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Homicide Victims Gone, but Not Forgotten

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) - It's wasn't supposed to be this way. Kathy McKay wasn't supposed to lose her daughter.

"You never forget...every single day you remember," McKay says. "It's such a horrific, horrific time in your life."

13-year-old Emilia Roberts wasn't supposed to lose her role model.

"Kinda hard to think of growing up with her not being there for my wedding...or prom." Roberts says.

That's what death can do - especially a sudden, violent death. It can take an ordinary life, an ordinary family, and break it into pieces.

"You're numb, you're totally numb," McKay says.

Sarah McKay - who was Kathy's daughter and Emilia's Mother - was killed by her boyfriend back in 2010 in Iowa City. She was only 34, Sarah was one of many lost to violent crimes over the years in Eastern Iowa.

Kathy McKay says the love and support of other surviving families is what keeps everyone strong, as they come together to think about the moments that tore them apart.

"We can't be alone; we have to know that someone else is here for us."

Friday night was about taking these moments, reflecting on them, and finding comfort and peace - whether it's in the flickering light of a candle, or a heavenly thought.

"She's probably having a cup of coffee and looking down and saying oh isn't that nice," McKay said.

That peace can be found in the harmony of a note, or the simple beauty of a thorny rose - a rose that reminds you that all at once, life can be painful, simple...and beautiful.

"Her favorite color was pink," Emilia says, looking over at a bouquet set up on a table. "They would all be for her, honestly."

So far this year, Cedar Rapids has seen seven homicides. That's more in four months than the area has seen in any given year in recent decades. Three of those are still being investigated by police.
 
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