One of my beloved former students, Jovon Dawson, 23, was brutally stabbed to death Saturday night Nov 2 in her apartment while her three children slept in the next room. Jovon was not discovered until the next morning when her six-year-old daughter found her mom lying in a large pool of blood in the kitchen. Jovon's neighbor, Michael Hayes, was arrested later that day and confessed that he went to Jovon's apartment looking for drugs, didn't find any, and killed her. Oddly, between the time of Jovon's murder and Hayes arrest, Hayes revealed that he went home and drove his wife to the hospital to have a baby.
Jovon was a vivacious, smart, funny and goal-oriented single mom who attended school, worked hard, and stayed drug free. In high school, she was a spark in the classroom and I can still see her smiling as she greeted me; "Dr. Hall, Dr. Hall, Dr. Hall." Jovon was a well-spoken, eager learner, who excelled at mock trial. She would have made one heck of a lawyer or nurse or teacher: whatever she choose, she would have done well.
No one else in my life has been murdered. I keep thinking about what happened, wondering how Jovon died. I know she was stabbed. Was she lying on the floor for hours before bleeding out? Was she scared? Was she protecting her children, fighting to the end with no fear?
As a search dog handler, I have helped many families who have lost a loved one to a violent crime. But, until now, I have never fully grasped the extreme trauma of such a loss. I have so many questions about Jovon's death, I can only imagine the unending agony suffered by a family whose loved one is not only a victim of foul play, but who is never found. Not knowing. Not knowing. Not knowing. . . .
Tomorrow, I will get to say goodbye to Jovon at her funeral. And for that, I am lucky, for there are many families who don't get to say goodbye. Jovon will be with me always, as I search for the missing, "Dr. Hall Dr. Hall Dr. Hall: please help other families know what happened and be able to say goodbye to their loved one." A humble request for the living from the dead. I will do my best, Jovon. I will do my best.