ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — It is not even halfway through the year, and 12 people have been killed in Winnebago County. Nine of those happened in Rockford.
Those victims, and victims of the past, were honored on Monday night at the “Carol McFeggan Memorial Service,” which has been happening for more than a decade. The ceremony is named after the woman who founded the “Rockford Homicide Survivors Support Group.”
Families said that the group has been their backbone through such a tragic situation.
“We just miss him dearly,” said Lisa Valentine, who was remembering her late fiancé Mike. “He was the best in our eyes and irreplaceable.”
Valentine was joined with many others mourning the loss of a loved one on Monday night. It was the 18th year that the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office has hosted the homicide victim memorial.
Teresa Lazzerini, victim service provider for the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office, provides support to the families of victims.
“Families of victims of violent crimes are in a group all by themselves,” Lazzerini said. “It has such a profound impact on their life, and it’s a nice way for the community to just come together and to let them know we’re here, we care, we support you.”
Tracy Box-Netters keeps her sister Monica’s name alive. She said that aid from the state’s attorney’s office helped her through her grief.
“I had a lot of support from the State’s Attorney’s Victim Advocate Department,” Box-Netters said. “My advocate was so wonderful. She went to every court hearing.”
Lazzerini added that, with the rate of murders rising in Rockford, the group is even more important. For Valentine, it is hard to feel comfortable going out in public.
“It’s very scary here in Rockford these days, and Mike was real protective of me and my daughter, so us going out is very different if we don’t have people we feel are going to protect us if needed,” Valentine said.
The support group meets every third Wednesday of each month. More resources can be found on the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office’s website.