Each April, communities around the United States take a week’s time to participate in the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week campaign, put on by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime. This weeklong observance (April 6 to 12, 2014) is highlighted by rallies, walks, seminars, awards presentations, and ceremonies that pay respect to victims, as well as to those who support them. All around Colorado, communities like Broomfield, Denver, and Aurora are staging affairs that, in many cases, are open to the public. For local law enforcement, friends and family of victims, and, in some cases, the victims themselves, these events are not only a way to partake victims’ advocacy, but also to remember those who are no longer with us.
Randy Hansen, a detective with the FBI’s Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force and the Aurora Police Department, says events like these are meaningful, but it’s obvious he doesn’t need a ceremony—like the one being presented at 3:30 p.m. on April 7 by the Aurora Police Department—to remind him of victims he’s tried to help during his career. It’s been nearly 10 years since Hansen was called out to an Aurora home to look for a missing six-year-old child named Aaroné Thompson. Since that fateful day in November 2005, Hansen has kept the little girl—who was later determined to have been murdered and disposed of by her father and his live-in girlfriend—at the front of his mind. “I still talk with Aaroné’s mom twice a year,” says Hansen, whose involvement with the case I detailed in 5280's February 2010 issue, “and I keep a picture of her on my desk. It still bothers me that we never found her body.”
The Aurora Police Department’s ceremony, to be held at the Aurora Municipal Center, will feature a speech by mayor Steve Hogan, a victim remembrance quilt, a memorial wreath, expressions from representatives of the Aurora crime victim community, and a special moment honoring Aaroné Thompson and other missing children.