Mother of Missing Mom Holds Tightly to Hope

Nefertiri Trader and her mother, Denise Trader, share a birthday, but Nefertiri won’t be there to celebrate.

The mother-of-three was reported missing June 30, 2014. There were few clues in the investigation, and she has not yet been found.

“I’m not going to let this go as a cold case,” Denise Trader said.

Nefertiri, lovingly referred to as “Neffie,” went missing at 4 a.m. on June 30, but her family was not informed until 9 p.m. that night. Early reports suggested a neighbor saw her being forced into her silver 2000 Acura.

Her mother holds out hope that Neffie is still alive, but being held against her will. The family relishes in the positive notion that their beloved daughter, sister, mother and friend is still alive.

Denise lifts a shaky finger and wipes a tear from her eye before pointing into the corner of her living room, just inches from her television. A picture of Neffie from her prom is rested on a table next to a small, heart-shaped frame with a baby picture.

“I talk to her all the time,” Denise said. “I tell her, ‘get ready to get home, baby. Get prepared.'”

Family usually gathers at Denise’s home to celebrate the mother-daughter dual birthday with dinner and a night on the town. On February 21, Neffie turned 34 and Denise turned 58, but without Neffie there, Denise said she couldn’t bring herself to attempt their usual routine.

Tears stream down Denise’s cheek, but after a deep inhale, she continues, “I miss her, I love her. I can’t wait for us to get her back home.”

New Castle County started offering $10,000 rewards to anyone with information about unsolved cases in February. Denise received a personal call from detectives to tell her, and she’s more hopeful than before.

“Even if it’s just $10,000, at least it’s something,” she said.

With Neffie gone, Denise takes over as a baby-sitter and caregiver to Neffie’s children.

“They remind me so much of her, it’s hard,” she said.

But, Denise stays strong by taking care of the children and knowing their mother is still out there, waiting to be saved.

Detectives stay in contact with the family, Officer Tom Jackson of New Castle County Police said.

“I hope […] that people will come forward,” Jackson said. “To my knowledge, this was the first reward offered for her case.”

To cope with life without her daughter, Denise started selling bracelets – a hobby Neffie introduced to her.

The black and gold bracelets read “Keep the faith for Neffie.” She hopes to add the proceeds of the $10 jewelry sales to the reward out for her daughter’s return.

After the young mother’s disappearance, police quickly deemed it “suspicious.” Traceable evidence disappeared with her; Phone records and credit card bills froze. It seemed like she went “off the grid,” leaving investigators at a stand-still.

The only traces of the incident were a crushed loaf of bread, cigarette butts and an unopened condom. Her shoes were rested near her front door. A neighbor, Joe Robinson, said he witnessed the abduction, but didn’t call the police.

“Had I known something was going on like that, I wouldn’t have hesitated,” Robinson told the News Journal in November. “It bothers me […] I hope they find her.”

New Castle County started offering a reward for unsolved cases – Neffie’s case included. New Castle County Executive Thomas P. Gordon announced the offer: $10,000 for information that would lead to the conviction of a responsible person involved in unsolved cases.

The announcement from New Castle Police included sentiments towards grieving families and dedication to ending their suffering, solving their cases.

Denise said she harped on the worst outcomes before she let herself see the potential for resolution. Being a spiritual woman, she found solace in God. She said her “mother’s instinct” tells her Neffie is there, Neffie is alive and Neffie will come home.

“I’ll just be so glad when this is all over. We all miss her so much.”

Nefertiri Trader was last seen Monday, June 30, 2014 at 4 a.m. She is described as a black female, standing 5-feet-6-inches, weighing roughly 124 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes and was last seen leaving her neighborhood in her silver 2000 Acura RL with Delaware registration 404893.

Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in this unsolved case.

Police are asking that if you can provide any details pertaining to this investigation to please contact Detective DeSabatino of the New Castle County Criminal Investigations Unit at MEDiSabatino@nccde.org or by calling (302) 395-8110.

Originally published on DelawareOnline.com

Delawareans attend historic #selma50 march

Thousands gathered to reenact the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where protestors gathered 50 years ago to fight for the end of segregation.

Several Delawareans, both well-known and unfamiliar, were part of the monumental 50th anniversary march in Selma, Alabama to remember the regrettable history of segregation.

“Well I knew that it would be a great chance to connect with and be inspired by a critical moment in American history,” Sen. Chris Coons (D – Del.) said. “I did not expect some of the people who I met and got to hear from, the range of people I didn’t know or didn’t hear of before who were there.”

March 7, 1965, became known as “bloody Sunday,” after Alabama state troopers beat and gassed peaceful protesters promoting black voting rights. Sen. Coons used the weekend as an opportunity to promote his own bill on voting rights changes, hoping to shed some light on what he calls inequalities stemming from major policy changes two years ago.

“I did talk to several republican colleagues and asked them to co-sponsor the amendment to voting rights,” Coons said. “I was disappointed that they declined, but I will be persistent and determined.”

Hearing stories of mass bombings and listening to the voices of protesters from decades ago, Coons emphasized his respect for the people who risked their safety to promote equality for such a fundamental right.

“I just wish more people could understand what this is about and why it matters,” Coons said. “In some ways, you just have to be here.”

Senator Coons was not the only person out representing Delaware in Selma. Paul Braithwaite, a former director of the Congressional Black Caucus, joined the pilgrimage — something he said he’s wanted to do for years.

“These folks put their life on the line with the basic premise that they want America to live up to its full potential,” Brathwaite said. “They accomplished that, and they had nothing going for them except the sheer power of their dream and their hope for a better America.”

For many, looking back at the history of black Americans is a painful experience. The challenges that once stifled the success of black Americans’ success have slowly cleared, but the resonating tone at the Selma reenactment served as motivation to continue to promote equality.

“President Obama spoke about Ferguson and the challenges today and how to make our county safer,” Coons said. “I’m glad he spoke directly to it. I think we have some difficult work ahead of us to improve the American justice system.”

Participants in the Selma reenactment learned about the culture that was once divided by the superficial difference in skin color, but relating to it is another matter entirely.

“I am appreciative, but to fully understand what they did – I’m not sure it’s possible, but it is certainly extraordinary,” Brathwaite said.

And, while the stories of segregation in Alabama stain the pages of modern history books, many people in Selma on Saturday were moved by the overwhelming sense of togetherness and the concept of teamwork.

“I think one of the things that was said a lot was the notion of ‘we,’ being a very powerful word in the history of our country,” Brathwaite said. “We the people, yes we can. Collectively, what we can all do together. […] Those are powerful statements.”

Contact Greta Iverson at (302) 324-2771, giverson@delawareonline.com or on Twitter @greta_wade.

Originally published on DelawareOnline.com

Hundreds mourn death of Young Kolb

Hundreds gathered Wednesday night at Rose Hill Community Center to pay homage to Jamar Kilgoe, who was killed in the basement of the community center Monday.

“I’ll miss him for a long, long time,” said his father, Michael Fletcher. “No one should have to go through this.”

Kilgoe, 30, was shot dead while recording music in the Rose Hill Community Center’s downstairs studio before work Monday.

Family, friends and community members gathered in a tight circle at the center’s parking lot Wednesday night to pray for their fallen loved one. Friends embraced each other and others stood silently. With teary eyes and shaky hands, organizers passed around candles and lighters to the group.

The cause for the killing is unknown and the killer remains at large. Police did not have new details on the incident Wednesday, but Rose Hill Community Center clarified that the killer was not a regular participant at the center.

“Our investigators are actively searching for any leads that would assist them in identifying the perpetrator,” said Officer First Class Tracey Duffy, a county police spokeswoman. “At this time, the suspect has not been identified.”

Wednesday’s vigil was organized by Pastor Derrick Johnson, who serves at the family’s church in Wilmington.

“You don’t see a bunch of teddy bears or alcohol here,” Johnson said. “You see people who all have the same question: Why?”

Kilgoe, a father of two, was a well-known local rapper who went by the stage name Young Kolb. The artist served as an engineer at the community center, his father said. He worked with other local artists and local children to produce and record music at the center.

“The Rose Hill Community Center would like to express our deepest sympathies to family of the victim of this senseless tragedy. Nothing like this has ever happened before,” a post on the center’s Facebook page said. “While we’re shocked, we’re also grateful for the tremendous outpouring of love and support from the people that use this center every day.”

Cameras are pointed at doors leading into the center, but Duffy said she was “unable to discuss the operation of the security cameras.”

Among the speakers was Aria Washington, Kilgoe’s aunt.

“He’s the heartache of the city right now,” she said. “I hope the city is paying attention.”

The center offers a variety of services, including a food pantry, day care, a senior center and a studio where people could record their music.

The community center is near where the county plans to build a $21 million library and “innovation campus” that leaders hope will spur a revitalization of the Route 9 corridor.

County Executive Tom Gordon said security has been one of the administration’s primary concerns with the library, pointing out that the county plans to build a police substation “right there in the center.” He told The News Journal on Tuesday that police are “putting a full court press” on the investigation.

Community members ended on a somber note with a nod to the rally’s message: “This is not a moment, this is a movement.”

Anyone with information pertaining to this incident is asked to call county police at (302) 573-2800. Citizens can submit tips anonymously by going to www.NCCPD.com and following the link for Tips and Alerts.

Tipsters may also call Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333. Citizens who currently have the Smartphone App are encouraged to use the “submit tip” tab to submit tips. Select a topic by using the “drop down” and complete the tip by clicking “submit.”

STORY CURATED BY ADAM WAGNER, GRETA IVERSON AND ESTEBAN PARRA

Contact Greta Iverson at (302) 324-2771, giverson@delawareonline.com or on Twitter @greta_wade. Contact Esteban Parra at (302) 324-2299, eparra@delawareonline.com or Twitter @eparra3.

Originally published on DelawareOnline.com

Delaware State Trooper of the Year named

A state trooper based in Kent County who survived an exchange of gunfire during a routine traffic stop in June has been named Trooper of the Year.

Cpl. Lloyd “Mike” McCann received the honor Tuesday. He was one of 11 troopers nominated, Sgt. Richard Bratz said.

During a traffic stop June 25 near Magnolia, McCann learned a suspect was wanted for multiple domestic charges. After a brief chase, the suspect — later identified as Dennis Hicks, 29 — got out of the car and fired multiple rounds at McCann, landing one on his hand and another on his cheek. McCann returned fire, killing Hicks.

Department of Justice investigators on Wednesday concluded that McCann was justified using deadly force.

McCann is recognized for his courage in the incident. McCann also was named Trooper of the Month in June and Trooper of the Second Quarter for 2014.

The trooper, who has served just over five years, is currently a patrol trooper in Kent County Troop 3, where he also trains new troopers.

McCann is recognized for his dedication to Delaware State Police, and his colleagues hope others can share their gratefulness for McCann’s dedication to the force, Bratz said.

#weatherkitty draws an audience to Cecil County Sheriff Office’s social media pages

Cecil County Sheriff’s office has gained a lot of attention on Facebook… for photoshopping cats into their weather posts with the hashtag #weatherkitty.

The cat, named Foots because of her tiny feet, has caught people’s attention and has drawn in more traffic to the Facebook page than stories about local heroes.

“When you post positive information and people hit the ‘like’ button, it comes up in their news feed,” Cpl. Michael Kalinsky said. “So when we post wanted photos or seeking info on suspects, we get more responses.”

Kalinsky started ‘shoppin the cat into photos after a “thundersnow” forecast last year. He posted a cat with lightning behind it, and it drew in a ton of “likes.”

“There was another corporal here who dared me to keep doing it,” he said. “I don’t put a lot of effort to make her proportional to the image.”

While he manages the sheriff’s office Facebook page, he is still a patrol corporal. He responds to crime scenes and death, but sees #weatherkitty as a way to “lighten the mood.”

Facebookers have responded positively to the kitty. Comments like, “Can’t wait to see where he turns up next!! Be safe on the roads…” fill the page.

Others just appreciate the kitty’s cuteness. “Love that Kitty!! Soft Kitty, warm Kitty, little ball of fur!!! Thanks for the update,” one person posted on an icy conditions advisory post from March 3.

The small 6-pound cat has garnered plenty of affection and attention in Cecil County.

“She’s a mini-celebrity,” Kalinsky added.

The sheriff’s office is glad to finally see some attention for their quirky posts.

“Weatherkitty helps bring new eyes to the page, which is extremely important to us when we need help or want to publicize a case,” Kalinsky said.

While some agencies struggle to gather the public’s assistance, Kalinsky said they’ve seen faster-than-ever responses since they started photoshopping Foots into their posts.

Contact Greta Iverson at (302) 324-2771, giverson@delawareonline.com or on Twitter @greta_wade.

Originally published on DelawareOnline.com

Teens celebrate nonviolence with music

Security guards waited patiently outside Delaware Live in Price’s Corner to pat kids down and check ID before they made it to Friday night’s affordable alternative to unhealthy decisions.

Curated by Wilmington-native MC Blu Chip, 38, the show, featuring several local hip hop artists, was meant to inspire kids to have fun in a safe, healthy way.

“I’m older, so I’m trying to show them this is how you get ahead,” MC Blu Chip said. “I feel good about this energy, this peaceful energy…. It’s good to have everyone supporting each other.”

Teens lined the building while they waited for local artists Kur, Jet Phynx, 43rd Spanx and Lil Torin to take the mic. Family and friends of the musicians gathered to enjoy a fun show that supports a cause they can relate to.

“It’s right on time. It’s all over the land, it’s time for a community to come together for the youth,” David Corston, Blu Chip’s father, said. “With proper guidance, they can learn something out of the violence.”

While some gathered to see their favorite artists, especially the headliner, up-and-coming Kur, others came out to support each other in the movement against violence in their community.

“It’s a positive message to many,” performer Tareek Havik, 17, said. “Too many are dropping like flies, so it’s nice to have a positive moment.”

MC Blu Chip partnered with Jet Phynx to start Solid Collective. The two worked to market the event on social media, especially Instagram, to draw a younger crowd and make it clear that solving violence in their own community starts with them making healthy choices.

The target age of the audience was 13 to 17, but MC Blu Chip was quick to ensure people of all ages were invited to the $10 show.

“I just wanted to get out,” Marcasia Williams, 16, said. “This is my first concert.”

Williams was joined by her 14-year-old sister, Ta’Nasia Williams.

“My parents were like, ‘That would be good if you went to something nonviolent,’” Ta’Nasia said. The sisters giggled together over how excited they were to see one of their favorite artists, Kur.

Instead of kids flocking to drab and dangerous parties, MC Blu Chip hoped to give people a fun – and safe – place to be Friday night.

Yonnie Mcfly, 28, came out to support Jet Phynx, and she was not the only young adult in the mix of teens. People of all ages made their way in to be a part of the scene.

“I think [the violence] is terrible,” Mcfly said. “If people would concern themselves with fellow human beings, they’d see that everyone has the same problems.”

Solid Collective’s show was the first of many, MC Blu Chip said. The brand, centered around music with the message of non-violence, is meant to promote positive decisions while staying relevant to what kids really enjoy.

Contact Greta Iverson at (302) 324-2771, giverson@delawareonline.com or on Twitter @greta_wade.

Originally published on DelawareOnline.com