Local support group for homicide victims' families dwindles

Lawton_A Lawton victims' support group is asking for some support of its own. The Lawton homicide survivors group's numbers have dwindled to zero, despite the fact that many families continue to have loved ones killed every year.  That's why the founder wants those family members to know they're still around--and are there to help.

Birgit Smith took up the cause 10 years ago after her father was murdered.  At one time, the group had between 60 and 100 members, but not any more and Smith believes it's because folks just don't know about them.

Gabby Lamb joined the group, along with her daughter, Amy Sanders, after her husband, Johnny Lamb, was murdered in 2007 during his shift as a cab driver.  Gabby says they looked for support anywhere they could find it.  "My children were devastated," she said. "My youngest was four. He couldn't understand. I was so angry and full of hate. I wanted revenge. I wanted justice. I was lost.  I was literally lost. I didn't know what to do the next day."

Both say that support came from Birgit Smith, who founded the homicide victims' group after her father was killed in 1984.  "I think the fact that even though each case is different we all share the same emotions, the hurt, the grief, the emptiness," Smith said.

Birgit helped walk Gabby through the criminal justice system, just like she has done with dozens of others.  Birgit said she has even helped two survivors follow it all the way to the killer's executions.

The group meets regularly on the second Monday of each month at the Center for Creative Living in Lawton from 6:30pm til 10pm.