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1/3 of Kansas City murders go unsolved. A mom whose son was killed is trying to change that.

Helping families in unsolved homicides
Helping families in unsolved homicides
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 5:54 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Michelle Metje-Norris knows what it’s like to lose a child in one of the most unimaginable ways possible.

Her son Corey Laykovich was killed in Kansas City in 2013, and it took years to find his killer. Metje-Norris still grieves and still cries, but she’s also used her experiences with her son’s murder case to try to help other local families going through the same thing. An advocacy group she started in her son’s name---Corey’s Network---aims to make sure those victims’ names aren’t forgotten, and neither are their family members.

The Kansas City Police Department says 30 percent of homicides in 2020 went unsolved, at least for now. Each year, Corey’s Network hosts a vigil with the faces and names of victims of unsolved homicides. The organization also pays for funerals of homicide victims, and gives their families resources and support in their journey to help find their loved ones’ killers. Some of the ways Corey’s Network helps include helping families stay in contact with detectives, offering grief support and giving advice and how to talk with the media.

Metje-Norris said grief will always be a reality in the journey to find answers, but it’s important to learn to set that apart from the work that needs to be done.

“I’m not going to lie and tell you that I’m not still grieving my son. It’s been almost nine years, and I still love my son. And I still grieve my son, and I still cry at night,” she said. “But it’s separate from what I need to do to be able to make sure the person that murdered him stays in prison for as long as possible.”

Christian Olivarez was shot and killed in December 2018, and his killer has yet to be found. His murder was days after his 20th birthday. Olivarez’s family connected with Corey’s Network afterward, and has worked relentlessly with them to find who’s responsible. His sister Kirsten said while it’s hard to live without him, her family won’t let his memory die. They are working alongside Corey’s Network to fulfill a promise she made to him.

“I kissed him in his casket. I promised him that it didn’t matter how many years went past. I promised him I would work tirelessly until that day comes and somebody comes forward or something comes to light,” Kirsten said. “I just feel like that is my job as his big sister.”

Click here to find out more about Corey’s Network, how to help, or how to gain their services.