AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen has released the number of deaths for 2019. More than 50 people lost their life.
20 deaths fall under suicide and around 30 of them were homicides.
NewsChannel 6’s Ashley Flete spoke to a local woman who raises awareness through her stop the violence rallies.
Garian Henry says she’s survived going to prison at a young age. Thankful that she’s turned her life around, she now uses her story to change the narrative of the younger generation.
“I wanted to raise awareness to Augusta and if we don’t stop it as a whole, we will have people moving out of this town. We won’t even know Augusta in the next year or so,” says Henry.
250,000 people. That’s how many people Coroner Mark Bowen says fall under his supervision. In 2018, Bowen reported 27 suicides and 36 homicides. He says the alarming part of those reports are the ages.
The ages continue to reassemble that of the younger generation. Bowen says showing them where their decisions can lead them holds as an important educational tool. In hopes that they will think deeper into their actions.
“We show them the back room, the autopsy room. The morgue area and let them know that this is the final resting place. When you come here it’s all over and you have to realize that game of whatever it was, when y’all were playing with guns was not worth this.”
This near death experience is something Garian Henry says she’s battled with front and center after losing her younger self to the way of the streets.
“And when I got out there in the streets, I started picking up what everybody else was doing and that actually formed my life in the begining. I got in trouble while in college and had to go to prison,” says Henry.
Both the coroner and Henry agree where this all starts is the place it needs to end.
“Opened up and talked with him and he was crying. He looked up and said ‘that’s were my momma was’ and he looked up and pointed to my morgue,” Bowen shares this memory of what happened when he used the morgue as an educational tool.
“We’re losing it. We are losing the battle with our children. A lot of these parents need to face the facts. It starts at home. It starts at the home,” says Henry.
As the calls and causes of death continue to happen, Bowen says it’s time his office started making an impact in our community by hosting programs that will lead teenagers off the wrong track and onto the right one.
“I will tell anybody, prison is not the place to be. It’s more violent now than it was when I went. It’s way more violent than the 90’s and they have no mercy on young kids now,” shares Henry.
Photographer: Gary Hipps