EAST LIVERPOOL - Even after 35 years, the emotions are still raw.
Linda Morris, four-months pregnant, her 4-year-old daughter, Angela, and 75-year-old business owner Earl Tweed were brutally murdered on July 30, 1973.
Linda and Angela walked a few blocks from their apartment along Lincoln Avenue to a furniture store owned and operated by Tweed. The family was interested in a rental property Tweed owned.
Family members were overcome with emotion Wednesday afternoon, remembering the murder 35 years ago of three East Liverpool residents. The case is still open. Shown are (from left) Carolyn Byles, Evelyn Molyneaux, Shirley Roberts and Rhonda Monigold. (Photo by Michael D. McElwain)
Investigators suspect Linda and Angela walked in and witnessed a robbery in progress. The suspect or suspects stabbed the three, beat them and fled the scene. The case remains open to this day.
Standing on the spot where the murders took place 35 years ago, Lewis Morris was swept away in waves of emotion, remembering the day that stood still and changed his world.
"Some coward walked in from the street and did this," Lewis said.
(Editor's note: This is the first of a three-part series taking a look at the July 30, 1973, murder of three East Liverpool residents. The case is still open. Part two will take a look at how The Evening Review covered the story that shook a community.)
A city Street Department employee at the time, Lewis was taken to the hospital when news of the attack against his wife and daughter reached him.
"We only had five years together," he said Wednesday during a somber gathering to mark the sad anniversary. "Our lives were just turning around. I was working good, and we wanted to move into a new home."
They never had that chance.
The investigation went on, clues were examined and a few witnesses offered what little they knew, but the answer to the question Lewis and the other family members sought has never arrived - Why?
"Someone out there is a coward who committed this crime," Lewis told the crowd gathered Wednesday. "This person did not just walk out of this store. That person has talked and told someone else what happened that day, I'm sure. Stop being a coward. Step forward and admit to this."
Overcome by grief, Lewis added, "I'll never be able to forgive. I'll never be able to forget."
The Columbiana County families of Homicide Victims organized Wednesday's event not only for still-grieving family and friends, but to remember the spirit of those lost.
"Their voices have been silenced, but we will speak for them," Rhonda Monigold said.
Monigold was just about to turn 12 when her sister was murdered and she was not allowed to go to the funeral.
"We are going to mark the sight where this took place with flowers and anything else we have and hang a picture and let no one forget," Monigold said.
Family members and friends of both the Morris and Tweed families marked the location along the 700-block of Dresden Avenue where the murders took place.
"My life mission has been to find some answers," Monigold said. "I hope this will make someone come forward."
Lewis moved away, unable to work and live so close to the area. He worked as a police officer for 22 years in Michigan and now lives in West Virginia.
"When I do come to this area, I spend most of my time at the cemetery," Lewis said. "I really have a hard time understanding all of it. I stayed away a good many years before returning."
When the incident happened, the brutal nature of the crime caught many off guard, including the police department, Lewis said. "At the time it happened, I think the East Liverpool Police Department was overwhelmed, he said. "Things like that just never happened here. The police department mostly just spent time sweeping the drunks off the street or took them home. It wasn't a crime city."
After the prayers and reflection at Dresden Avenue, the family moved to the Moose Lodge where they spoke about the lives cut short.
"We're marking this date to let people know something horrific happened here," Monigold said. "We still want some answers."