utah homicide victims gather to support each other for National Day of Remembrance