WALKER COUNTY HOSTS VIGIL FOR VIOLENT CRIME VICTIMS

It’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, and Walker County paid tribute to crime and domestic violence victims in a big way Tuesday evening.

Crime victim advocate Deborah Bowie said it’s easy to help anyone in need.

“The most important thing that you can do is do something,” she said. “Don’t do nothing.”

Family, friends and crime victims’ advocates came out to the annual candlelight vigil, honoring those who have been hurt or lost their lives in violent crimes.

The event is now the largest victims’ rights event in the state.

Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair said it’s rare anyone does anything for crime victims.

“The court system is there to protect the defendant,” he said. “There’s very few things that are set up for the victim, and the victim is forgotten.”

Several speakers shared their stories, including Bowie and elder care advocate Kerri Kasem, daughter of Casey Kasem.

Bowie said her sister was murdered in a home invasion robbery 23 years ago in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

“Her entire homicide was caught on a home security camera,” she said. “Most people would deem that an open and shut case, but it was not open and shut because we’re actually still in court.”

Kasem came to the event to bring awareness to something often not talked about: violence against seniors. Her father, iconic Top-40 DJ and voice actor Casey Kasum, was a victim, and she formed Kasem Cares Foundation to establish and fight for the rights of ailing parents under the control of an uncooperative spouse or relative.

“Elder abuse is a silent epidemic,” she said. “Nobody talks about it.”

While issues such as child abuse and domestic violence were often swept under the table 30 to 40 years ago, elder abuse is still a situation rarely spoken of.

“We’re all going to get old,” Kasem said.

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