|1.||TURLEY, JAMES JOSEPH JR|
|PFC US ARMY|
|DATE OF BIRTH: 08/19/1968|
|DATE OF DEATH: 04/19/1994|
|BURIED AT: SECTION 43 SITE 1444|
|NATIONAL MEMORIAL CEMETERY OF ARIZONA|
|23029 NORTH CAVE CREEK ROAD PHOENIX, AZ 85024|
|(480) 513-3600 View Map|
Homicide victims' families gather to bond and grieve
By JAN RANSOM
Philadelphia Daily News
The tragedy that struck the Jenkins and Varga families in 2008 brought them closer together in a way they couldn't imagine.
Both families lost their children - Marine Sgt. Janek Pietrzak, 24, and his wife, Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak, 26, were slain in Southern California two months shy of their one-year wedding anniversary in October 2008.
The couple were found gagged, tied and shot execution style in their home. Four Marines were charged in their deaths.
Two years later, those two families and 300 other people from around the country have become part of a group of parents and relatives of slain children.
The National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children opened its 24th annual conference last night at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott with the unveiling of the "Murder Wall," a traveling tribute to the memories of slain sons and daughters.
"It was very touching, giving them honor which they deserve," said Henryka Varga, of New York, mother of Sgt. Pietrzak.
Her eyes were glossy as she stared at the wall's wooden panels.
Henryka and her husband, Milan Varga, were attending the ceremony for the first time. Quiana's parents, Roy and Glenda Jenkins, invited them.
"It helps you because this is where you can let your shield down," said Glenda Jenkins, 54, of San Bernardino, Calif.
The ceremony was an emotional one for Deborah Cunningham, 51, of Dexter, Maine.
Her eyes welled with tears as she watched the Pennsylvania State Police Honor Guard and New Jersey State Police Lt. Andre Curtis unveil the last plaque with 117 names.
Cunningham lost her 21-month-old grandson, Treven Jacob, and Mindy Gould, a friend of the family, in December 1999, after they were murdered execution style by Gould's ex-boyfriend.
"As you can see, every single one of these people here has lost someone," Cunningham said. "You can feel their anguish."
The three vacant spaces on the 31st plaque will undoubtedly be filled by next year's ceremony, said Nancy Ruhe, the executive director of NOPMC.
"There are families sitting there watching TV with loved ones," Ruhe said. "Little do they know they're going to join a group that no one wants to join. All you have left is a name on a plaque."