NewsLEX 18 In-Depth


'I just want justice': Families of Lexington victims waiting for answers in unsolved homicides

Posted at 7:19 PM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-15 19:20:26-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Tuesday is the final fall Surviving Onward session of the year for families who've lost loved ones to homicides, drugs, or alcohol-related collision deaths.

The six-week sessions feature food, fellowship, and speakers who talk about different resources and information, including investigations and prosecution, grieving, and services available for families to become involved.

Sometimes the journey to justice is long. It's been almost two years for Lexington native Elijah Persley. His 20-year-old son Kobe was shot and killed in 2021 at a park. But so far, there have been no leads.

"I just want justice, that's all. That's all I want," said Persley.

For the past month, Persley has canvassed the Tates Creek neighborhood where his son often hung out. He printed out flyers asking for information and taped them to local businesses and public utility poles.

"Hopefully, somebody will see something, his pictures on the poles," said Persley.

He also added a $2,000 reward for information out of his own pockets.

"To get justice for my son. He deserves that- to find out who did it," he explained. "Let people know that he ain't forgotten. He ain't forgotten at all."

Kobe Persley's family is one of twenty others still waiting for someone to be held responsible for their loved one's murder in 2021, according to police crime data. Seven families are still waiting for answers relating to murders that happened in 2020.

"Sometimes, the detectives know right away you know who committed the crime, and they're able to charge them. Sometimes we know, but maybe they're on the run. But then, you also have the court process, which takes a long time," said Robin Anderson, Victim's Advocate with Lexington Police.

Robin Anderson has been a victim advocate for more than 20 years. She and three others support victims of crime in Lexington.

She says the process and the pain of waiting is one of the main reasons Lexington Police restarted Surviving Onward sessions for families who have lost loved ones.

"We invite homicide families to come in and talk with us, and we bring in guest speakers to talk to the families," said Anderson.


She says families have also been helping each other through the sessions.

"I really think that families like coming together, and it's comforting to know that you're not alone and that other families are going to understand what you're going through. And they have that connection," said Anderson.

While it has been helpful, Anderson also understands the frustration many families still feel.

"It is extremely frustrating to go through this process when maybe a case is unsolved, a cold case. You want to call to see if there are any updates. And it's even disheartening to the detective that has to say, 'I'm sorry, we don't have any updates yet. I promise if we do get anything, I will let you know. But we don't have anything at this time,'" said Anderson.

What helps them solve cases the most is community tips and information. They hope the sessions also help show people how much they care about giving that closure to grieving families.

While victims' families wait for answers in their cases, advocates with the Lexington Police Department are hoping Surviving Onward Sessions can offer them resources and support.

Here are some additional resources for victims:

Office of the Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney (
Resources for crime victims | City of Lexington (