One tip. One moment. It’s all we need.

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[box type=”info”] Anyone with information regarding Deanna’s murder can confidentially contact the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office at 617-679-6660, the Somerville Police at 617-625-1600 or anonymously text a tip to the police at TIP411 with subject 617SPD. [/box]

Somerville mayor seeks justice for Deanna Cremin

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By Joseph A. Curtatone, Mayor of Somerville

Someone knows. Eighteen years have passed since the murder of Deanna Cremin. Seasons have come and gone without justice for a Somerville High School student who loved children, became the neighborhood babysitter, who worked with third graders, volunteered her time with special needs students and aspired to become a preschool teacher. The person who assaulted and killed Deanna three days after her 17th birthday robbed a young woman, her family and this community of a brilliant life that had touched so many others and held such promise for a future that cruelly will never come. Our grief does not subside but relentlessly aches as the years pass, fueled by the terrible knowledge of one fact: Someone knows who killed Deanna Cremin.

We are waiting. We wait for someone to step forward and provide the information that cannot hope to render our heartache any less, but can provide that small but precious gift of mercy, knowing that the murderer of an innocent girl has been held accountable. That mercy would not only embrace Deanna’s friends, family and our community, who will always wonder what might have been, but would no longer have to wonder who. That mercy would also embrace the person who provides the information that leads to the arrest of a murderer, gracing that person’s conscience with absolution after 18 years of bearing that knowledge, lifting a great weight that must grow more oppressive every day.

The phones in the Somerville Police Department and Middlesex District Attorney’s Office sit in wait, every ring a faint signal of hope that somewhere, someone knows. Anyone with information regarding Deanna’s murder can confidentially contact the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office at 617-679-6660, the Somerville Police at 617-625-1600 or anonymously text a tip to the police at TIP411 with subject 617SPD. One tip. One moment. It’s all we need.

Deanna was murdered the night of March 29, 1995. She had been walking home from her boyfriend’s house, who said he walked her halfway home. Around 8 a.m. the following morning, two girls that Deanna previously babysat found her body behind a senior housing complex on Jaques Street. She had been strangled and sexually assaulted, according to the autopsy, and left lying in the open. Deanna was less than a block from home.

The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office released a description and composite sketch of a man seen near where Deanna was found, wanting to question him in connection with Deanna’s murder, describing him as between 40 and 45 years old, between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-11 and between 160 and 170 pounds. No arrest was made. Somerville Police identified three separate persons of interest. No charges were filed. Days became weeks, weeks became months, months became years. Deanna’s murderer walks free.

Last Thursday, I attended a ceremony to mark the addition of 66 new names to the Garden of Peace memorial on Beacon Hill, which pays somber tribute to the victims of homicide. Deanna’s name, etched onto a smooth stone, was among those added, as was the name of Christopher J. Souza, who was murdered in his Mystic Housing apartment in Somerville in 2009. As all 66 new names were read aloud, my heart grew heavy, and it was especially difficult to hear Deanna’s mother, Katherine Cremin, read the name of her daughter. No mother should have to bear such a burden, and the memorial is a stark reminder that we cannot forget this.

Deanna’s name now lies beside the names of almost 860 other murder victims, a permanent reminder of injustice. Even without her stone in that memorial, Deanna would not be forgotten. We have not forgotten. Her family and friends have not forgotten. In March, they held a prayer service at St. Ann’s Church, where Deanna was baptized. They walked the way home that Deanna never got to finish. The corner of Jaques Street and Temple Street is forever named Deanna Cremin Square. Her family delicately hangs a wreath from the square’s sign every year. Each year, they put up a billboard offering a $20,000 reward, asking simply that someone come forward.

Deanna is not forgotten. We are waiting. Someone out there has the ability to help Deanna’s family, her friends and our community heal. Deanna’s murder has left an indelible stain on our community. We wait for the day when we are absolved of this painful unanswered question, when we are granted a small mercy and that will be returned in kind to the person who can help us answer that question. Someone knows who killed Deanna Cremin. We are waiting for your call.

Somerville’s Deanna Cremin joins Garden of Peace Memorial

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In an emotional ceremony before more than 300 onlookers, 66 names were added to the Garden of Peace memorial on Beacon Hill Thursday night, victims of violence who Massachusetts hopes will never be forgotten.

Local and state officials joined residents at the garden on Cambridge Street for the ninth annual Honor Program to commemorate hundreds of victims who lost their lives to murder.

“I feel, to be honest, excited, because it’s always a moving ceremony,” said Leah Green, chairwoman of the memorial’s board of directors. “Everyone here has a common theme of having lost a loved one to murder … so we try to make the program insightful and inspiring and hopeful.

“We want to make it a place that people can honor those loved ones that a lot of times don’t get remembered in a way that they should.”

The Garden of Peace is a memorial with a streambed of smooth river stones etched with the names of those who fell victim to homicide in Massachusetts from as early as the mid-1940s, and it seeks to remind and teach visitors of the impact of violence.

With the 66 names added Thursday, the memorial now has about 860 stones lining the garden edges, Green said. There were 52 names added last year.

During the ceremony, sobs echoed through a courtyard next to the garden as members of the community and loved ones of homicide victims read the names being inducted.

One of those readers was Katherine Cremin, of Somerville, who attended to honor her daughter Deanna, who was killed in 1995 at the age of 17. Her murder case remains unsolved, and on Thursday night, Deanna’s name was added to the hundreds of other slaying victims.

“For me tonight, getting her name out here, is an honor,” Cremin said. “It’s a bittersweet ceremony that my daughter’s name lives on forever. But for me, it’s also to let the killer know that we are not giving up and we are coming after him. There’s a murderer walking among us and it’s an unsafe world and he attacked my family, and I want him off the street.”

The memorial garden also features a water fountain, which was installed in 2004 when the garden opened, but did not begin operating until this year due to a lack of funding.

The foundation sits at the base of a sculpture of Ibis Ascending, which is a sculpture of long-legged birds aiming toward the sky and signaling hope for those that are grieving.

According to information from the Boston Police Department and the Suffolk district attorney’s office, there were 51 murders in the Boston in 2012.

The Garden of Peace acts as an educational tool utilized to increase awareness of such violence.

“Every person is an ambassador for the message of ending violence,” said Andrea Cabral, secretary of the state’s executive office of public safety and security, who attended Thursday night. “Every person is a potential actor in the goal of ending violence and that’s where I think the education comes in. You hear, you see, you sit next to people, you feel, and that ought to compel you to act in some way.”

Thursday’s ceremony was led by Attorney General Martha Coakley.

The concept for the Garden of Peace was created about 16 years ago. With funding from corporate sponsors including Suffolk University, Suffolk Construction Co., and private donors, the garden was opened in 2004.

“I feel sad,” Cabral said. “I’ve been in law enforcement for 28 years and that’s a long time to be witness to this level of pain, but i’m also uplifted by the strength that I see in people, their determination to keep going, their determination to try to end all this violence. I want to hug everybody.”

Walk Deanna Home

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Walk Deanna Home: A walk to remember
On April 3, 2013, in Latest News, by The News Staff

 

The black-paved basketball court at the Winter Hill School filled up by 5 p.m. on Saturday. It was not just full of people in support of Deanna Cremin, a seventeen year-old Somerville girl murdered in March of 1995. It was full of remembrance for Deanna. Passion and spirit for her, a momentous energy, a determination and strength to keep living for her, and a unified desire for closure, to find and to sentence her killer once and for all. “Blessed are those who mourn,” those gathered were reminded early on in the ceremonies.

 

Deanna’s family formed the core of those in attendance, led by her mother Katherine in a spring-green jacket. Some wore shirts with “Who Killed Deanna Cremin?” on the back. Others wore shirts with “Justice for Deanna” on the front. Randy Bevins, Deanna’s close friend, reminded the crowd that Deanna aspired to work with children as children played about the adjacent playground, unaware of the gravity of the situation.

 

“This is a wound that will never heal,” Bevins said to the crowd, who filled more than half the basketball court. “We must band together and demand justice for Deanna.”

 

A colored-in map of the United States takes up part of the court, a symbol of justice next to where the children whisper-yelled down the slide. But when Jesse Klinger, leader and organizer of Walk Deanna Home, asked for the representative of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office to say a few words on any progress made in the case recently, nobody stepped up to the podium.

 

The crowd did not let that moment of disappointment shadow the early evening. With spring so close, and with it being the 18th anniversary of Deanna’s death, this was a day to remember Deanna’s life, a day for hope the way she clearly inspired hope in so many others throughout her life.

 

“Every bit of energy creates a force that will not be denied,” said Katherine Cremin, Deanna’s mother, in the closing of the ceremony. Then it was time to walk Deanna home.

 

The group walked as one up Sycamore Street and to Broadway, stopping at 419 Broadway, where Deanna’s boyfriend Tommy LeBlanc used to live. Where she watched a TV show with him the night she was strangled.

 

“We haven’t heard from Tommy in eighteen years,” said Katherine Cremin, with no trace of anger. “And I think he has information about the last moments of her life.”

 

The group moved on. Leader Jesse Klinger organized chants. The chorus of “we need an answer, who killed Deanna” rhymed to perfection the way only Somerville residents could make it so, and the chorus brought heads out of apartment windows, and children onto front steps. It stopped traffic and awakened an entire neighborhood to what a lack of justice feels like.

 

The group moved on down the neighborhood. Someone held up a portrait of Deanna with pride. Klinger kept the crowd chanting, pointing his megaphone towards the houses lining the street, hoping someone who may have heard something that night eighteen years ago will finally end their silence.

 

“Somebody around here heard something,” said Katherine Cremin as the crowd stopped in front of where Deanna’s body was found. “I will not leave any stone unturned.”

 

The group moved on again, past figurines of Jesus and Mary in front yards, past curious onlookers and through a neighborhood Deanna once passed through every night on her way home. They stopped again at the corner of Jaques and Temple Streets, a place now called Deanna Cremin Square. She will never be forgotten.

 

The walk ended at 48 Jaques Street, Deanna’s old home. The female resident of the home peeked out in shock at the crowd suddenly outside of her pink house. The crowd chanted for an answer one last time before Deanna’s father, Albert Rodgers, ended the walk with a few words.

 

“I wish there were more police instead of this eighteen years later,” said Rodgers on the steps of Deanna’s old home looking out at those carrying his daughter’s legacy. “I am very happy with the support and love, thank you.”

 

With that, Deanna’s friends and family made their way to their homes or their cars, hoping their noise brought the end of the silence. Whether it does or not, Deanna still brought life to her old neighborhood, just like she did when she walked its streets.

 

Walk Deanna Home