DEPTFORD TWP. — It’s a day when, as a nation, we remember the deaths of brave men storming the beach at Normandy, launching what would become D-Day and leading to victory in World War II.
Unless you’re thinking, as I do, of the death of just one woman, shot just once, her body dumped behind a fire house in the Jericho section of Deptford.
There she was when a firefighter went out for a smoke on June 6, 2006. As voters went through the front doors to vote in that year’s primary, Desiree McGraw’s body was splayed out on a concrete slab behind the building, just off to the side.
Voters had to be diverted to another polling place, because the Jericho firehouse had become a crime scene.
Desiree McGraw was a substance abuser. Her sister, Jennifer, used to drive up and down Camden streets, looking for Desi, as her family and friends called her.
A few days after her 27th birthday, Desi wound up in the Camden County Jail. She called her dad, Fred, and Jennifer.
“I’m tired of this life. I don’t want to live on the streets no more,” she told her father, who died a few years ago.
Not the first time she’d said it. Her dad was cautiously optimistic.
“Call me when you get out,” said Fred.
They never heard from her again and she was dead the next Tuesday.
Her mother, Debbie, thinks Desiree knew someone was out to get her.
At Desiree’s funeral, a junkie I talked to said, “All I know is, she owed somebody money. A hundred bucks.”
It’s a nagging thought, like picking at a scab, that Desiree McGraw may have died for a hundred bucks.
Desi left behind two children and family who’d like top one day see the maddening mystery of her murder solved.
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In remembrance of McGraw and some 70 other victims of violent crime in Gloucester County, a ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. on 6/17/15 at the Gloucester County Justice Complex, where an outdoor rock garden with the names of all victims was established four years ago.
“Not only does my office set a high priority on solving ‘cold case’ homicides, assigning these difficult cases to all major crimes unit detectives, but we also seek though our victim-witness staff and ceremonies such as the one on June 17 to ease the pain of those left behind by these tragedies,” said Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton.