A mother grieves for a daughter gunned down in Nicetown

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Diana Marable (L), mother, and Kareema Marable, daughter.

MOTHER'S DAY last year was a happy, noisy affair. Diana Marable, a single mother of six, had her one-bedroom North Philly apartment packed full of family - all six kids and her grandkids.

She cooked macaroni and cheese, beef ribs and corn bread, and everyone sat in the living room in front of the TV, balancing plates on their knees. Before long, they scattered to their own lives, leaving behind Marable, her 22-year-old daughter and a grandson. The three of them went to Franklin Mills Mall, where Marable treated her daughter to a new summer dress and a pair of sandals.

Yesterday was a much more somber Mother's Day. Marable, 52, broke into tears whenever she thought of her daughter.

In November, police discovered Kareema Andrea Marable lying in a Nicetown street with a fatal bullet wound in the back of her head. Six months later, police have no motives or suspects in the case. A $20,000 reward has been posted for information leading to an arrest.

Marable is frustrated that Philadelphia police haven't solved her daughter's murder. She's haunted by the thought that whoever killed her daughter is still walking around.

She also feels let down by local media, which mostly ignored her daughter's death. Through the tsunami of her grief, Marable noticed. And she got good and mad. Now she's on a crusade to get somebody - anybody - to listen. She has called the Daily News several times a day, because she wants people to know that her daughter wasn't just another fatality on the streets of Philadelphia.

Kareema was a real person. She was a young mother with a bright smile who liked to do hair and dress up. A kindhearted soul, she was known for taking in friends who had no place to stay. She had her share of medical and psychological issues, but Kareema should have had a long life ahead of her.

"I feel as though a picture of her should have been on the news and they should talk about it like they do other people, when other people get killed," Marable told me.

"I want her picture in the news. I want her name and stuff [in the news]. She got killed when she was 22," Marable said of her daughter. "In other words, I want her to be treated like all of the other murders."

She has a point. It might have been front-page news, had it happened in another neighborhood or under other circumstances.

Maybe her death would have attracted better local coverage if police had more to go on, especially since she had no identification on her when she was killed.

Or perhaps her death would have attracted more attention if there had been something especially noteworthy about it besides the fact that yet another at-large gunman had snuffed out another young African-American life, one of 248 people killed in Philadelphia in 2014.

Here's what police say happened: Authorities responded to a report of gunshots on Rowan Street near 16th at 11:27 p.m. They found Kareema lying in the street with a gunshot wound to the back of her head. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police told me they're doing everything they can to track down Kareema's killer. Anyone with information is being urged to call 215-686-3334.

"It's an active investigation," said Sgt. Frank Hayes of the Homicide Division. "We're not giving up hope that we'll catch the killer."

The family is hoping that someone who knows what happened that awful night last November will step forward with information that could lead to an arrest.

Meanwhile, Kareema's family struggles to move on. Khary Damu, her older brother, now has trouble sleeping at night. "Her son asks me sometimes, 'Where my mom?' " Damu said. "He knows something ain't right. I don't know what to tell him . . .

"She was somebody that was loved."

 


On Twitter: @JeniceArmstrong

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Email: armstrj@phillynews.com