"He's in the Morgue"; Milwaukee Homicide Victims still Waiting to be Buried
A pair of Milwaukee homicide victims are still waiting to be buried, a full 10 days after they were shot and killed in separate incidents.
34-year-old Earl Hubanks was killed outside a bar off 40th and Fond du Lac Avenue, caught in an argument his sister believes he wasn't even a part of. His body has been sitting in a funeral home ever since, as his family tries to raise the $2100 they still need for his services.
"It's very heartbreaking," says his Sister Ebony. "His funeral is Thursday, but if we don't have all the money by Wednesday, it's not even guaranteed we can even have his funeral."
Eubanks did not have life insurance, or anything that would cover sudden end-of-life expenses. His sister says that's not uncommon on Milwaukee's poverty-stricken north-side, where life insurance is viewed as a luxury many can't afford.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," she told us through tears Tuesday. "I'm tired, and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to bury my brother."
Just down the road, Dawn Williams is in a similar situation. Her son Quishawne was shot and killed in a robbery-related incident that same night.
"It's hard, it's very stressful, I've got sleepless nights, I cry," she says. "It's been since the 13th of August, and I don't want him to sit there any longer than he has to."
Williams say she's about $3,000 shy of where she needs to be to have a proper funeral.
"Most younger adults don't have life insurance," she says. "My son was 23-years-old, so that was not a priority in his life, when he was just trying to live day-to-day to make it."
Both families say news headlines and community support have been focused on the officer-involved shooting of Sylville Smith, and of unrest near Sherman Park. Both say it feels like they are being forgotten.
"This is something that's unexpected, so everyone needs a helping hand," says Dawn.
"I'm upset that they're not recognizing anybody else's death but Sylville Smith's," says Ebony. "What about the other crimes?"
The state does provide compensation for the family of a victim following a serious crime like a homicide, but funeral expenses are only covered up to $2,000. That money also takes months to receive, following police investigations and applications by family members.
Community activists like Tory Lowe are calling on churches and city leaders to help the families. Williams say she hasn't been contacted by a single pastor or Alderman.
"It's time for the preachers and community leaders to come together and help these families bury their loved ones," says Lowe. "These are innocent lives. Their lives were taken through senseless acts of violence, and we need to get our community back aware of these situations."
You can donate to the Earl Hubanks funeral fund by clicking here.
Donations for Quishawne Williams can be made out to "Pitts Mortuary."