Family seeks justice, closure
Published 10:36 pm Wednesday, October 22, 2014
As a missing children investigator, Virginia Hill was dedicated to providing closure for families going through hell. Now the slain 69-year-old’s family wants the same.
A police affidavit suggests Hill died from gunfire after intruders intending to commit a robbery entered her home in Suffolk’s Walnut Hill Estates early Saturday.
In a statement Wednesday, Hill’s family expressed “deep gratitude for all of the love and outpouring of affection” from “countless neighbors and friends.”
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“Our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend was viciously taken from our family,” the statement reads. “She fell victim to the violence she fought against for nearly 30 years. She was dedicated to bringing families closure who lost a loved one, and we only want the same.”
In the statement, family members also reflected individually. Suffolk’s April Beck-Miller said her mother “was a pillar of the community, and I am truly saddened by her passing.”
“I know that her legacy of helping others will continue to live on through everyone she touched,” she said. “Please continue to keep us in your prayers and hope that we find justice soon.”
Jasmine Okon of Philadelphia said her grandmother was a constant support to her and her cousins. “She always showed us that sticking together as a family was important, and we will continue to do that during this tragedy,” she added.
Her obituary states that Virginia Mae Hill was born in Philadelphia in 1944.
After joining Philadelphia Police Department, she served as a transit officer and investigator from 1977 to 2002.
She was assigned to the Juvenile Aid Division in 1981, where she investigated all juvenile crimes but developed a strong reputation as a missing children investigator.
Charlotte Council, who retired from Philadelphia Police Department as deputy commissioner almost two years ago, said she worked with Virginia Hill in the Juvenile Aid Division for about two years in the early 1990s.
“She was involved in a lot of long-term missing children cases, and she would put her heart and soul into those cases and try to follow up with everyone she could,” Council said.
“For example, there was a teenager that went missing back in 1975. She was determined to locate the child. She was able to come up with information other people wouldn’t have found.
“She was very persistent with her investigations. Virginia’s was goal was, if not to locate the child, to bring closure to the family.”
Hill was the division’s only officer investigating children who had been missing for more than 30 days, and her work led to establishing the identity of more than 20 deceased children, her obituary states.
Among several other organizations, many of them local, Hill was a member of the Philadelphia chapter of the Council of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and was involved with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“Every now and then she would call up and say, ‘I have some information,’” Council said. “I learned things from her, because I was also a missing person investigator for a little while.”
Council said she saw Hill at conferences “practically every year.” She spoke to her on the phone the night before she was killed.
Council was with a group at a friend’s house whose mother had just died, when Hill called to offer her condolences.
“We just said ‘Hi,” Council said. “We were all hollering on the phone.”
The two friends also spoke on the phone the previous night. Council’s mother died in January, and Hill had been looking for just the right sympathy card.
“She said, ‘I found this card and I’m going to put it in the mail and send it to you,’” Council said.
“I don’t know if she got a chance to put it in the mail.”
Beck-Miller, Hill’s daughter, issued a plea for help in bringing about justice: “I would appreciate any help from the community, which my mother loved so much, to bring those responsible to justice as soon as possible, to give our family closure,” she stated.
A visitation is set for Friday from noon to 7 p.m. at T.E. Cooke-Overton Funeral Home. 405 Johnson Ave. A funeral is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at New Mount Joy Food for Living Ministries, 307 County St.
A large contingent of law enforcement officers from Philadelphia is expected to attend.
Anyone who has information is asked to call Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP or text the keyword SPDVATIP and the tip to 274637 (CRIMES). Tipsters never have to give their names or appear in court, and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.