times since 6-20-04
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On the night of April 17, 2002 or early morning of April 18, our Mother, Patricia Gertsch Hodges, was brutally murdered in her home in St. Petersburg, Florida. There were no signs of forced entry; when she was found the doors were locked.
My mother was 64 years old; she was taken away from four sons, one daughter, nine grandchildren, a brother, a sister and numerous nieces and nephews. Our mother was our universe; she was the core of the family.
Mom lived by herself in a one-bedroom apartment on a busy street. She had a good friend that lived next door to her and they always checked on and looked out for each other. We have lived in the area all of my life, which is 43 years.
When I got the call at work on that Thursday, April 18th, from my mother’s next door neighbor, (my brother called me but he couldn’t talk) she told me that she had gone over to Mom’s to bring her the newspaper and knocked at the door. After the second time and a phone call with no answer, my mom’s neighbor let herself in with the key my mother had given her. Upon finding my mother, she called my older brother, who in turned called me.
Upon arriving at my mother’s, my three other brothers were there along with the police who had roped off the area. Now I was told it was a crime scene. Nothing in the world could’ve prepared us for that. Our lives as we knew them had been forever changed. A part of each of us died with her. The hardest is living with the unknown:
Who would do this? Why my mom? Did she know the person? Was she scared?
Was she calling for her kids?
Mom is the first thing on my mind each day and the last thing on my mind at night. Mom had no enemies, everyone loved her. Growing up she was “Mom” to all of our friends. She lived for her kids and especially her grandkids.
She was kind, loving and caring. She loved to knit Afghans for the people she loved; she loved being with her family, watching movies. Why someone would harm my mother is a question that haunts us all every waking day.
As of today, June 15, 2004, her murder is unsolved. The police released last year that they believe the motive was sexual assault. I honestly believe that somewhere, someone has information about our mother. There is a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who committed this brutal act.