July 15, 2014 4:46 pm
Updated: July 15, 2014 7:07 pm

Mother of murdered girl asks for people to step up, close unsolved cases


HALIFAX  – Ruth Slaunwhite will face the man accused of killing her daughter, Melissa Dawn Peacock, in court on Wednesday.

Slaunwhite said she is healing a little more every day, but still gets choked up talking about her late daughter.

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“She’d give you the shirt off her back. She really would take the shirt right off her back and give it to you. The best sister that my kids could ever, ever have,” Slaunwhite said.

Peacock was first reported missing in November 2011. Her body was found in Upper Stewiacke, N.S. on July 4, 2012.

Her murder was the first case listed under the province’s Rewards for Major Unsolved Crimes Program that actually resulted in an arrest.

“We might not have answers today if not for the program, and I don’t even know where we’d be without it” said Slaunwhite.

At its inception in October 2006, the Rewards For Major Unsolved Crimes program offered a reward of $50,000 for a tip leading to an arrest and conviction in a case.

Since then, the reward has tripled to $150,000.

Although the program has been around for nearly eight years, it only got it’s breakthrough in the past year.

“We’ve had close to 100 calls in which persons have provided information on numerous cases that we have in our program,” said Roger Merrick, Director of Public Safety, for the Nova Scotia Department of Justice.

The program has also helped police lay charges in the murder of Ryan Matthew White, who was shot and killed on Jarvis Lane in Halifax in July 2010.

Charges have also been laid in the homicide of Narico Danefu Downey. The 23 year-old was shot in North Preston in the summer of 2012.

With three successful cases, officials say they are hoping to close more unsolved files.

“There’s a lot of people that out that are grieving, a lot of people with questions about what happened to their family members and we’re hoping we can solve all the cases in the program,” Merrick tells Global News.

As the mother of a murder victim, Slaunwhite said she’s experienced firsthand how the program helps families heal, and so she’s asking for others to speak up.

“We only went eight months, which is a really, really long time,” she said. “But, there’s families that have done many, many years and they need, they need answers, they can’t go on without answers.”

© 2014 Shaw Media

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