ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Every day, dozens of families in our region grieve the loss of a loved one gone missing, or murdered.
Many, still awaiting answers.
On Thursday, Rochester police launched a website that could help the process of solving these cold cases. Some, dating as far as the ’70s.
The website is called Rochester NY Unsolved. Members of the public can submit anonymous tips, find basic info on any case, and reflect on their loved ones through a family forum.
“It’s going to be 49 years that he was killed as of today, it still hurts,” said Arleen Hyland, who lost her grandfather almost 50 years ago. “Two people walked into his store, he had a small ma and pop on Conkey Ave and Ave B, and they shot him three times, apparently trying to rob the store.”
The case is unsolved to this day.
Genora Wilder is experiencing a more recent grief for the loss of her son, who was murdered two years ago walking down the street.
“He was walking in the direction of the altercation, when someone, whoever he is thought my son was going to enter the fight and actually beat him to death,” Wilder said.
Their stories are why police and local community groups Roc the Peace and Young and Gifted Global Ministries had the idea for the website; to keep stories alive and bring awareness.
Police Chief Herriott Sullivan says witnesses are often scared to speak up, but this is a safe place for them to reconsider.
“Maybe some time has passed and it gives them some time to reflect, somebody might change their mind and come forward,” she said.
Police say it’s about humanizing victims and bringing closure, no matter how old the case is.
Ed Suk with Center for Missing and Exploited Children says some murder cases get more attention than others, going viral on social media, like the recent murder of 22 year-old Gabby Petito.
“It’s a very compelling story, social media influencer, there’s a person of interest, a body found, lot of components to this all happening in real time,” Suk said.
But at the same time, dozens of unsolved murder cases are right here in Rochester. And fresh eyes are important — no matter how old the cases are.
“The general public can really do some magical things,” he said. “When it comes to helping give resolution to these cases. Information about a missing child or adult may be found out in the woods by a hunter or a hiker.”
Suk says you can learn about local missing cases involving youth, at this link.