Artist draws attention to cases of missing women with living murals

CHICAGO (CBS) – It is art with a purpose. Damon Lamar Reed has spent the past year creating vibrant murals of black women and girls who have been missing from the Chicago area for some decades.

One of them is Jerrica Laws, who has been missing for six years now. Her loved ones are still searching and hoping.

The murals will be on display inside the Cultural Arts Center for two months.

Based on the murals on family photos, the artist uses bright shades and distinct lines in an attempt to honor the women and girls who have been missed.

Laws was 20 years old when she disappeared without a trace.

“It just hurts so much,” Shantinel Howard said as she struggled to find words after catching a glimpse of her daughter’s mural. “I was just overwhelmed by looking at her picture out there and how talented Damon is at capturing her.”

Reed has painted 16 missing black women and girls.

“It’s called the Learning Lab, so I kind of give people information and inform them about the Still Searching project,” he said.

Detectives from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office were present and handed out flyers of several women who are still missing.

“I just want to help raise awareness,” Reed said. “Some of these cases people have not talked about for years.”

The laws disappeared on August 16, 2015.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” her mother said. “Jerrica has been missing for over six years.”

She said Jerrica went out for a walk, which she did daily, but this time she did not return home and has not done so since.

“The more time passes, the more I feel like I’m not going to find her,” Howard said. “And I really do not know where to start over to look for her.”

She said the last few years have been an emotional roller coaster ride.

“Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re really down. My heart hurts all the time,” she said.

Howard said detectives from the sheriff’s office and the Park Forest Police Department spoke to her in February and told her the FBI is now involved.

Howard said she has not received any updates on her case, but she still hopes her daughter is still out there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *