Families of violent crime victims remember loved ones

Families of violent crime victims remember loved ones

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BY LORI TUCKER
6 News Anchor

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The holidays can sometimes be bittersweet. The love, warmth and affection associated with the season can bring families together.

But sadly, those same memories can be a reminder of loved ones no longer living, especially those who were lost to violent crimes.

Friday night, hundreds flocked to the Knoxville City-County Building, placing ornaments on a Remembrance Tree, so that those lost in such a terrible fashion would never be forgotten.

Hugh and Mary Newsom, familiar faces to many, joined the crowd at a place where they have been so many times under very different circumstances.

"We've been here 289 times for court appearances," Hugh Newsom, father of Chris Newsom said. "This is one of the few times I've walked in here without being depressed."

The Newsoms lost their son and his girlfriend, Channon Christian, in 2007.

Friday's ceremony was a reminder that the Newsoms were not the only ones who had lost family and friends due to violent crime. Over 100 families placed ornaments on this year's Remembrance Tree.

"This is not a group that you want to be a member of, but this is something very special for our loved ones that we've lost," Joan Berry said. "We really appreciate everyone coming out to support us."

Berry organized the event through a non-profit group she founded, Hope for Victims. She is no stranger to loss. Her daughter, Johnia, was killed in December 2004.

Members of local law enforcement made their way to the event to show their support for the families as well.

"One of the things I've tried to bring to this department and to this city is an understanding of victims and their families," Knoxville Police Department Chief David Rausch said. "Really trying to bring closure."

Some families have been bearing the burden of loss for years. For others, the grief may be new, but Friday they all shared a sad bond that, in its own way, may provide a small amount of peace.

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