ERIE, Pa. — Family and the community join together to “take back the site” where 26-year-old Anita Jones was attacked.
The Erie mother of four was assaulted and strangled in her home June 2 in the 2700 block of Holland Street. She died from her injuries the next day at Saint Vincent Hospital.
“I thought I would be the one that she put away, not me putting her away,” said Robert Barcus, Jones’ biological father.
Jones’ adoptive father, Beary Clark, said, “She loved going to church and above all she loved her kids more than anything.”
The Benedictine Sisters of Erie, the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Sisters of Mercy organized the Take Back the Site vigil in effort to denounce violence and to help the family heal.
“Until it hits home, you really don’t know how you’re going to deal with it; but with God’s help and God’s strength and prayer, and the strength of these sisters coming and helping us–holding us together–the prayer itself helps,” said Clark.
Barcus said Jones expressed to him some of her fears in the days preceding her death.
“She told me about what was going on with her and her friend–that she had put a PFA on him, and she was a bit apprehensive about what was going on,” he said.
A motive for Jones’ attack has still not been determined, but members of the community are calling for an end to all violence.
“The only way it’s going to change or that it’s going to stop is if everybody stands up and says ‘no more.’ ‘No more’ to domestic violence, and ‘no more’ to violence in general,” said Sarah Mariella, outreach coordinator of SafeNet.
Clark said he has custody of his grandchildren, whose mother’s murder remains unsolved.
“You can run. You can hide, but you can’t hide from God,” he said. “So, the best thing I can say is just to turn yourself in and let the family have their resolve.”
Clark said he is also coping with another tragedy. His cousin, Oscar Johnson, 65, of Erie, was one of three men killed in an accident on W 12th Street on July 7.
No one has been charged in connection with Jones’ murder.
If you have any information, call the Erie Police Department at 814-870-1125.
If you or someone you know is dealing with a crisis, you can call SafeNet’s 24-hour Hotline at 814-454-8161.