By Dana Kozlov

CHICAGO (CBS) — It was a crime so barbaric, a Chicago woman said she cannot believe it did not compel someone to speak up and say something. Her nephew, an innocent victim, was burned alive and treated like trash.

The aunt of a young murder victim has made it her mission to keep her nephew’s unsolved case in the public eye.

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She is not only doing it to get closure, but says she hopes it will save other children from violence.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports Demetrius Griffin’s murder is one of hundreds, even thousands, with no resolution in Chicago. Police said they’re rate for solving them is rising, but the victim’s aunt said that is difficult to believe.

One by one, people arrived at the North Austin home to support Demetrius Griffin Jr.’s aunt, Rochelle Sykes, on her monthly pilgrimage past the site where her nephew was burned alive two years ago.

Sykes said she hopes someone will finally tell police something to help find the 14-year-old’s killer.

“We are out there every month. We do not want another child to be found dead on this side of town,” said Rochelle Sykes.

She said her small-for-his-age nephew walked a girlfriend home this same weekend two years ago and never returned home. His body was found burning in an alley garage can. He had been buried alive and beyond recognition.

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“Can you imagine the screams? Burning him alive? And you did nothing?” said Sykes, blaming the streets’ code of silence and saying police have not been able to find any new information in the unsolved murder case. “How can they pay the attention to this case that it needs if they are constantly called away because someone else has been murdered.”

The lack of progress is feeding into concerns about how many of the city’s murders have been solved. In 2016, the year Griffin was killed, the arrest or clearance rate, was 26%.

Chicago Police say that number rose to 36.1% in 2017. So far in 2018, they say the rate is 47.2%, including arrests for older murders.

Those numbers, released to CBS 2 this week, directly conflict with earlier reports that recent clearance rates are as low as 17%.

Sykes said she will not rest until Griffin’s killer is found.

Chicago Police would only say Griffin’s case is still an active investigation.


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