A positive note to a terrible situation

Published 9:44 pm Friday, November 11, 2016

It’s hard to imagine salvaging anything good from the disappearance of a son. But one year after her son went missing in Newport News, Suffolk’s Joan Turner is trying to do just that.

Quantez Russell would be 31 years old now. On Nov. 11, 2015, his mother received a call from a friend who had heard that he had been shot. His car was found the next day in Newport News, and his cellphone was later found in the possession of someone else, who has been questioned about his disappearance.

A year later, with no good leads on the case, Turner has come to believe her son is dead. He has had no contact with her or other family members, or with his girlfriend or his 9-year-old son. Turner said this week that she continues to hope for the best regarding her son, but she and her family have prepared themselves for the worst.

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Many mothers would find themselves stuck in the uncertain space between those two options, but Turner is trying to turn the situation into something positive.

She and her family are working toward starting a foundation that will give scholarships to Suffolk high school graduates who intend to study law or criminal justice in college. Preliminary plans are to require applicants to write on essay on how to stop drug crimes and gang violence.

Those are topics that Turner knows could be relevant to her son’s case.

“I know Quantez was involved in some really bad stuff,” Turner said this week. “People he thought he trusted and was friends with were not friends. Gangs, drugs, weapons, all that stuff they think is cool, can eventually lead you in the direction of prison and death. We just want to do something positive in the community. We’re hoping that at least one person is saved.”

Our hearts continue to break for this family, and we join them in asking again that anyone with information about the disappearance of Quantez Russell 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.

But we’re also inspired by Turner’s desire to bring a positive note into this terrible situation. We look forward to announcing the first recipients of the scholarship they will create.