“My soul is aching. My heart is on the floor. My gut has been pulled out of me,” Forlesia Cook said.
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It was six months to the day since Marty McMillan disappeared.
“We don't have a body. We're not able to give him a home going,” Cook told the crowd at a rally.
McMillan was 22-years-old.
Family members said he was planning to meet a woman from a dating website but never returned.
All that was left were the prayers, pictures, and memories.
McMillan’s family was not alone as several families and advocates shared their stories.
Some claimed police did not do a good job on the investigations.
“They wonder why we cry out black lives matter. Well, this is why.”
“It just seems like as a culture when it comes to African-American cases we don't get the same kind of attention,” Marty McMillan, Sr. said.
Some loved ones felt brushed off because of their race or the lack of money they had to pour into the case.
“I mean I'm sorry that she's not the blonde hair and blue eyes,” Rebecca Taylor said.
Other people believed they were ignored because of a victim’s criminal history.
“He's a menace to you, but he was my son.”
“I'm out here on the hunt for my grandchild and I'm not supposed to have any suggestions,” Cook said. “I'm not supposed to think. I'm just supposed to accept any answers you give me? This is my grandchild.”
The group wants the city to get rid of red tape and barriers stopping police from investigating missing persons and homicides sooner.
“Make it urgent,” Darryl Hairston said. “Make it as though it was your own that you got to go looking for.”
“I am sorry if we didn't get it right with your case,” Commander Chanel Dickerson, with the Metropolitan Police Department, said.
Dickerson admitted the department might not always get everything right, but it is working hard and committed to making changes and making sure every case receives the attention it deserves.
“I guess one of the biggest challenges, of course, is -- well not the biggest -- but change. When you change the way that you do anything sometimes there is a little resistance,” Dickerson told WUSA9.
However, Dickerson said staff members in her department are on board with her vision.
DC Police said it is essential for people to know that there is no time requirement to report a missing person in the district.
As soon as you notice something isn’t right, call 202-727-9099 or text the tip line at 50411.