Parents of Murdered Children Annual Vigil April 22

nationalMelissa Gosule’s car broke down on Cape Cod on July 11, 1999. Michael Gentile offered her a ride; eight days later her body was discovered near the Chaffin Reservoir in Pembroke.

Melissa was 27-years-old. Her rapist and killer had 27 criminal offenses on his record the night he took her life.

For 13 years after Melissa was stolen from him, her father, Les Gosule fought to pass “Melissa’s Bill” through the Massachusetts Legislature, aimed at keeping dangerous repeat offenders behind bars without the possibility of parole. He won his battle on August 2, 2012 when Gov. Deval Patrick signed “Melissa’s Law.”

Les Gosule will be in Lowell on Monday April 22, speaking at the Merrimack Valley Chapter of the Parents of Murdered Children’s 4th annual candlelight vigil in honor of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year’s theme is “New Challenges, New Solutions.”

The event kicks off at the Lowell Senior Center at 5 p.m. with an array of informational booths from: Alternative House, the Center for Hope and Healing, Community Voices, Garden of Peace, Lowell Community Health Center, Lowell Police Department, Massachusetts Office for Victims Assistance, the Merrimack Valley Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, and Victim Compensation.

At 7:30 p.m., there will be a candlelight walk from the Senior Center to City Hall escorted by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office’s Motorcade and Color Guard.

A speaking program, hosted by Mayor Patrick Murphy will then commence at City Hall. In addition to Les Gosule, speakers include: Sen. Eileen Donoghue, Rep. Kevin Murphy, Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, Lowell Police Deputy Superintendent Arthur Ryan and Lisa Solecki from the Attorney General’s Office.

Music will be provided by saxophonist Paul Belley and the Lowell High School Show Choir under the direction of Andre Descoteaux.

The Merrimack Valley Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children was founded by Arnie Muscovitz. His daughter, Karen, was killed in Florida in 2004 by her boyfriend’s mentally ill brother.

The POMC offers support for family’s of crime victims, as well as lobbies for legislation such as “Melissa’s Law” aimed at preventing new members from joining their ranks.

For more information about the Candlelight Vigil or POMC, contact Arnie Muscovitz at 978-452-5858 or amuscovitz@comcast.net.

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