September 05, 2006
Mother of murder victim survives, fights for daughter
By George P. Hassett
More than eleven years after her daughter Deanna was murdered, Katherine Cremin is still fighting for justice.
“I’m not a sleuth. I’m not an investigator or a detective. I’m just a mother who wants resolution,” Katherine said.
Deanna Cremin’s lifeless body was found March 30, 1995 behind a building at 125 Jaques Street by two children taking a shortcut to school. She had turned 17 just three days earlier.
Since that day, there have been over 100 police interviews, three “persons of interest,” and no arrests in the case. The Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office claims an investigation is ongoing but Katherine said she believes the search for her daughter’s murder has hit a dead end.
“There isn’t enough manpower in the Somerville Police Department to investigate an 11 year-old crime, I believe it is a cold case,” she said. The prosecutors and police who once promised to catch Deanna’s killer have moved onto new crimes and new jobs, she said.
So Katherine has taken it upon herself to find justice for her daughter. She said she has become more independent since the murder and works at finding the killer almost 24 hours a day. On Oct. 1 she will hold a silent march beginning at the corner of Temple and Jaques Street.
“One thing I have in my favor, is I know I will go to the end of the earth to find the person responsible for murdering my daughter,” she said.
Katherine Cremin remembers Deanna stealing her older sister’s clothes and covering up for her younger brother when he got into mischief.
“She was a real goofball,” Katherine said.
She remembers Deanna volunteering her time to work with special needs students, even going so far as to bring some of the children home.
“She always identified with the underdog. She was a teenager with goals, most of them centered on helping people in need,” Katherine said.
She remembers Deanna gladly spending hours on end with her grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, she said.
“She was simple in the things she enjoyed. Family was the most important thing for her. She always paid attention to the people who everybody else forgot about,” Katherine said.
“My mission is justice for my daughter”
But today, the details of death concern Katherine as much as the details of her daughter’s life.
She believes Deanna was killed by a jealous boyfriend who feared that Deanna may leave him. She has read dozens of his letters to Deanna and believes he was obsessed with her.
On the night of Deanna’s death, the boyfriend told police he walked her halfway home. Katherine says he had walked Deanna all the way home to her doorstep religiously every night before that one.
The boyfriend refused to answer questions at a grand jury hearing and refused to take a lie detector test, she said.
“[The boyfriend’s] actions caused me to be suspicious,” she said. “Why didn’t he ever help. Why did he never ask for information?”
Katherine said she believes the murder was an accident and a crime of passion, committed by someone Deanna knew.
“This wasn’t a savvy murder, it was an accident. Whoever put their hands around my daughter’s neck didn’t realize the power in their own hands,” she said. “[Deanna’s former boyfriend] has very big hands.”
Today, Katherine is using the Internet to spread the word about Deanna’s murder. She updates her myspace page, www.myspace.com/justicefordeanna every day. She has rented a billboard to advertise a $20,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of her daughter’s killer.
One year ago Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley announced there had been a possible break in the case. But still no arrests have been made or suspects named.
Katherine, who has moved out of Somerville to Malden, said she continues to grieve for her daughter and is still struck by “waves of grief” but she is past the stage of uncontrollable pain.
“I’ve become a lot stronger since my daughter was killed. I’m not organizing the march for her in a grieving manner, I’m being aggressive,” she said. “Deanna’s murder is unsolved and her killer is still walking among us, but I have to survive and I have to get justice for my daughter.