Published 8:00 a.m., November 7, 2022
Today marks 10 years since a brutal crime was committed in my hometown, stealing a beloved individual from us all. His loss was felt throughout the community, and within my own family. The heinous murder of long-time teacher and theatre coach Gerald ‘Jerry’ Peters caught our small town off-guard, and brought awareness to the fact that his killers were four young men, so desperate for the pin number to his debit card that they beat him to death.
The next morning, upon hearing the news, I became enraged. One of his killers was a missing person for whom our team had searched. Another was a young homeless man, with nowhere to turn.
It was in that moment I questioned everything. Who are the victims and who are the perps? Why did one of ours kills Jerry? Were those boys so desperate that they felt murder was their only option? Why didn’t someone help THEM? If someone had helped those four boys when they were in need, would that have prevented this heinous crime?
I sat down that night at my laptop, trying to find the words. The frustration mounted. I wrote one piece, then decided to rip law enforcement for the public torture Clint Dunn was enduring while trying to find his missing child. Then, it was Mark’s Ysasaga’s case, and the handling of his disappearance. And Candice Shields. And Billy Smolinski. And before that night was over, I had written so much that I needed a place to put it all.
That was the moment Victims News Online was born.
Happy 10th anniversary to my baby. My creation, my legacy, my vision. In 10 years, we have aided in three convictions, six major arrests (two pending trials), and reunited 62 families with their missing loved ones. Our team has brought awareness to issues affecting the missing, murdered, exploited & abused, and we have given a voice to many affected by the untimely loss of a loved one.
And on this 10th anniversary, we know there is much more work to do.
Thank you to everyone who has supported this paper, and to the families and victims who have entrusted us to tell their stories. Every victim deserves a voice. Today, we renew that promise to all who need one that we will be there with you every step of the way.
— Erica Morse, Founder/Publisher, Victims News Online