Families Of Killer's Victims Come Together

The serial killer terrorizing Long Island has led to an unlikely support network.

Mr. Rogers said in the wake of 9/11 that there's always a way to help children deal with even the most horrendous tragedy. "Look for the helpers," was his advice. And amidst the violence and horror that is this string of killings — 8 bodies have been found in the same Long Island area — there are, still, helpers. And, improbably, bittersweet new relationships: the families of victims have found each other and are using each other for support, for information, and for friendship. It started when one victim's sister, Melissa Cann, reached out to another victim's family member on Facebook. "I know how this may feel because I too have someone close to me missing...My sister, her name is Maureen Brainard-Barnes and she has been missing for 3 1/2 years."

Says the Daily Beast,

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She didn't know it at the time, but that Facebook message would be the first correspondence of dozens that would eventually bring together a group of grieving women and men who had apparently lost a loved one to the killer. "I think of [Melissa] as my sister and my best friend now," said Waterman's mother, Lorraine Ela. "We are all in the same situation and the other families need all the support they can also get." When all the bodies had been identified in January-a month later-Cann and Ela began contacting the families of those women, too. A series of improbable friendships, born of violent tragedy, began to take root.

Sometimes the families are harder to find, but Cann has persevered. As she tells the Beast, "I found the girls' obituaries...I did not want to find them that way. But I knew I needed to find them and reach out to them." Once found, the group stays in touch via phone, email, text and almost daily Facebook updates. Says Cann, "I will always be in contact with these families, no matter what. I look at them as if they are my family. We are connected now and forever."

The Serial Killer Sisterhood [Daily Beast]

Earlier: Long Island Serial Killer May Be Ex-Law Enforcement