Crime victims to be remembered at candlelighting service Monday

The Wyandotte County community, families of fallen victims, and community officials will come together on Monday, April 30, to remember those who have lost their lives to homicide in 2017.

The Crime Awareness Coordinating Effort (C.A.C.E.), a program service of Friends of Yates, Inc. and co-sponsored by the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Victim Assistance Program along with the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department’s Victim Services Unit, will hold its 19th Annual Memorial – Candle Lighting Service and Forum in recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

This year’s theme is “Expand the Circle, Reach All Victims.”

The event will be held again this year at Forest Grove Baptist Church, 1417 N. 9th St., Kansas City, Kansas, where the Rev. Desmond Lamb is the host pastor. A light dinner will be provided to guests beginning at 4:30 to 6 p.m., followed by the program from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The Crime Awareness Coordinating Effort (C.A.C.E.) was developed after the death of a 10-year-old girl in Kansas City, Kansas. This tragic event created great concern throughout the Kansas City, Kansas community, according to a spokesman.

In response to the outrage, a forum was called by Friends of Yates, Inc. and members of the Baptist Minister’s Union on Oct. 27, 1998, to bring together local businesses, law enforcement personnel, community leaders and concerned citizens to begin the dialogue about how crime was depilating the Kansas City, Kansas, community.

More important, Friends of Yates, Inc. wanted to challenge these community leaders to design a strong plan to address the violence in the area, the spokesman stated. Through the efforts of Friends of Yates, Inc., a collaborative partnership was formed and became known as the Crime Awareness Coordinating Effort (C.A.C.E.).

This year’s memorial service will remember the 48 victims of homicide, serve as a support system for victims’ families and educate the Wyandotte County community on the progress made to diminish the threat of violence throughout the community.

Major Kelli Baliff, Wyandotte County Sheriff’s office, will serve as this year’s event emcee. This year’s guest panelist will include District Attorney Mark Dupree, Wyandotte County Office of the District Attorney; Deputy Chief Tyrone Garner, Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department; Sheriff Don Ash, Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department; Damon Daniel, president, AdHoc Group Against Crime; Arica Roland, program director, Friends of Yates; Kristen Czugala, program supervisor, KCKPD Victim Services Unit; Lindy Russel, victim-witness coordinator, Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office; and Shanta Barnett, mother of homicide victims.

KCKPD homicide unit captains and detectives will also be on site to meet with families and members of the community.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information about this and other programs and services sponsored by Friends of Yates, Inc, or for ways to support, volunteer or donate to the agency, contact the administrative office at 913-321-1566 or visit the website at

– Information from Friends of Yates, Inc.

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