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142 homicides in Memphis remain unsolved from 2021

Two mothers speak out, looking for answers to their sons’ deaths
Published: Jan. 29, 2022 at 9:20 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In the city of Memphis, there are 142 homicides from 2021 that are still ongoing investigations.

Two families still waiting for those answers spoke with Action News 5.

It’s been months since the deaths of Ronnie Ware and Nicholas Alexander, taken too soon from their families.

These are two stories from a multitude of people killed in the Bluff City still with an open case.

18-year-old Ware is one of them, killed at the Juice night club in Frayser in June of last year.

His mother, Nakita Cannady said she’s not had much success trying to find answers from MPD.

“When I personally talked to them, they said that it was a staff shortage, the reason why they can’t go out there and do extra stuff,” Cannady said.

Cannady and her family had a reward fund set up for anyone wanting to come forward with information on her son’s death.

It had topped $16,000 at last check.

Nearly eight months later, she’s pulled that money out and is looking to hire a private investigator.

“It just seems like (MPD) wants us to go out here and do what they’re supposed to get paid to do,” Cannady said, choking up. “It’s very disappointing, and it’s hard for our family.”

The family of Nicholas Alexander find themselves in a similar situation.

Alexander was killed in a hit and run in early October, hit by what reports describe as a black Nissan near the intersection of Sanders and Hollywood.

The family released balloons Saturday near where he died, two days after he would have turned 21-years-old.

“All I want is closure of some type of answer,” said Tiffany Blackwell, Alexander’s mother. “Why? Why did you just leave him?”

The staffing shortage is a void MPD looks to fill.

“Not just here locally in Memphis but nationally we have agencies from all over, surrounding Tennessee, that are having problems hiring,” said Lt. Col. Sharon Cunningham with MPD, acknowledging the difficulty of hiring new officers.

The hope is to hire 300 officers from MPD’s hiring expo, which would put them at nearly 2,300 officers, 200 shy of their target staffing of 2,500 and more able to bring answers to families like Blackwell and Cannady.

“I don’t want my son’s case to go another year or another month unsolved,” Cannady said. “It’s unfair to him; it’s unfair to us.”

For these two cases and the other 140 from 2021, anyone with information that can help in the investigation is asked to call Memphis Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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