A mother needs closure

Published 10:13 pm Tuesday, July 5, 2016


The news was heartbreaking and terrifying. Every parent’s worst nightmare.

Quantez Russell had been shot, the voice on the other end of the phone had said. Somewhere in the East End of Newport News her son needed help, worried his mother, Joan Turner.

So she went out searching for him. Eight months later, she’s still searching.

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If there’s something worse than a parent losing a child, it could be the certainty in a mother’s heart that her child is gone, while her mind is denied the closure of a body to bury, a certificate announcing the nature of the death, an official statement about what happened.

Yesterday, Quantez Russell’s family marked his 31st birthday. They have mourned him, and they have come to grips with the likelihood that he was not alive to celebrate it — they’re sure he wouldn’t go eight months without contacting them or his girlfriend or his 9-year-old son. But it was his birthday, and what parent would not hold some faltering hope on such an occasion?

Turner tries to keep her hopes in check. Her son’s car was found with some of his personal effects inside. He hasn’t visited any of his social media accounts. His cellphone was found in possession of another person, who at first said he’d watched Russell take his last breath but later recanted the statement.

This mother hopes, instead, for closure, for someone to come forward and say, “This is what happened to Quantez. Here’s where you can find him.” Judgment, Turner says, is God’s purview. She only wants to know what happened to her son. “If you did something bad to him and dumped him, I just need to know where he is.”

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.

Detective William Shockley, 514-7939, is handling the case for Suffolk.

Somewhere in Suffolk, someone must know something that can help this mother find closure.