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New advocacy group planned

A new advocacy group is starting in Suffolk to bring healing to those hurt by losing a loved one through violence.

Joan Turner is starting a monthly advocacy group for parents and siblings of murdered and missing children. The group will hold its first meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. March 25 at the Suffolk Police Headquarters, 111 Henley Place.

Turner felt the need for this group after her son, Quantez Russell, went missing in November 2015. Then at the beginning of February, she heard about the murder of Diamonta Price in the news and on social media. Not knowing Price or his mother, Turner asked around for more information and visited the mother with some freshly cut flowers. After many tears and a heart-to-heart, Turner knew that her idea for an advocacy group was something she needed to make a reality.

“My heart still hurt,” said Turner. “I see all these Facebook posts about senseless deaths happening. I’ve had it in my heart for a minute and decided to finally put the group out there.”

At these meetings, Turner hopes that both parents and siblings in various stages of this grieving process will bring comfort and healing to those in similar situations. Being a former crime scene investigator and a grieving mother, she hopes to answer what life looks like after the death investigation and how to move forward while missing that loved one.

Turner hopes to hold these meetings on the fourth Thursday of every month. For this first meeting, she wants to sit back and see what needs are present and plan for future meetings. She hopes this will be a time to know each other’s story and support each other through this difficult time.

“Right now, we are just going to see how it pans out,” said Turner. “Eventually, I would like to ask chaplains from the police departments to be there and any other pastors or clergy to come and pray with us and for us, and we’d certainly receive that. The main thing is to get to know each other and see the needs people have.”

For the first meeting, Interim Chief Al Chandler will attend and say a few words. Turner also plans to tell her story. She also hopes to have a psychologist come and promote seeking professional help and its benefits.

“To me, it’s a big deal to support each other and share what we are going through,” said Turner.