Lance Jones says he learned his tenacity from his mother, Pamela.
He has had to muster all of it to get through life without her after she was the victim of a homicide in 2011.
Pamela, a 73-year-old retired typing teacher, was found on Aug. 11, 2011, in the carport of her home on 10th Avenue SE in Salmon Arm.
After seven years without answers as to who killed his mother and why, Jones is planning to do something for those entangled in similarly violent and ambiguous circumstances.
Jones has started the Pamela Jones Foundation/Victims’ Rights Canada and set the lofty goal of raising $1 million to benefit a charity which supports victims’ rights in Canada. He said he is working hard towards the goal but acknowledges that large-scale fundraising is uncharted territory for him. What Jones lacks in experience, he believes he can make up for in hard work and single-minded determination.
Along with raising funds, Jones hopes his campaign will help bestow more rights on the victims of violent crimes and others affected by violence, particularly victims’ families. The limited information on the investigation into his mother’s death provided to Jones and his family has led to speculation which has caused him distress.
Jones said that the RCMP officers working on his mother’s case have been incredibly patient with his repeated requests for information, despite conversations which have gotten heated due to his frustration. The RCMP officers Jones has spoken to have said they have told him everything they can.
Jones said the ambiguity of the information he has been given has left him with no choice but to speculate on the fine details of the crime – which has only added to his grief and torment. He said he has consistently battled depression in the years since his mother was killed, but the act of lobbying for the victims of violent crimes and their families has led to improvement in his mental state.
Along with raising funds to help support the victims of violent crimes and their families, Jones’ experience has led him to campaign for a number of changes to the way families of victims are treated by the criminal justice system. According to the GoFundMe page Jones is using to raise funds, he is pushing for the rights of families of homicide victims to know the cause of their loved ones’ deaths.
“I definitely need to know how my mom died to help with closure; without this my mind has imagined every possible scenario, and that has been the worst form of torture believe me. If the cause of death was given to immediate family then this sort of anguish could be avoided simply by giving immediate family members this information,” The GoFundMe page reads.
Jones is also pushing for the right to a reasonable case closure time frame and the right for families to know if there is a suspect. Along with changes to the way victims and their families are handled, Jones wants to see stiffer sentencing for those who commit violent crimes. On the GoFundMe page he said he would like to see violent offenders who do not come forward immediately and escape justice have a length of time equal to how long they went without being caught added onto their initial sentences.
“The bad guy gets to live the best years of their lives free, while those left behind lose their best years in waiting; how is this fair,” Jones writes.
Jones said he also hopes to bring his mother’s case back into the public eye.
“Someone somewhere out there knows , and they need to do the right thing and come forward,” Jones said.
According to the RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, the killing of Pamela Jones is still under investigation by the B.C. RCMP’s E Division Serious Crime Unit and the local Salmon Arm investigation remains open.
“E Division Serious Crime and the Serious Crime Unit encourage anyone who may have information to call the local Salmon Arm Detachment or Crime Stoppers with their information or tip as we work to provide some measure of closure to the family and friends of Mrs. Jones that were affected by this tragedy,” Moskaluk said.
Jones said he is confident he is not alone as a family member who lost a loved one to a violent crime and who is forced to go on without much in the way of answers. He says he is determined to keep pushing for more rights for victims and their families.
“There’s no failure in anything unless you don’t try; my mom taught me that,” Jones said. Jones’ GoFundMe page can be found under Pamela Jones Foundation Victims Rights Canada. On Dec. 18 the campaign had raised $585 of its million dollar goal.