NewsLocal News


Virtual vigil will raise awareness for nearly 300 unsolved homicides in Kansas City

Event will last all weekend
Posted at 11:50 AM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 21:12:30-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Corey's Network, Inc. is leading a virtual vigil that will last all weekend to raise awareness for nearly 300 unsolved homicides in the Kansas City metro.

Advocacy groups, anti-violence organizations and law enforcement are joining in on the vigil.

"If we flood social media enough to make people understand how large this issue is, then hopefully more people will take action," said Shelley Metje, founder of Corey's Network.

Every 10 minutes, the group plans to post a flier of an unsolved homicide so that no one forgets the victims' faces. Some of the cases date as far back as 1970.

"Over the next 60 hours, I hope there's a huge ripple, that this kind of stops people in their tracks and lets them understand how difficult it is for families to actually get the attention they need at this time," Metje said.

The vigil started Friday morning and will end at 9 p.m. Sunday.

"I don't know what happened," said Aishah Coppage, a woman trying to cope with two homicides in her family.

It's understandably difficult for Coppage to talk about the murders of her 8-year-old son, Montell Ross, and 9-year-old nephew, Jayden Ugwuh, who were shot and killed on Aug. 13, 2016.

The boys are included in the weekend vigil, too.

"It's Friday going into a Saturday, and the kids were allowed to stay up later than usual. They were up playing video games," Coppage said. "My son, Montell, was sitting in front of the window. The guy stood at the window and shot through the window."

Coppage said Montell was shot in the head. Montell's sister was grazed by a bullet. Jayden was shot as he was running.

Detectives believe two men shot into the home, killing both boys. Police haven't identified or arrested any suspects in connection with the deadly shooting.

This has taken a toll on Coppage's family in many ways — from moving multiple times, to her other children feeling scared to sleep alone, to only feeling safe in an apartment above the ground floor.

Coppage and her sister vowed they would never go back to the house at East 57th Street and College Avenue, where their youngest boys were murdered.

"It's a big change. The fact that these people have not been arrested, they still have that in their heads," Coppage said.

Coppage hopes the virtual vigil will spark a needed change of heart for someone to come forward not just for her family, but for the hundreds of others also left without answers.

Corey's Network usually holds an in-person vigil every summer but had to go virtual this year due to COVID-19. However, the message is still the same.

The mission is "to increase awareness, provide support for surviving victims and families, and find potential justice and healing for those affected by the 'Homicide Pandemic' currently impacting our community."

If your loved one's homicide case hasn't been solved and you want their names added to the virtual vigil, contact Corey's Network on Facebook.