09/21/12 — A march for Kennedy

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A march for Kennedy

By John Joyce
Published in News on September 21, 2012 1:46 PM

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Linda Martin stands in prayer as she holds a homemade sign pleading for the return of Kennedy McLaurin Jr. during a march and vigil in downtown Goldsboro late Thursday afternoon. The march, which started at the intersection of Bain and Holly streets and ended at the Goldsboro police station, was held to bring the 16-year-old home. Police believe he was abducted earlier this month.

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Family, friends and neighbors share fliers with Kennedy McLaurin's picture on them as they pray for his safe return. More than 100 people gathered to express their support for the teen and his family.

Several hundred people marched to the Goldsboro police station Thursday in honor of a missing 16-year-old, united in prayer as they wished for his safe return home.

Family, friends and concerned neighbors marched through the city carrying pictures of Kennedy Fitzgerald McLaurin Jr., arriving at the doorstep of the city police station, where a brief rally and a community prayer were held.

"Bring Ken Home," chanted the crowd, which walked from the corner of Bain and Holly streets, where Kennedy is believed to have been kidnapped Sept. 9.

Investigators have been working around the clock to find the Goldsboro High School student, who was reportedly grabbed by several men in faded blue 1990s Oldsmobile.

Mothers pushed strollers and children carried homemade signs. Everyone seemed to have a flier with Kennedy's image and description.

The march was organized on behalf of the family by April Cox and Coreen Hagans.

Both hope their efforts will result in an end to the worrying, waiting and hoping -- and McLaurin's return to his family.

"I wish we could have gotten this effort going sooner. But I don't feel like it is too late," Ms. Cox said.

She said she decided to arrange the march after days went by and she hadn't seen anyone rallying the community publicly. She said that any parent, especially a mother, could sense what Kennedy's mom, Kimberly Best, must be going through.

Throughout the march, there were calls pleading for "Little Ken's" safe return.

The president of the state chapter of the NAACP, the Rev. Dr. William Barber Jr., was on hand to lend support.

"I was called by the family, and I could not stay away," Barber said. "We're just here for moral support. Tonight is about the community."

Barber lauded the efforts of Goldsboro police as residents lined the streets and watched the marchers go by.

"We're praying for ya, baby," one woman shouted from her porch.

Sharese Wiggins-Phillips, wife of the first person murdered in Goldsboro this year, Brandon Marquette Phillips, was hopeful about the rally and its potential to both unite the community and to bring Kennedy home.

"I hope it does," she said.

She said the community can make a difference if people speak up when they know something about a crime.

"My husband's killer turned himself in. Hopefully this will bring somebody forward who knows something," she said.

Her daughter and Kim Best's daughter are classmates. She tells her child that if she hears anything at school about Kennedy, rumors, or otherwise, to tell the teacher.

"If anything comes out, I'm betting its going to come from the kids," Mrs. Phillips said.

The marchers came together in the parking lot of the police department. The shouts grew louder as the people huddled closer together, a chorus of "Fired up" and "Can't take it no more," broke out.

When one chant subsided, the silence didn't linger before another began.

"One son, one family."

Anyone with any information regarding the case is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers at 735-2255. Callers can remain anonymous.