Philly nonprofit stages campout to bring attention to unsolved murder cases

Justin Udo
January 26, 2020 - 3:08 pm
Operation Save Our City founder Rosalind Pichardo poses with a photograph or her brother, whose 2012 murder remains unsolved.

Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — An advocate for families of murder victims in Philadelphia has a chilling way to educate the public about her cause. The effort comes as the city is seeing a higher-than-usual murder rate in the first month of the year. 

Philadelphia has seen nearly three-dozen murders in January. 

Rosalind Pichardo and others from the nonprofit she founded, Operation Save Our City, camped out over the weekend at 2nd and Huntingdon streets in West Kensington to bring awareness to the high level of violence.

For three days and two nights, they braved the cold, rain and wind with small tents, heaters and blankets, spreading information about how people can work with the police if a loved one's murder has gone unsolved. 

"The city's clearance rate when it comes to homicides are not very good," Pichardo said. "So if we can teach families to be proactive, go door to door with flyers, they can do some of the footwork. There's just clearly not enough detectives to do that kind of work."

Operation Save Our City staged a weekend campout in West Kensington to bring awareness to murders in the city.
Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio

Pichardo's brother, Alexander Martinez, was murdered in 2012. 

"He was an amazing kid. Very creative, very talented," she said. "I wanted to make it challenging, because that is the month my brother was murdered."

Princess Llucky Terrell's friend Molly was one of the 356 people murdered in Philadelphia last year.

"She was found floating in a river, the Schuylkill River, the middle of last year," said Terrell, with the nonprofit.

To this day, like many in Philadelphia, these murder cases remain unsolved.

"I'm out here because I care and I want to make a statement in the most overt, and slightly unique, way as possible about my feelings," Terrell said. "If I could do it and just be there, and people get it, and people know why I'm there, that's a really great conversation."

Pichardo said she and her colleagues were alone in the crusade.

"We had mothers come by who had loved ones, like her child, murdered," she said.

Terrell said being in the less-than-ideal conditions was worth it, if they can help others cope with the loss of a family member.