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After 10 months of no leads in the murder of her 14-year-old daughter inside their Cambria Heights home, Shirada Matthews took matters into her own hands Friday.
Matthews and advocates for her family flooded the streets in Cambria Heights, handing out wanted posters asking for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever was responsible for killing Sabrina Matthews.
“Maybe someone will talk now,” Matthews said. “We don’t hear anything. All [the police] say is they’re working on it. I think people know what happened and aren’t saying anything.”
Matthews teared up as she recalled how her daughter’s life was cut short.
“Sabrina was so young. She never got a chance to grow up and achieve what she wanted in life. Someone took her life away and it hurts. It’s not easy to live my life like this — it’s all messed up.”
“I never thought this would happen to me. My daughter is so sweet,” she said.
When Sabrina was found with her throat slashed inside her 234th Street home, police initially suspected that her father, Livingston Matthews, had murdered her. He was the first person to discover his daughter’s dead body, naked from the waist down.
But six months later, the police quietly told the Matthews family that Livingston Matthews had been cleared in the case.
Shirada Matthews said the initial speculation is still what most in the community believe to be true, which she said has only compounded the family’s grief.
“To say you killed your own daughter, it’s terrible,” said Shirada Matthews, who spoke for her husband because he was too distraught to comment Friday. “It’s really disgusting.”
Matthews said her daughter liked to dance, sing, read, write poetry and use the computer and dreamed of being a doctor or a teacher.
“I just want justice, I just want justice,” said Sabrina’s sister, Janeita Matthews, 29. “I hope somebody will say something.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently signed a special order increasing the reward for information on Matthews’ murder by $10,000. The reward is currently at $22,000 — $10,000 from the mayor, $10,000 from the NYPD and $2,000 from Crimestoppers.
“I just hope that someone will call in with any information so we can catch this person,” said Matthews family friend Shasha Mitchell, 29. “I just hope someone will find this person so we can bring justice to this family because they’ve been suffering too much.”
Matthews and a group of supporters flagged down motorists on Linden Boulevard, distributing wanted posters through car windows. They also taped the posters to streetlight poles along the Cambria Heights thoroughfare.
“Please call Crimestoppers for information on Sabrina Matthews, murdered in her own home! Fourteen years old!” shouted crime victims advocate Shaun Williams of Lefrak City.
Matthews, who has been helping out the family, also directed some in the group to areas she thought the posters would have the most visibility, pointing out there were a lot of young people assembled near the corner of Linden Boulevard and 232nd Street.
“We’re trying to bring renewed interest in this case,” Williams said. “Justice needs to be met in this case.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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