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Families of homicide victims have a long road ahead

Relatives unable to grieve due to long court process
Posted at 4:16 PM, Dec 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-25 20:17:55-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Langhofers and Lakenda Johnson are part of a group that no one wants to call themselves a member of --- parents of children who have been murdered.

25-year-old Erin Langhofer and 21-year-old Mickell Tolbert were shot and killed in acts of gun violence.

For the Langhofers, their daughter's alleged shooter, 18-year-old Deon'te Copkney, is in jail.

"Now the trial has been scheduled for August of 2020," said Marcy Langhofer, Erin's mom. "So now we are just in a holding pattern."

Langhofer was shot and killed at First Fridays in August. She was caught in the crossfire of a fight that broke out.

Her parents said because of the countless court appearances, they can't grieve.

"The fact we are in a courtroom because our daughter was murdered is just surreal," said Tom Langhofer, Erin's dad.

Moving on with their lives also has been a battle for the family.

"We would like to grieve our daughter like most people," Tom Langhofer said. "When you lost somebody, we are unfortunately going to be dealing with this for another year."

Mickell Tolbert's family is in a different position. Her killer hasn't been arrested.

"That right there is very frustrating," said Lakenda Johnson, Tobert's mom.

KCPD said they do not have enough evidence to make an arrest.

"You took somebody's life. You don't have the right to do that," Johnson said.

Still today, Johnson has faith.

"I am waiting for the day he calls me and says, 'We got him,'" Johnson said.

Each family said they just want these chapters in their lives to close. But through tragedy, these parents have hope and are thankful for the community standing by their side.

"I have no doubt that [was] what has gotten us through this," Tom Langhofer said, "because, we have boxes of cards from people that we didn't even know. Churches all around the metro and all around the country."

They want you to remember these two takeaways. First, the violence needs to stop.

"Everyone in Kansas City, I just want them to come and let's work together," Johnson said. "Because if we don't, it's going to continue to happen."

And try to do the unthinkable this holiday season and new year -- forgive.

"That's what my faith tells me to do," Tom Langhofer said. "So that is my ultimate goal to forgive him. I just haven't gotten there yet."