LYNCHBURG, Va. – As of July 23rd, Lynchburg has seen seven homicides so far in 2021 — four of which are unsolved.
The uptick in violent crime has one mother taking action.
Latoya Watson has been leading weekly walks since her child, 23-year-old Erica Boykin, known to many as Nova Watson, was shot and killed June 14th.
“You won’t forget this baby,” said Watson while pointing to a picture of her child. “You see that beautiful face right there? You won’t forget that because you took that from me. I get no more, ‘Good morning, beautiful.’ I don’t get that anymore.”
The incident happened outside the Family Dollar store on Fort Avenue.
Lieutenant Adam Sexton says detectives have persons of interest but are not releasing names right now.
“We do know that there was a silver Dodge Journey that was seen coming out of the parking lot, approximately at the time that the victim was shot,” said Sexton.
As of July 23rd, Boykin is one of four unsolved homicides in 2021.
Another victim, 28-year-old Samantha Robinson, was shot the night of January 21st. Police say Robinson was simply driving down 12th Street near Kemper Street.
“We have our persons of interest in people that we think are related to this, but there’s not names we can put out right now,” said Sexton.
Three nights later — January 24th — 66-year-old Frank Smith was shot and killed during a family gathering on the 700 block of Madison Street.
Police consider 27-year-old Teron Slaughter a person of interest.
“[Slaughter’s] somebody that we would like to speak to, but at this point, he’s just a person of interest regarding that homicide,” said Sexton.
The fourth homicide victim, 37-year-old Marlon Williams, was gunned down near the Diamond Hill Rec Center in the early morning hours of March 22nd.
“We do have persons of interest in this case, but we’re also waiting for forensic evidence to come back from the lab to further our investigation,” said Sexton.
Watson says no parent should have to bury their child.
“When you talk to your child at 5:14 in the afternoon and get a call back at 5:38, and it’s your child; oh, it just hits your heart so different,” said Watson.
Police say people hesitant to come forward shouldn’t rely on others to do so. Any information could break a case.