Victims’ Loved Ones Still Feel Loss

Stella Bryan summed up the mood well Wednesday at the Murder Victims Day of Remembrance vigil at Heritage Port.

“The devastation eases over the years, but we think about him everyday,” she said.

Bryan talked about the events of Nov. 7, 1987 when her brother, Frank, died in the street of a gunshot would to the head.

“It’s been 26 years but we remember it like it was yesterday,” she said.

Jody Miller recalled the March 31, 2008 accident that claimed the life of her daughter, Heather, in Wheeling.

“She and I were planning her graduation from West Virginia University,” Miller said. “But she was taken away in a very violent way. The driver of the car served 45 days in jail and two years probation. We got a life sentence.”

Missy Goldbaugh remembered the death of her husband, former Wheeling Police Lt. William Goldbaugh, who was killed by a drunk driver in Florida.

“He never got to see his grandchildren or walk his daughter down the aisle.” she said. “It is an endless pain that will never go away.”

Charles Blankenship fondly remembered his sister Ashley, who was murdered in the North Park section of Wheeling on Sep. 13, 2009.

“She was an innocent victim who died because she had broken up with her boyfriend,” he said.

Sharon Parker, victim and witness coordinator for the Ohio County Prosecutor’s office, introduced the speakers and invited the survivors to the podium.

Ohio County Prosecutor Scott Smith, Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger and Deputy Chief Marty Kimball spoke of the importance of remembering the victims and their families and working to prevent other people from finding it necessary to attend such an event.

“We are here for the victims,” Schwertfeger said. “That’s why we do this job, to try to bring justice to the victims and their loved ones.”