Victim laid to rest

Published 10:00 pm Saturday, October 25, 2014

After a lifetime of solving missing children cases in which there were often more questions than answers, Virginia Hill was laid to rest Saturday leaving behind the same for her family.

They still don’t know who killed the 69-year-old in an apparent robbery at her home early last Saturday morning or why she was targeted.

But words of comfort were not in short supply at Hill’s funeral on Saturday at New Mount Joy Food For Living Ministries. Colleagues and friends from around the country spoke words of comfort either in person or through correspondence.

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“I hope it comforts you to know she was deeply loved and respected by all she met,” wrote Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Pa. “Ms. Hill led an extraordinary life.”

A native of Philadelphia, Hill spent 25 years as a sworn officer of the Philadelphia Police Department before retiring in 2002.

Within four years of joining the department, she was assigned to the Juvenile Aid Division and quickly distinguished herself in the investigation of missing children.

As the only officer responsible for investigating missing children who were not located within 30 days, Hill worked tirelessly combing through case files to bring peace and closure to children’s families. She established the identity of more than 20 deceased children whose whereabouts would otherwise have remained unknown. She was responsible for solving eight of Philadelphia’s 12 longest-running missing children cases.

Her knack for telling a good story — usually the story of how she solved a case — was well known and acknowledged on Saturday.

“She could hold your interest,” said Dorothy Parker of Higher Ground Outreach Church of God in Christ. “She could tell you the whole story.”

Hill was a member of the Vidocq Society, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Even after moving to Suffolk, she maintained her membership in the Philadelphia chapters, several speakers on Saturday said.

She received several awards for her work, including the Donald Gravatt Award from her local NOBLE Chapter, Officer of the Month from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, and the Vidocq Society Medal of Honor.

“She was probably the most decorated police officer ever in the city of Suffolk,” one speaker said, despite the fact she was never on the Suffolk force.

Charlotte Council, retired deputy police commissioner for the Philadelphia Police Department, said Hill’s passion for her job was “so evidence in the number of cases she actually solved.”
“Even when she retired, she was still passionate about her job,” Council said.”

Another speaker offered a suggestion for self-comfort for those grieving.

“We can lessen our loss if we simply take a page out of Virginia Hill’s book,” he said. “Let’s try to be what she was in terms of how we deal with others and our community. The world will indeed be a better place.”

Hill leaves behind four children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.