Two years after his murder, Durham pastor's family searching for answers

Michael Perchick Image
Sunday, July 22, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Family, friends, and fellow community members gathered in the parking lot at Divine Grace Worship Center in Durham for a vigil in memory of Jamie Daniels Saturday afternoon.

"We miss him very very much and it just seems like it's fresh, all over again," said Monica Alston, Daniels' sister. "Like every day we're living this horrible thing that happened to us. And even though it's been two years it seems like it happened yesterday."

Daniels' body was discovered off Dunbar Street in Durham on July 16, 2016. In an exclusive interview with ABC11 shortly following his death, Alston said he had no family or friends living on that street.

More than two years later, the search continues for the shooter.

"Speak up and reveal what you've done, so that we can have some closure. Because my mom is very heartbroken. We'll never be able to have him back," said Alston.

Daniels was just 33 years old at the time of his death. He was co-pastor at Divine Grace Worship Center, where his mother Elder Joanne Daniels serves as Senior Pastor. She voiced frustration over the pace of the investigation.

"I'm disappointed with the Durham Police Department, that... I don't know. It just seems like they put it on the back burner," said Daniels.

The family has since hired a private investigator to look into the case, and hopes Saturday's vigil will keep it in the spotlight.

His mother and daughter both believe the shooter knew Daniels, as they mentioned his trusting nature.

"Jamie was a very giving person, kindhearted person. He would give you the shirt off his back," said Alston.

Daniels explained she uses her son's advice to keep moving forward following his death.

"As I'm getting a little older, and I'm a little slower, so he'd always give me a push in my back and say 'push mama, push'. So when I'm feeling a little down, I kind of feel that little tug in my back and I hear him saying 'push mama, push,'" said Daniels.

The Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham also attended Saturday's vigil, which included a balloon release, prayers, and several comments from mourners.

ABC11 reached out to Durham Police Saturday night to learn the status of the investigation. As of airtime, they have not yet responded.

To view Saturday's vigil, click here.

If you have any information on this call, call Durham Police.