OAKLAND -- It's been months and even years since the women of Oakland advocacy group Their Lives Matter lost sons, brothers and husbands to violence and yet the deaths remain unsolved.

Though each slaying is different, the women nodded during a recent meeting in East Oakland as the others complained about what they saw as weaknesses at the Oakland Police Department.

They talked about passing possible leads to detectives, only to find out that information was not followed up on. There was also the difficulty in figuring out who was handling their loved one's case as officers rotated in and out of the detective bureau.

The women were also left concerned by unreturned phone calls to police and the apparent failure of detectives to interview co-workers of their slain kin.

Sisters Sherron Hogg, left, and Stacy Hogg pose with a photograph of their late brother at a meeting of relatives of homicide victims, Monday, Sept. 30,
Sisters Sherron Hogg, left, and Stacy Hogg pose with a photograph of their late brother at a meeting of relatives of homicide victims, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 in Oakland, Calif. Compared to their counterparts around the country, the 14 Bay Area law enforcement agencies have the lowest clearance rates on murder cases, the cause of much consternation for the families of the deceased. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group) ( D. ROSS CAMERON )

"I can't grieve my brother because I'm too worried about whether we are ever going to solve his murder. Are the murderers still out there?" asked Stacy Hogg, of Oakland, whose brother, Sedric Gadson, 28, was gunned down in 2009. "Even though my brother is 6 feet under it's still on the surface for me, because we have no closure."

Oakland police Sgt. Mike Gantt said detectives take every lead seriously and follow up on it. As for case turnover, he said the homicide unit plans to start sending letters to families on which detective is handling their loved one's case.

"All these investigators take ownership of these cases," Gantt said. "They want to solve these cases. That's how you are judged."

-- Joshua Melvin



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