Duval County

GETS REAL: Finding hope through therapy, nonprofit aims to help families of homicide victims

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For those who’ve lost a loved one to violence, learning how to cope with the trauma can seem like an insurmountable task.

But for one local woman, her family’s tragedy has now turned into a mission to help others.

When Katie Wiggins’ dad, Stephen, was murdered back in 2008 she had no one to turn to.

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“I went to a couple of counselors and they just didn’t understand the things that I had experienced from losing my dad to murder,” she said.

Together with Project: Cold Case, Action News Jax featured the case back in 2018.

Her dad’s case remains unsolved but since then Wiggins has become a licensed mental health counselor.

“I just had a vision last July to help those who’ve lost a loved one to homicide through mental health counseling,” said Wiggins.

Now she’s launching her own non-profit called Healing Roots: Where Hope is Found where she focuses on helping the families of murder victims cope with their loss.

Coming up this Saturday, May 22, Healing Roots is holding a candlelight vigil to honor 14 victims, supporters will be able to sponsor a victim’s family starting at $25.

“If you donate, then you’re donating specifically, you could do six sessions or more for each person or you could just do a blind donation,” said Wiggins.

So far Healing Roots has received some referrals directly from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

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But the need for mental health counseling is great.

Wiggins hopes to make a difference through understanding because she too knows the pain of loss.

To reach Wiggins for counseling, you can email healingroots20@gmail.com, or visit their website for more information.

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