WILKES-BARRE — Patricia Moreton was shot to death eight years ago, but it seems as if it happened just yesterday, her father, Patrick, said Friday evening at a candlelight vigil for his daughter.
Family and friends still have fond memories of the Wilkes-Barre woman, but the nightmare that was her death, and the years her murder remains unsolved, continue to haunt them.
About two dozen of Moreton’s family members and friends gathered near the south entrance of the Luzerne County Courthouse Friday evening, the eighth anniversary of her death, to remember the mother of three. It’s an annual tradition the family vows to continue until the person who took her life is brought to justice.
Moreton, then 35, was found dead from a single gunshot wound inside her residence at 340 Hazle Ave. on Jan. 31, 2006. Her death was ruled a homicide, but no one has been charged in the case.
“They told us years ago they knew who did it,” Patrick Moreton, 71, now of Buffalo, N.Y., said before the vigil began.
But he and his daughter Cathy Stephens said police didn’t have enough evidence.
“I always felt they were blowing smoke in our face,” Moreton said.
“I miss her every day,” Patricia’s mother, Karen Spielmann of Wilkes-Barre said. “I think about her all the day.”
Stephens said she still struggles with her sister’s murder.
“First of all, she was my sister,” she said. “And this person is walking the street.”
Moreton said he went to the police two years ago to ask about the case.
“Nobody knew anything about it,” he said, noting the officers who worked the case had retired. “I know somebody out there knows something.”
He said if anyone does, they should contact the newspaper or Wilkes-Barre police.
“I know it would give us a sense of peace to know that person was caught and at least paid for his crimes,” he added.
Moreton’s case is one of more than a dozen unsolved murders in Luzerne County since 2003.
Why she was murdered is a mystery to the family, too.
Another of Patricia’s four sisters, Debborah Ankudovich, said Patricia would give anyone the shirt off her back.
Their father put it a different way.
“If you met Patty and talked to her for 10 minutes, you’d be glad to have her as a friend,” he said.
But Ankudovich said it feels as if nobody cares, except for family and friends.
And those family and friends will keep meeting every year to remember Patricia, for as long as they have to.
“Every year we hope this will be our last year, because we hope somebody was brought to justice,” she said.