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I kind of died with her': Vigil held for Durham realtor found dead

The Durham community on Monday honored the life of a Durham real estate agent. Liliana Concha Perez was found dead on Jan. 9 in her office, alongside a man her family says was her former boyfriend.

Concha-Perez's brother, Mauricio, told WRAL News it's still hard for him to believe his sister his gone."I don't think I can describe it in words," he said. "I feel that I kind of died with her." Hundreds attend the vigil at the Willa Latina Plaza on Chapanoke Road in Raleigh. Her friends, like Leonor Clavijo, described Perez as a pillar in the community.

"She wasn't selling houses or showing people houses. She was changing peoples lives with every opportunity." Clavijo said. "She was very passionate about helping other people." The real estate agent leaves behind two adult children and a granddaughter. Maruicio Concha Perez said it's his job to step in now that their mother and grandmother is gone. "It's hard to learn how to give that care," he said. "Being an uncle is different, but now I'm what they have."

Clavijo is working to obtain a humanitarian visa so Concha-Perez's mother can travel from Colombia to say goodbye to her daughter one last time. "We are asking for our local representatives, Senate and our Congress people to be able to say yes to this visa," Clavijo said. Nearly a week later, Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, the President of El Centro Hispano, says the community wants answers.

"People people are sad. People are angry because of what happened. But also, everyone is looking at how we can comfort for each other and also seeing how we can prevent this from happening to any of the women here." Rocha-Goldberg said. Many hoped the vigil would provide closure to people still looking for answers, and allow people to remember her for how she lived and not how she died. Police are still investigating the case.


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Restoring Hope To Justice-Involved Women

Women offenders have special needs that often are not addressed during incarceration. As a result, transitioning from incarceration can be challenging and even impossible for many.


In 2021, there were roughly 228 women who returned to the Triangle area from state prison and in 2022, that number increased slightly to 232 (NC DPS - Office of Research & Planning, 2023). Also in 2022, there were more than 800 women serving their sentences on community probation throughout the Triangle area. Of both parolees and probationers, more than 80% were mothers of minor children and had the primary responsibility for their care prior to and following incarceration. Ex-incarcerated women are more likely than their male peers to experience higher levels of poverty, homelessness and abuse following a jail or prison term--making the post-prison transition much more difficult.

Research suggests that focusing on the differences between female and male conduits to criminality as well as applying gender-specific interventions, results in more positive outcomes. In the end, the application of specialized practices in criminal justice reform equals greater success for women ex-offenders when attempting to re-establish new pathways to society. It is also proven that the implementation of community-based, gender-responsive practices contributes to lower rates of female recidivism which in turn benefits justice-involved women, their families, the community and society as a whole.

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