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Crime News Unsung Heroes

'You Either Move Forward Or Stand Still,’ Mom Of Murder Victim To The Rescue For Other Grieving Families

After the murder of her son, Corey Laykovich, Michelle Metje founded “Corey’s Network” as a way to support the families of homicide victims.

By Daniel Egitto
Michelle Donated Corey's Organs, Saving 5 Lives

After Michelle Metje’s 22-year-old son Corey Laykovich was murdered in 2013, she vowed that no one in her community should have to suffer alone like she did.

Metje founded a Kansas, City Missouri nonprofit dedicated to the families of homicide victims. With Corey’s Network, Metje devoted her career to helping others through the greatest loss imaginable for a family.

This week, “Relentless With Kate Snow,” airing on Oxygen, takes viewers inside the horrific night Metje’s younger son, Justin, banged on her door telling her he needed her help, because, “There’s a hole in the side of Corey’s neck.”

Laykovich’s family was left reeling in the aftermath of his murder. In addition to the intense emotional toll that comes with that kind of a loss, Metje and her husband, Bob Norris, were stunned by the lack of organized support available to families in their situation.

“When I came out after I’d been told that Corey died, the first thing I did was ask for a victim’s advocate and there was no one there. No one that could help me, no one I could talk to. No one that could hold my hand or tell me what to do,” Metje said in an emotional YouTube video posted in August 2018.

Michelle Donated Corey's Organs, Saving 5 Lives

One Metje’s chief goals with Corey’s Network’s was to provide grieving families with the kind of support she had been missing after her son’s murder. In addition to referral services and a 24-hour hotline, the Network hosts a weekly Survivor’s Workshop a 10-week seminar featuring guest speakers with guidance on how to deal with the media, interact with law enforcement during open investigations, and navigate the judicial system.

“We give you the building blocks, so you can fight for your child or for your loved one,” Metje said. “There is no moving on from this. You either move forward, or you stand still, but there is no moving on.”

Corey’s Network also provides families with aid and advice on one of the most painful and expensive challenges to arise after the murder of a loved one — the funeral.

Funerals are incredibly expensive, and especially following a homicide, they often pose a financial burden few families are ready to deal with. If a family files for assistance through the Missouri Crime Victims’ Compensation Program and the claim is deemed eligible, they can get up to $5,000 in aid. The problem, however, is that it’s essentially impossible to have a funeral in Kansas City for under $5,000. If the homicide victim didn’t have the right insurance, funeral costs can be a major burden for families.

Over the past five years, Corey’s Network has helped families with the costs of more than 170 funerals, Metje told “Relentless” producers. They have also helped families run numerous fundraising and awareness campaigns, as well as provided financial help for children who have lost a parent.

Corey’s Network also helps families with keeping their loss in the public eye, helping grieving families host vigils and raise public awareness. They also host a Yearly Vigil for the Families of Unsolved Homicide Victims.

For the whole story of Corey Laykovich’s murder, his mother’s persistence and how his killer was brought to justice — three and a half years after the murder — watch the latest episode of “Relentless With Kate Snow" on Oxygen.com, and catch new episodes Fridays at 8/7c on Oxygen.