Johnia Berry Memorial Walk

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) -- National Crime Victims Rights Week kicked off today with the Johnia Berry Memorial Walk, to remember and honor all victims of violent crime.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford caught up with the Berry family along the Tennessee River on Volunteer Landing.

Joan Berry and her husband, Mike, can't bring their baby girl back, but they want whoever killed her brought forward.

"My daughter, Johnia, was murdered 28 months ago here in Knoxville, and the person that murdered her is still at large," she said. "There's still no suspect, no motive, nothing."

Just a sketch of a suspect the Berry's are constantly haunted by.

"That's very frustrating and very sad," she said. "That's something that affects every aspect of your life. It's just a daily thing that we never forget."

Johnia's brother, Kelly Burke, also shares the happy memories he holds with his sister.

"The pain, grief, anger, disbelief and sadness are always lurking in the shadows of the day," he said. "A warm summer breeze on your face while dangling together in a para sail over the ocean."

They were joined this afternoon by many in the community, to honor Johnia and every other victim of a violent crime that's gone unsolved.

"The criminal justice system is a very long, twisted, and painful path," said Jeanne Brykalski, a member of the East Tennessee Victims Rights Task Force.

The Berry case is one that has even drawn attention from the state legislature.

"We have DNA from the site," said Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey, "we don't have a data bank in the state of Tennessee to match it."

That's why Ramsey introduced the Johnia Berry DNA database bill to legislation last year.

"It will do two things, we will hopefully find some people that are guilty, but at the same time, they can prove innocence."

It's headed for a Senate vote tomorrow, and Berry's say they'll be in Nashville when the vote takes place, fighting for Johnia and justice.

"Johnia was such a caring person and always loved helping people," Joan Berry said, "so that's my motive."

If you have any information about Johnia Berry's case, you can contact the Knox County Sheriff's Department at 865-215-2243.

You can see the suspect's composite sketch and learn more about the investigation by clicking on the links below. DNA Bill

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