WAXAHACHIE — Family members and friends of Laverne Berry joined members of the community and representatives of the Waxahachie Police Department Saturday evening for a candlelight service of hope.
Hope that Berry will be found safe and returned home.
Thanking for the crowd that filled the Freedman’s Memorial Plaza for their support was Jennifer Brent, the granddaughter of Berry.
“This has been an overwhelming experience," Brent said. "My grandfather was reported missing August the seventh. I found out August the eighth. Since then the minutes have been turned into hours, the hours to days; now it has been a little over a month.
"Some days we have all the emotions — frustration, sadness, anger, just all of those emotions. Nonetheless, we remain faithful that we will receive some type of closure that our grandfather will be found safely.”
Brent continued, telling the audience, “As today as we gather in support of one another in prayer, I just make a plea that all of you share on social media. Share in your churches, in your businesses, your friends, and coworkers, saying his name tell your neighbors, tell someone, share the news, share his name Laverne Berry until my grandfather is found. He is somebody’s grandfather, uncle. He is a cousin. He is a friend. We love him so. We just want him found and returned home,”
Waxahachie Assistant Police Chief Joe Wiser then addressed the crowd.
"We became involved with this family around the first part of August. There’s not a lot that I can say seeing what you are going through you other than the Waxahachie Police department continues to pledge its support to treat this case as an open case still today," Wiser said. "We have had numerous tips all week long. We have run those down but to no avail. But we continue to pledge to you, the family, your friends gathered here this is an ongoing active case. We will pursue every tip we receive and get all the information that we can hope for a resolution that Mr. Berry is found. We still have faith there will be a resolution, a good safe resolution,”
The lead investigator for the Waxahachie Police Department, Det. Casey Borders also spoke to the gathering.
Borders stated, “I just want to echo that today we will continue working putting our efforts forth. So, everybody continue to spread the word, on Facebook, talking to your neighbors will help us.”
The family members began lighting candles and passing through the crowd the light of hope that Berry will be found.
The service continued with words of inspiration from family member Steven Simpson. “I know for a fact that when I looked around today, I see faith. When we hold these candles, that’s all we know is faith. The enemy has one goal, steal our faith. But by us standing here today, holding these candles, is our representation of my grandfather. We are holding and representing and believing in that God is going to uphold.” Johnson continued reading from Second Corinthians, “…We never give up. God is with us. When we are knocked down, we will get up again.”
Ending his reading, Johnson continued saying, “Tomorrow when we get up we will continue the search. Next week, we will continue the search. We will not lose our faith. We will not let the enemy win today. I’m here today to say, God is in control…. Tonight, we pray, we pray for peace. We pray for undeniable grace and mercy that only God can provide for us at this time… When we do not know what to do, we pray.”
The service concluded with a prayer from the Reverend J.J. Johnson asking for peace the closure for the family.
According to Waxahachie Police Det. Casey Borders, Berry left his residence in the 400 block of Wyatt Street on foot wearing blue jeans and a long sleeve maroon and beige colored shirt. Berry has a full gray beard and has been diagnosed with Dementia.