ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Benn E. Tennin II was 14 on Feb. 23, 2002, the day his grandmother, Lottie Flowers, was stabbed to death in her Rockford home.
Tennin and the rest of his family were perplexed over why someone would brutally kill a 71-year-old church usher and beloved member of the community.
Now, 20 years later, they’re even more baffled because her killer still hasn’t been brought to justice.
“It saddens my heart to know that an elderly lady, who was well loved in her community, can’t get justice from the community that she loved so dearly,” Tennin said.
Flowers was the president of the West Side Neighborhood Association, head of the usher board at Pilgrim Baptist Church, and someone who loved to cook for family, friends, and just about anyone she knew.
The longtime Warner-Lambert employee was baking pies for an event at Pilgrim Baptist when someone entered her Newport Avenue home and stabbed her multiple times, leaving her to bleed to death. That morning, she delivered newspapers at Rockford Memorial Hospital.
The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI developed a number of suspects over the years, but none panned out. Flowers’ family had their suspicions, too, but could never produce enough evidence to help police bring anyone in.
One of the suspects on the family’s radar has since died, Tennin said, adding that though he’s confident there are people right here in Rockford with vital information, he’s not banking on them coming forward.
“At this point, any information that anybody has will just get swept under a rug,” he said. “I have come to terms that her killer will never be found nor will it have any impact on my family.”
There are glimmers of hope, however. The investigation could take a turn at any time. Until it does, Tennin will continue to cherish the memories of the woman who had a tremendous impact on his life.
“The pain that I feel every day will help me evolve into the kind of person she raised me to be,” he said.
Anyone with information about the murder of Lottie Flowers is asked to contact the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office at 815-319-6400, email ColdCases@wcso-il.us, or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 815-963-7867.