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Families of Missing Women Work Together to Save the Next Girl - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Families of Missing Women Work Together to Save the Next Girl

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The families of five murdered or missing women across central Virginia are working together to help save the next girl.

They shared their stories in Lynchburg Saturday afternoon in a call for community action to prevent another young woman from becoming a victim.

The families joined forces to spotlight what they say is a staggering problem along the Route 29 corridor.

They say it will take preparing for the worst and participating in our community to prevent anyone else from going through their pain.

Trina Murphy, Alexis Murphy’s great-aunt said, “We talk to our kids about drugs, alcohol, sex. We need to talk to them about being abducted because it's real. It happens.”

The family of missing Nelson County teenager Alexis Murphy stands strong next to those they have bonded with through their loss.

“We need each other,” Trina said. “There is nobody that understands what we're going through except those of us who are going through it. So it's very important for us to stick together.”

The group was brought together Saturday at Miller Park by Lynchburg-based “Self Help Obtaining Positive Opportunities” (SHOPO) and the Help Save the Next Girl organization.

Gil Harrington, mother of Morgan Harrington, said, “Our tears are the same color. Our children's blood is the same color.”

Gil created Help Save the Next Girl in memory of her murdered daughter Morgan. It aims at shedding light on the 15 murdered and missing persons cases in central Virginia since 2009.

“We seem to be having a little crime spree in our part of the world and it needs to be addressed,” Gil says. “It's a problem.”

The newest case added to the group's list is that of Jamisha Gilbert, whose body was found in Lynchburg last week.

Gilbert's friends say her situation has taught them to take more precautions for their own personal safety.

“Anything can happen. It can be an old woman, to an old man, to a baby,” says Shadina Hill-Watkins, close friend of Gilbert. “You never know what could happen so I would like people to watch their surroundings more.”

The families of Cassandra Morton, Cara Holley, and Heather Hodges also spoke at Saturday’s event.

Gilbert's friends collected donations to help her family with burial costs. They have organized a candlelit vigil for Monday night at Megginson School on Spinoza Circle Lynchburg. Gilbert's family will receive visitors at the wake Tuesday night at Community Funeral Home.

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