Homicidewatch.org creators get ready for move to Boston
For two years, a D.C. couple painstakingly tracked every development in every homicide case in the District and posted it online. But now, the couple is moving, leaving homicidewatch.org's future uncertain.
When Laura and Chris Amico moved to Washington, D.C. from California three years ago, Laura, a crime reporter, found local media homicide coverage lacking.
"I just didn't see the type of coverage following these cases through the court system that I was looking for," Laura said.
So the couple created homicidewatch.org with the motto "Mark every death. Remember every victim. Follow every case."
Chris, who built the website, said, "We have about 150 cases in our data base."
The site includes stories on the victims and suspects, court dates and copies of legal filings.
Laura recently received a Nieman-Berkman Fellowship to Harvard, so the Amicos are moving to Boston, which is bad news for families like that of homicide victim Amber Kent.
Kent was allegedly killed by her best friend, Cydresse Alvin, who was on PCP. Some of Kent's relatives depend on homicidewatch.org for information and emotional support.
Veronica Kesler, Kent's sister, said, "I go on [and] I post comments. I post pictures. I read other people's comments to me. It's like she's not forgotten. There are other victims' there who aren't forgotten."
It's also become a source for those working on the case, like Defense Attorney Kevin McCants.
"The information there is usually pretty accurate," McCants said.
And news organizations like WJLA.com.
WJLA.com's Digital Operations Manager Justin Karp said, "She is examining every document and talking to a lot of people that maybe somebody else isn't getting to."
The Amicos' office is wherever they sit down with their laptops, frequently a coffee shop.
Wednesday, Laura covered the Amber Kent murder hearing with an intern from American University.
The couple has also launched a $40,000 fundraising campaign for intern stipends to at least keep some of the site operational.
Laura added, "So many families in D.C. need a place to feel their loved ones are remembered."