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'Pain hasn't gone away': Baldwin County NAACP, city leaders meet to find answers to unsolved homicides

Over 15 city officials– including the mayor, city councilmen, county commissioners, and the district attorney– and the public were invited to attend

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — It was a full house Monday night at the Union Baptist Church in Milledgeville. 

Over 15 city officials– including the mayor, city councilmen, county commissioners, and the district attorney– and the public were invited to attend a forum hosted by the Baldwin county chapter of the NAACP.

Several topics came up, but most folks were there to hear about the unsolved murders of Black people in the county since 2018. 

13WMAZ’s Jessica Cha was there to hear what folks had to say. 

"We have taken an oath to be the voice for the voiceless here in our county,” says Cynthia Ward-Edwards, president of the Baldwin County NAACP chapter. 

She says Monday night's forum is a continuation of one held in 2018 about the unsolved murders of Black people. She said it was also a chance for folks to ask questions directly to city officials.

"There's not a whole lot that has happened and we still want answers or to see where we are before the case goes what we call 'cold case,'” Ward-Edwards explains. 

Analdo Reaves’ wife, Veronique Reaves, was murdered in 2017. A school teacher, she was driving home from work when someone fired a shot into the car. Reaves says it’s been five years since then and there’s still been no new information. 

He says he’s hoping for some kind of resolution.

"At least some kind of peace, as in, 'Let's be vigilant,' and going and finding the ones that are still in community that committed these murders,” he says. 

Reaves has been raising his two daughters alone since then. He says they've been OK, but the pain hasn't gone away and they want closure.

"A lot of people are missing people, and on top of missing people who they love in their family, we've got unsolved murders that's going on. Just hoping that we can get some justice for the people that are not with us and haven't had any justice,” Reaves says. 

Sheriff Bill Massee says his office currently has eight unsolved homicides, and Chief of Police Dray Swicord says his office has six.

They both say they've been continuing to investigate these unsolved homicides with new technology and working with different departments. 

However, they say that they’re not only dealing with staffing shortages, but another problem, too. 

"It's people in the community not helping us,” explains Massee. “People that we think are involved and they would not sit down and interview with us.” 

"We've gone several times to Crimestoppers trying to get people to come forward. We just don't have anyone to come forward, and there's no way that anybody hasn't seen these incidents take place,” says Swicord. 

Things got heated as details of cases were discussed, but Ward-Edwards says it's going to take a village to solve these cases.

"We got to do a better job as well to help them do their job because somebody has seen something,” she says. 

The group also discussed how tax dollars are being used, if more security cameras could be installed, and if there is money to hire more investigators for law enforcement.

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