Diamond Lewis, the youngest daughter of Cornelius Lewis, was slain in April 2016, and he
never got the opportunity to say goodbye. As a volunteer at Hospice of the Calumet Area in Munster, he now gives solace to families who have lost loved ones due to murder.
Lewis, who serves on the national board of Parents of Murdered Children, said that he
derives his strength from assisting others. “In my instance, I did not get complete justice, therefore supporting other families helps me,” he said.
After Lewis’ daughter was murdered, a friend informed him about the grief support group The Wounded Healers, which meets at St. James the Less Catholic Church in Highland.
A representative from Hospice of the Calumet Area addressed the group a few months after
he began attending meetings. He said, “Something clicked with me, and I completed hospice training.” “Although I wasn’t there for Diamond, I can be for these other families.”
In August of 2018, the murderer of Diamond Lewis was given a 72-year jail term.
A Lake Criminal Court jury found the man guilty of murder, obstruction of justice, auto theft, mutilating a corpse, and fraud after hearing evidence that he strangled her to death in her Merrillville apartment, dumped her body in an abandoned Gary home, burned her corpse with lighter fluid, and sold her car.
During the man’s trial, prosecutors from Lake County put two separate women to the stand, both of whom stated that they assisted him after the murder. One of the ladies was never prosecuted, while the prosecution abandoned the case against the other.
Cornelius Lewis said, “They left with nothing in their files.” “I could have handled it even if
they had given them some time and delayed the whole process. But to be inactive?”
One of the ladies acknowledged to assisting the guy in removing Diamond’s remains. Lewis
said that the dismissal of her accusations by the prosecutor’s office was traumatic.
After Diamond was killed, Cornelius Lewis and his wife assumed care of her three children,
who were only 3 years, 2 years, and 2 months old at the time. He added that every day he sees Diamond in the youngsters. Lewis claimed that his daughter was amusing and compassionate. According to him, she was especially interested in assisting the elderly and the destitute.
“She’d be like, ‘Dad, give them a dollar,'” recalled Lewis. He said that despite Diamond’s young age of 22, she was a wonderful mother. Prior to her death, she had saved $320 for her two-year-old son’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Lewis said, “There was still a celebration.” Without her, though, everything was different. At the intersection of 25th Avenue and Van Buren Street, he has been developing a memorial garden in honor of Diamond.
It is located on the same street as his church, Van Buren Missionary Baptist.
Gary police discovered Diamond’s corpse in the basement of an abandoned house in the
1400 block of West 18th Avenue on the evening of April 21, 2016. Diamond had been
missing for nine days.
Lewis said that police requested him to meet them that evening at the Merrillville Police
Department, but they refused to tell him where his daughter’s corpse had been discovered.
The next morning, he read a newspaper to determine Gary’s approximate location, which he had discovered the previous night while driving about Merrillville.
Despite the fact that the home has been demolished since 2016, Lewis still visits the site, he claimed. He said, “I would go there virtually every day for lunch.” “I would just pass by if I hadn’t had lunch. Five or six days a week I was present. He said, “Occasionally, I would wander outside to contemplate.” “It was a location where I could go to contemplate alone. I’d just remain in the vehicle. I became closer to Diamond. This residence made me feel closer to her than the crime scene. There was just something unique about the home.”
Prosecutors assured Lewis that a conviction in the murder of his daughter would be “a slam
dunk,” but he felt compelled to fight for the conclusion he desired.
When a dispute developed over whether the state had proof of maggots on his daughter’s
body, he called a detective and started studying dead corpses and insects at the Lake
County Library. According to him, his study aroused some suspicion in the library, and a police officer once approached him to question about it. The library employees started assisting him after discovering his objective there. Eventually, the prosecutor‘s office agreed to pay an insect expert to testify in court, he said.
He said, “I suppose I was akin to a deranged parent.” I refused to surrender.
Prior to the trial, Cornelius Lewis started to observe other court proceedings, including three or four murder cases, he claimed. He said, “I was only preparing for my case.” “After that, I was like, ‘OK, what I went through, I don’t want another family to experience that.'”
Lewis is now well-known throughout the four courtrooms of the Criminal Division of Lake
He said, “Every week I’m sitting in.” “I read and do research extensively. I just go out of my way to assist families.” He gets recommendations from community members he knows on occasion. Occasionally, he approaches families and provides his business card, he added, in case anybody want to speak with him. “Once I am connected with them, we go to court together,” he stated. He joined Parents of Murdered Children early on, attending monthly support group meetings at OSF Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Evergreen Park, he claimed. Representatives from the charity organization accompanied him to court proceedings concerning his daughter.
Lewis desired deeper involvement with the Cincinnati-based NGO as time passed.
He became a letter writer, writing 35 letters every month to bereaved families on the
birthdays and anniversaries of victims’ deaths.
Parents of Murdered Children did not have a branch in Indiana, so he became the
organization’s point of contact for the state. Afterwards, he became a trustee.
Lewis joined the board of the organisation for a one-year term in January 2021. He hopes to be selected for a new three-year term beginning in 2023, he said.
Ten parents were able to attend more than 40 courses and network with other families at the organization’s annual conference in St. Louis in July.
He will launch a fundraising effort on January 1 to send another group of parents to the 2023 POMC conference.
Lewis also serves on the board of Circle of Love NWI, a support group established this year
for Northwest Indiana families devastated by killings and gun violence.
Lewis has been a godsend to Sylvia Galvan’s family, according to the co-founder of Circle of
Love. She said, “He always prioritises us.” He will do everything to aid us.
Galvan said that Lewis first contacted her when she was attending a hearing for a guy
accused of murdering her son Thaddeus Rodriguez Jr. She said that Lewis waited for a considerable period of time while Galvan spoke with prosecutors. She said, “He is so sweet and gentle.” Since that fateful day, he has never left my side…. I’d be lost without him.
This year, parents such as Galvan and her husband attended the Parents of Murdered
Due to the feelings it may arouse, they were apprehensive about going. However, they are
thankful that you went, she remarked.
“It was just as he predicted: you won’t want to go, but once you get there, you won’t want to leave.” Galvan said. “We discovered so much. It is comparable to a large, extended family.” Lewis said that Parents of Murdered Children recently declared their intention to establish a chapter in Northwest Indiana. He said, “There are too many families with unresolved killings.” According to him, the region needs greater advocacy for victims, as well as a 24-hour helpline.
“We don’t really have someone to call out to in Northwest Indiana,” he said. “It’s 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, and you’re awake because you can’t stop thinking about your loved one…. There has to be a local phone number where you may call and speak.”
People who are mourning the murder of a loved one spend many restless hours pondering
how and why the killing occurred.
“Sometimes your friends and relatives, you want to speak to them, but they haven’t gone
through it,” he added. “They’re like, ‘Dude, just go to bed.’ They don’t want to hear it.”
Lewis said that he would also want to see law enforcement do a better job of notifying
victims’ relatives of their rights from the very beginning.
According to him, in Virginia, first responders provide families with a card that contains
information about their rights, services, and phone numbers.
Additionally, the state maintains a victims’ compensation fund that pays for grieving
counselling and medical treatment for kid victims.
Lewis said, in response to a question regarding communal violence, that he believes most of it begins at home. “There is so much negativity out there,” he said.
Even in the church, when children seem to be suffering, he added, some adults only speak
about the issue without taking action.
“The next thing you know, he’s in a juvenile detention facility,” he claimed. “Now, it gets
worse. He is accused with either murder or rape.
He said that individuals must relearn how to support one another.
Things would be far better if everyone worked together and stopped bickering and
complaining, he added.