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Vigil held to find justice for Chicago cold case victims

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CHICAGO – It’s been almost a year and a half since LaTonya Moore’s only daughter, Shanietya Smith, was found dead in a garage not far from her West Side home.

Now, Moore has dedicated her life to finding Smith’s killer.

“I don’t get any rest,” LaTonya Moore said. “It’s been a year and five months and I still get no sleep.”

For the third time in 17 months, she is taking part in a vigil for others who have lost loved ones.

Smith’s case is one of more than 50 unsolved murders involving black women and girls from the South and West sides.

Moore believes DNA taken from the scene of her daughter’s murder holds the key to solving the case, as well as other unsolved murders across the city. She feels Chicago police are not taking them serious and are failing minority communities when it comes to solving cases.

“Since my daughter passed, it’s still people coming up missing,” Moore said. “What is y’all doing? Why is it still happening?”

She’s not the only one involved in the group who has lost loved ones without complete justice.

Teresa Smith received some justice after her mother, Daisy Hayes, was killed.

Chicago police arrested Jimmy Jackson in connection with her murder. Surveillance video showed Jackson haul what’s believed to be Hayes' body inside a suitcase. Authorities believe her body ended up in an Indiana landfill.

But Smith says prosectors are refusing to search for her body.

“I was told by the state's attorney's office that it will cost millions and millions of dollars to go out there and search for her," Smith said. "All we want is her body so we can put her in her final resting place… and that should not be in a landfill."

The group is calling on Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Mayor Lori Lightfoot to get involved.

Community activist Rev. Hood believes there’s a predator or predators at work.

“They’re watching, they know there’s 750 unsolved murders in Chicago,” said Hood. “They know police are not solving cases, so they take advantage of it. So, it’s up to us to shine a light on that.”

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