Tips Sought In Bernita White Case

"Our family experienced an unbelievable loss," said Makhia Sims, as she asked people with tips to come forward.

It was during a birthday party on a Saturday afternoon, June 23, 2001 that Bernita White was murdered.

"Our tragedy doubled that day, when our mother Barbara Sims died from the shock of losing Bernita," said Makhai Sims, Bernita's sister.

When police informed Bernita's mother what happened she went into cardiac arrest.

"That Saturday in 2001 Lansing and Detroit were dealt a tremendous loss," said Sims as tears streamed down her face.

Yet the killer remains free.

Now Crime Stoppers is offering $2,500 to the person whose tip leads to an arrest.

"If you have any information, no matter how insignificant you might feel it is we are asking that you please make an anonymous phone call to crime stoppers," said John Broad, the President of Michigan Crime Stoppers.

"Anybody that was there at the time, anyone that may have known somebody that was there at the time, or heard anything related to it--we are encouraging those people to call," said Lt. Kyle Bowman of the Michigan State Police.

Officers say there are no borders to crime and so the suspect could be anywhere in the state.

"What we are afraid of is that people may have some information and not be aware of it," said Bowman. "You can't conduct a crime like this and not have at least someone else that's not involved and not know about it. It's just the nature of what occurred."

The shooting happened at Potter Park in the middle of the afternoon, dozens of people were present. While officers have no conviction and no suspect, they say they still bring their families to the Zoo and no one should be afraid of coming to the park.

For Captain Daryl Green of the Lansing Police Department this case is personal.

"Having a child myself, taking my child to Potter Park Zoo. This is something that haunted all of us in the community," said Green

This is one of 26 unsolved homicides in Lansing during the past ten years.

"Bernita deserves justice and it has been too long coming," said Sims. "Someone out there has information that can bring Bernita's killer to justice."

Sims hopes this mothers' day the crime can be solved.

If you have any information, or know someone who does, police want to hear from you. Call 1-800-773-2587 (1-800-SPEAK-UP). You can also go online a www.1800speakup.org or contact the Lansing Police Department or Michigan State Police.

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