Mother’s Day holds sad memories for family of Ahoskie murder victim

Published 5:06 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

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GATESVILLE – For the fourth consecutive year, Shari Matthews-Wilson will spend Mothers Day without seeing or hearing from her only daughter.

A $25,000 reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the 2021 murder of Patrice Matthews-Faison. Contributed Photo

Patrice Matthews-Faison was murdered in Ahoskie on Jan. 22, 2021. The person responsible for taking the life of the 38-year-old mother of three remains at large.

“We take for granted that those that we love will always be here with us on this physical planet,” said Matthews-Wilson who lives near Gatesville. “The agony of a murdered child does not go away and the love I feel for her will never fade. I know that I must live with this devastation for the rest of my life.”

Despite being three full years removed from the murder, Matthews-Wilson says she has not yet fully grieved for the loss of her daughter.

“I grieve for my motherless grandchildren,” she remarked. “I grieve for the mothers who know the dark storm of having their own flesh and blood transition out of this life. I also grieve for all those who experience the pain inflicted on a mother like me who was denied systemic access to the right to be notified and kept informed of the circumstances around her death. As Patrice’s mother, I express my extreme disappointment for being shut out of the end of her life and I was the very one who helped give her life.”

She stressed that no mother should be told that she is not “next of kin” when her child is murdered.

“I champion the cause to insure that no other mom experiences the pain of not only of a huge loss as I have, but the heartbreak and suffering caused by being denied access to any information regarding her murder,” Matthews-Wilson said. “Upon inquiring about Patrice’s murder, I was pointedly told that because I was not Patrice’s next of kin, I could not be told any information. As her biological mother, this treatment is an insult added to injury. No mother should be denied such crucial information by any system that brutally disrespects parental rights.”

However, that exclusion has failed to keep Matthews-Wilson from attempting to find out who murdered her daughter.

“Late last year, I canvassed store after store; home after home in Ahoskie, distributing flyers offering a handsome reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for her death,” she said. “I cried most of the way.

“Then people started to ask me for flyers, proceeding to tell me stories of what wonderful joy Patrice had brought to their lives,” Matthews-Wilson continued. “I found myself consoling them because Patrice had touched them so tremendously. Her absence left a horrible void in my own life as well as a gigantic hole in a tight-knit and loving community. I take consolation in those few days because of the love that I felt from each story and hugs that people gave me. My Patrice was a light who was loved by so many. Her goodness and acts of kindness are missed throughout the community.”

Matthews-Wilson noted that her daughter nearly died the day she was born.

“The doctor said Patrice’s heart rate was dropping rapidly and he needed to do an emergency C-section immediately,” she recalled. “I will never forget feeling the dread at that point. That carrying my daughter for nine months could all be taken in just one second of her heartbeat. No, Lord please…. not my baby, not today. The Lord’s answer was no, not today.

“Patrice went on to thrive in all that she did during her life and love was the greatest asset she generously shared. It boggles my mind how someone could take her life and alter the lives of her children, my grandchildren in one heartbeat,” she added.

Now, more than 40 years later, Matthews-Wilson believes that God will bring truth and justice.

“He will do this in His way, better than I ever could. I simply choose to walk in the power God gives me to do good and not evil. I choose peace that even I cannot fathom,” she stressed.

As Mother’s Day 2024 approaches, Matthews-Wilson says she cannot figure out which is worse: not being able to call and wish her now late departed mom Happy Mother’s Day or having her daughter call and pass along the same personal sentiment.

“The reality of it all is that neither will happen again because both my mother’s and my daughter’s souls are now free, at peace, and home with God,” she noted. “I can only look forward to the day when I will see my Lord and Savior with all His grace. This is part of the promise of feeling my mother’s embrace and looking upon my daughter, Patrice’s beautiful face once again.”

To honor the memory of her late daughter, Matthews-Wilson is in the process of establishing the Patrice Scherrie Matthews Foundation.

“I will champion a movement to serve families in need of social services and advocacy of all types,” she said. “This platform will insure that more and more grieving mothers receive the support, information, proper counsel, and access to appropriate resources. In addition, both immediate and extended family members will receive the support needed to continue navigating their lives. With the right tools, everyone will have a chance to rebuild their lives after trauma.”

Those with information about the murder of Patrice Matthews-Faison are encouraged to contact the Ahoskie Police Department at 252-332-5011 or the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation at 919-662-4500. All calls are kept anonymous and there is a $25,000 reward, offered through the North Carolina Governor’s Office for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the murderer.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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