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Crime

Bon Secours, Safe Harbor partner to open area’s first shelter dedicated to human trafficking victims

The new facility will initially house 15 victims when it opens at an undisclosed location in January, the two entities say.

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Two local groups are partnering to announce the establishment of a new shelter dedicated to helping victims of human trafficking–the first of its kind in Central Virginia.

Local nonprofit Safe Harbor Shelter has teamed up with Bon Secours Richmond Health System to open The Central Virginia Emergency Shelter for Human Trafficking Victims. The facility will provide shelter, counseling, safety planning, and case management in a single location to adult female human trafficking victims.

The two entities say the primary goal of the shelter will be to provide victims fleeing their traffickers with immediate safe housing. Once safe, secure housing is established, staff will assist with addressing legal and emotional support needs, including learning life skills, gaining meaningful employments, completing education and securing safe, affordable housing.

The initiative is largely the result of a $500,000 grant provided to Safe Harbor through the Department of Criminal Justice Services VOCA New Initiative Victim Assistance Grant Program. The grant will help hire staff, provide essential equipment and supplies to the operation of the shelter and define program development, among other items.

According to statistics from Bon Secours, many of the victims of human trafficking have not received basic medical care in years. The hospital system will address medical needs of the victims, including emergency and primary medical care for shelter residents. Forensic nurses from Bon Secours Forensic Nursing Program–a group of nurses specially trained to collect evidence from victims of physical abuse and sexual violence, including human trafficking–will also assist in helping victims recover and get back on their feet.

The shelter, the location of which is being kept confidential for safety reasons, is scheduled to open in January and will initially provide shelter to 15 residents, with plans to expand to house 25 in 2018.

“The shelter’s ultimate goal is to help victim’s live independent and happy lives,” said Cathy Easter, Executive Director of Safe Harbor, in a news release about the program. “Since our opening in 2000 as an emergency shelter for domestic violence victims, we have been growing increasingly concerned with the amount of human trafficking that goes on in Central Virginia. Through the shelter’s unique aspect of providing services in a single location, we will be able to reduce the impact of trauma on these victims.

The Henrico County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office has prosecuted more cases involving human trafficking offenses than any other jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, highlighting the need for a dedicated facility for victims of this type of crime.

“These women need a place to build a life again,” said Easter. “This shelter [will provide] the entire package of help, in one location.”

 

[graphiq id=”fMNvyqWXVYN” title=”Human Trafficking in the U.S.” width=”600″ height=”600″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/fMNvyqWXVYN” ]

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Crime

Moody MS 8th-grader wins spell-off to capture pandemic edition of HCPS division-wide Spelling Bee

Ananya Nanduru clinched the 2021 title in the second round by correctly spelling “graticule,” the network of latitude and longitude lines on which a map is drawn.

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Ananya Nanduru of George H. Moody Middle School won a spell-off on January 26th to repeat as Henrico County Public Schools’ Division-wide Spelling Bee champion. The eighth-grader bested Hollie Kim, an L. Douglas Wilder Middle School sixth-grader, to win the tiebreaker, held virtually. Nanduru clinched the 2021 title in the second round by correctly spelling “graticule,” the network of latitude and longitude lines on which a map is drawn.

The winner was presented with the HCPS spelling trophy at Moody Middle School Tuesday afternoon by school division representatives, including Marcie Shea, School Board vice-chair and Tuckahoe District representative, and Amy Cashwell, superintendent. Nanduru’s is the third Moody Middle School championship in as many years. That means the trophy, which resides at the winning school, will remain on display at Moody. The award was made possible by a donation from four-time Henrico spelling champion Tejas Muthusamy, a former Moody student now at Maggie Walker Governor’s School. The Henrico Education Foundation had the trophy made.

Ordinarily, spelling champions from HCPS’ 46 elementary schools and 12 middle schools gather onstage at a middle school auditorium to determine the annual champion. Because of the pandemic, this year’s 58 school champions each took an online spelling test provided by Scripps, the media company that coordinates the national bee. Each was required to complete the test within a 15-minute window. When those results were tabulated, Nanduru and Kim had identical scores, and advanced to the virtual video spell-off.

Nanduru moves on to represent Henrico County Public Schools on March 15th in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Regional Spelling Bee, which will also be held virtually. The regional winner will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is held in late May and televised by ESPN.

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Crime

RPD seeking public’s assistance in identifying man found dead near Bandy Field and U of R

At approximately 7:06 a.m. on Sunday, January 24, an unknown deceased male with no form of identification was found in the 6700 block of Three Chopt Road. No foul play is suspected.

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From Richmond Police:

Richmond Police detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying a male who was found early Sunday morning.

At approximately 7:06 a.m. on Sunday, January 24, an unknown deceased male with no form of identification was found in the 6700 block of Three Chopt Road. No foul play is suspected.

The male is described as a white male in his late teens or early twenties with hazel eyes, dark hair, and a slim build. He was wearing a tan long sleeve shirt with a distinctive design on the front of the shirt, grey sweatpants, grey shoes with green on them and had a tan backpack. Photos of the clothing are attached.

Anyone with information to assist in this investigation is asked to call Major Crimes Detective N. Reese at (804) 510-4183 or Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

Photos of the deceased man’s clothing and apparel are below.

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Crime

Arrest made in Arthur Ashe Boulevard hotel homicide that occurred in 2020

Marquise McCormick was incarcerated in Chesterfield County on unrelated charges. Last week, he was charged with first degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in relation to the Richmond homicide.

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From Richmond Police:

Richmond Police detectives have made an arrest in last summer’s homicide on Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

Marquise McCormick was incarcerated in Chesterfield County on unrelated charges. Last week, he was charged with first degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in relation to the Richmond homicide.

At approximately 1:43 a.m., Tuesday, June 2nd, RPD officers were called to the Rodeway Inn in the 3200 block of N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard for a report of a person shot. They quickly located a victim, Jermaine Stroman lying in a third floor hallway. He had been shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to contact Detective G. Bailey at (804) 646-6743 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or www.7801000.com or the P3 smartphone app. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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