By Erica Morse
Publisher, Victims News Online
Published 8:10 a.m., September 27, 2022
(Michigan City, Indiana) — Kalvon Hawkins had it all. He was married to his high school sweetheart, father to three beautiful children, and had his own business which he built from the ground up. It was the kind of life everyone wishes for, in the small Indiana town of Michigan City, nestled on Lake Michigan, where the sun shines brightly four months of the year, and summers are made for being outdoors.
In July 2011, however, Kalvon Hawkins’ perfect world was shattered.
In the summer of 2011, Kalvon developed a gut feeling that something bad was about to happen to his only daughter, 17-year-old NeKeisha. She was nearing her 18th birthday, asserting her independence as most teenagers do, spending the majority of her time away from home.
On July 24th, 2011, Kalvon Hawkins watched his daughter walk out of the house, claiming she was going to visit her grandfather.
Less than an hour later, NeKeisha Hodges-Hawkins was dead. It was four days before her 18th birthday.
Days later, her father stood in front of her casket and made his only daughter a promise: “As long as I am breathing, you will never be forgotten”.
What followed was a five-year battle for justice. After burying his only daughter, Kalvon Hawkins turned his rage towards the shooters, and vowed never to give up until the person who fired the bullet into Keisha was charged with and convicted of her murder. During that heartbreaking and infuriating journey, Kalvon reports being harassed by the Chief of Police and the Mayor at his business. He recalls being repeatedly warned by a friend in law enforcement to watch his back and describes the desperation and rage that comes from a father seeking justice while being targeted by the police for doing so.
Justice for NeKeisha: A Father’s Pain is a gut-wrenching story on many levels. Kalvon Hawkins give us an inside look into how one parent’s intuition regarding his daughter’s safety grew from fear to panic over the span of several weeks, ultimately ending in heartbreak. He takes us into his personal hell, as he shifted from depression to anger, from grief to vengeance, describing in riveting detail how he felt betrayed by law enforcement and his own family for wanting to put away the person responsible for murdering his child.
In Justice for NeKeisha: A Father’s Pain, Kalvon Hawkins bears his soul to share the trauma and grief no parent of a murdered child should ever have to live: a years’-long quest for justice that was messy, painful, isolating and agonizing. It is impossible to read this book without feeling his journey from desperation to hopelessness, rage to revenge, as he details a five-year battle for answers and justice.
This book is also a heartbreaking reminder of the disconnects that take place between law enforcement moving onto other cases and families of murder victims desperately seeking answers. Kalvon Hawkins describes – in great detail – several instances of feeling harassed and intimidated into backing off his daughter’s case, while feeling targeted by those sworn to protect and serve. Like many parents in his position, he replays attempt after attempt to meet with – and receive updates from – the Michigan City Police Department, only to feel ignored and alienated for years — while Keisha’s killer walked free, continuing to commit more dangerous crimes.
In the end, Kalvon Hawkins’ journey – shared in a very raw and poignant way – symbolizes what any parent in his situation may do to get answers and justice. His motto, “You cannot hurt a hurt man” showcases the gaping wounds only caused by the unexpected death of a child, and gives us an inside look at how ambiguous loss and post-traumatic stress can cause a constant and obsessive need for closure.
Justice for NeKeisha: A Father’s Pain, written by Kalvon Hawkins with award-winning author S.L. Jackson, will be released Friday, September 30, 2022. It is currently available for pre-sale on Book Baby.
Book cover photo provided by Danielle Stark, owner of Moments Captured by Danielle Stark.