Members of the community gathered Wednesday evening at the grave of a baby known as Julie Valentine to grieve and celebrate progress in the 29 year investigation into her death.
Julie Valentine was found dead in a field in Greenville in 1990. Last week, police identified Brook Graham as the baby’s mother. Graham is charged with homicide by child abuse. Wednesday, DNA results from the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division showed that Graham is the baby’s mother, according to the Greenville Police Department. Graham is being held without bond in the Greenville County Detention Center.
The child’s memory has been kept alive in part by the Julie Valentine Center, which was named in her honor.
“Her life was not in vain,” said Shauna Galloway-Williams, who is the executive director of the Julie Valentine Center. “She definitely is giving hope to say many throughout our community every day.”
The Julie Valentine Center is a non-profit that supports surviviors of sexual assault and child abuse. Wednesday evening, dozens of people lit candles in honor of the baby girl, who lived for only a few days nearly three decades ago.
“Her life continues to really shine a light on our community and has done that for many years,” said Galloway-Williams.
The story of Julie Valentine touched the Upstate. In 2011, the Greenville Rape Crisis and Child Abuse Center changed its name to the Julie Valentine Center, breathing new life into their mission.
“It gave us a new sense of hope and an inspiration to do what we do every day because we don’t ever want to see this happen to another child,” said Galloway-Williams. “And we don’t ever want to see a caregiver feel like they have no other option than to do this.”
The Julie Valentine Center continues to help survivors and their families get past trauma and abuse.
“I remember the story, you kow, when it broke, about little Julie Valentine…I remember how I thought about praying about anybody that would come through the doors of the center, never realizing that one day it would be me,” said assault survivor KC Cox.
Cox said the center helped him through his darkest days after being assaulted.
“I literally had to be helped through the doors because I was so afraid, but I’m here right now to show you that strength,” Cox said.
Galloway-Williams said she hopes that detectives cracking Julie Valentine’s cold case will show other victims that justice can be served.
“For an infant that was unknown, that only lived for a few days…and how much time and dedication and energy was put into solving this case gives hope to any victim.”