(WJBK) - A metro Detroit mother is trying to turn her pain into something positive while still waiting for justice. Bertha Matthews is still in mourning after her daughter Dominique Brown was murdered. Her killer is still out there.
"This has been a living nightmare," she says. "It's so hard for me to live every day. For me to get up and smile is ..." Bertha's voice trailed off. Sometimes it's just too hard to talk about it. "I don't want anyone ever to experience burying a child." Brown, 26, was killed July 30, 2017.
The shooting happened when she and another aspiring rapper Ramell Campbell were driving eastbound on I-94 near Livernois when someone in another car opened fire on them. Both were killed -- and Bertha learned of her daughter’s death on social media.
"To open up a Facebook page," she says, "and have people calling to say your child has been murdered - it's just ..."
Since losing Dominique, Bertha has also lost her 25-year-old son to a bone disease, but she believes he just lost the will to live after his beloved sister was murdered.
"I pretty much think I lost him to a broken heart," Bertha says.
She has tried to channel the negative into something positive by helping other families dealing with senseless violence.
"I started a group called The Mother to Mother Support Group," she says. "And my goal every year is to sponsor a family for a billboard." So far, she's raised money to sponsor a Crime Stoppers billboard for the still unsolved murder of 6-month-old Miracle Murray who was shot and killed in April 2016.
"My strength comes from helping people and I know that's what my daughter would want me to do," she says.
Dominique left behind two children of her own, who are now 2 and 5 years old, and can only visit their mom at the cemetery.
"It's something that they have become accustomed to, which is sad," Bertha says. "Seeing their mom on a headstone."
Bertha has a word of warning for other young women who may be hanging out with people they don't really know.
"Be aware of your surroundings and who you're hanging with," she says.
She is also asking again that anyone who knows anything to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP. There is a $3,000 reward for information.
"I would hope they speak up because this is so heartbreaking," Bertha says. "It's heartbreaking."
Calls to Crime Stoppers are always anonymous.