‘It hasn’t sunk in yet’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Hope Banks is trapped in a nightmare – one that she can’t wake up from.

&uot;It hasn’t sunk in yet,&uot; said Banks, staring into space from the porch of her Portsmouth home. &uot;I just can’t take too much more. It’s puzzling to me why anyone would want to do this to my baby.&uot;

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Last week, Hope’s oldest daughter Porcha, 22, called her mother from the Norfolk apartment that the younger woman shared with her boyfriend. As they do nearly every day, the pair chatted for a while.

The next day, Porcha didn’t call. Hope called her cell phone and home phone, and no one answered.

&uot;I knew that something was wrong,&uot; she said. &uot;She calls me every single day.&uot;

For the next few days, no one heard from Porcha. Her boyfriend told Hope that Porcha had gone out to get her nails done, and hadn’t come back.

On Sunday evening, Hope saw on the

television news that a woman’s body had been found near the Route 58 Bypass on Wilroy Road in Suffolk. At that point, all the information released was that the woman was black, and believed to be between 25 and 35 years of age.

Early Monday, Hope went out and put up missing posters across downtown Portsmouth, pleading for information on her daughter’s whereabouts. Then, as the afternoon rolled in, she got a message to go home – police detectives from Suffolk were coming to see her.

That’s when she got the worse news that a parent can hear. The woman found was Porcha. She’d been murdered. No one had been arrested. As of Tuesday afternoon, Hope hadn’t even seen her daughter’s body.

&uot;When I do, I think I’ll just break apart,&uot; she said, as she started to quiver. &uot;This isn’t right. I just can’t cope with this. She never started trouble with anyone; she was very friendly. I had three children, and now I only have two.

&uot;Porcha wanted to become a fashion designer and have a baby,&uot; she said. &uot;If anyone knows anything, I just want them to please let me know. We need to get to the bottom of this. I need to know who did this and why.&uot;

The Suffolk police department reported Tuesday that Porcha’s last confirmed sighting was on Thursday evening in Norfolk. The case is being investigated by Suffolk Police detective G.D. Myrick.

Anyone having information should contact Myrick at 923-2193, the department at 923-2350 or the crime line at 1-888-LOCKUUP (502-5887).