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Feeling a Victim's Pain

When her daughter was murdered and another daughter attacked and left for dead, Lorraine Whoberry fought for answers but was ignored. Now she fights on behalf of victims' families everywhere.

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Lorraine Whoberry felt like a criminal the day her daughter was murdered.

On January 29, 1999, Lorraine received a call at work from a law enforcement officer who informed her that she needed to go home, but refused to tell her why. She arrived to find her house surrounded by police and emergency vehicles, but still no one would give her any explanations. Not until more than an hour later did she learn from her fiancÉ that her daughter Stacie was dead and her daughter Kristie critically wounded.

Distraught, Lorraine demanded answers, but her questions continued to be ignored. Instead, she was ushered to a neighbor's house where police interrogated her for two and a half hours as they tried to determine her part, if any, in the crime.

"I felt belittled, unworthy, angry, and frustrated," says Lorraine. "I was being interrogated, but the questions I was asking were being ignored. It was as if I were the criminal."

When the detectives finally cleared her and allowed her to go to the hospital to see Kristie, the officers who drove her spoke about their families and plans for the weekend while she sat in shock in the back seat. At the hospital they headed to the farthest parking lot, never telling Lorraine they were avoiding media camped out at the main entrance. The receptionist popped her gum and said, "We ain't got nobody here by that name," in response to Lorraine's inquiries about her daughter. A manager arrived, only to ask Lorraine to wait a half hour for the shift change for a social worker.

Finally, hours later, this frantic mother, who knew only that one daughter had been murdered and the other attacked, was allowed to see her child. The doctor, not the police, gave Lorraine the details of what had happened: Stacie Reed, 16, had been murdered by an acquaintance who had stalked her for weeks; Kristie Reed, 14, had been raped, strangled, and stabbed. Her wrists were cut, her throat repeatedly slashed. The same man who had killed Stacie had then left Kristie for dead.

A Victim of the System

With little time to grieve one daughter, Lorraine spent weeks at her living daughter's bedside, praying and hoping that she wouldn't lose both her girls, that the killer would be caught, and that she would be able to understand why this had happened.

Not understanding why God had allowed this tragedy, she knew she could either blame him and turn away, or turn to him and allow him to comfort and strengthen her even in the midst of her confusion and pain. She chose to dive into her Christian faith.

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From Issue:
Today's Christian Woman, 2013, January/February
Posted January 3, 2013

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Feeling a Victim's Pain