NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An unthinkable murder led Elaine Colclasure of North Little Rock to a life-long mission to help victims of violent crimes.
More than 30 years ago, her late husband Dick was murdered by two teens who dumped his body in the Arkansas River.
“I got a call from the detective who said he was shot six times, then on the news that night we heard that he had been run over with his car,” Elaine recalled of the day she got the dreadful details.
The criminals were arrested, tried, convicted and sent to prison, but justice didn’t come easy.
“At that point there were no victim’s rights,” Elaine explained. “There were none. We didn’t have impact statements. We didn’t have anything.”
Elaine was now widowed with three children, her youngest only 7. In an effort to help her mother-in-law deal with the loss, she took her to a new program at that time called Parents of Murdered Children.
While she originally hoped to console her mother-in-law, it was Elaine who found comfort there.
“I started doing volunteer work with them and found out that me helping other people made me feel better,” she said. “If you give something, you get something in return.
For decades now, Elaine has been giving her heart and soul to Parents of Murdered Children. She helps victims in many ways including changing Arkansas legislation. She influenced the creation of the Crime Victim’s Assistance Association of Arkansas and the Arkansas Victims’ Academy because she discovered not all victims are treated well.
“I found out really quick that’s not how it works,” Elain said of the system’s treatment of some victims.
Many agree, though, that the system works better than it did three decades ago when Dick was murdered, thanks in part to the remarkable work of this remarkable woman.
Elaine, who this month turns 80, said she intends to continue volunteering with parents of murder children, saying there’s still more to be done.