Family, friends pay tribute to alleged 'Grim Sleeper' victims

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Julio Morales/KPCC

Diane McQueen, from left, Shamika Smith, and Javonna Peters, talk to the press on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010 outside Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles. They paid tribute to their family member Janecia Peters, in the picture, who was believed to be the last victim of the 'Grim Sleeper' serial killer in 2007.

About 100 people on Tuesday night paid tribute to 10 women, all believed to be victims of the Grim Sleeper serial killer who police arrested last month.

Family members, friends, and city officials read Scripture, sang songs and shed tears at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church to remember the women killed allegedly by Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 57, who was arrested July 9.

"I regret that my husband is not alive to see the day that the person who took her life was arrested," said Maria Ware, the stepmother of Barbara Ware, who was killed in 1987, and who left behind a daughter, now 31-years-old. "The whole ordeal created a bond with other family members."

It was an emotional service as some family members carried framed pictures of their loved ones. The service opened with "Amazing Grace" and readings of Scripture from the Old and New testaments.

Porter Alexander's daughter, Alicia, disappeared on Sep., 11, 1988.

"Words cannot say how my heart feels to see all of us here together, comforting one another as a community," he said. "We never should let this happen again in our community

Kenneitha Lowe said she had faith that the killer would be caught eventually, but never imagined it would take as long as it did. Lowe's sister Mary Lowe was killed in 1987, and is believed to have been a victim of the "Grim Sleeper."

Lowe said her sister Mary was an aspiring model who would always rub Kenneitha's belly when she was pregnant with her eldest son.

"She never got a chance to meet her nephew and niece," Lowe said.

Councilman Bernard Parks thanked the Los Angeles police detectives in attendance who worked the case and told the crowd that tonight's memorial should help the healing process.

But as the cases wind through court new "sores and scabs" will return, he said. The journey is not over for those families that had lost a family member and were robbed of birthday and graduation celebrations, Parks said.

"We always have to remember the families who live with this," Parks said. "We have to keep them in our memories."

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