about us

Homicide Survivors, Inc. is on a mission to help meet the crisis and long term needs of families of murder victims through support, advocacy, and assistance.

Hope & Healing

At Homicide Survivors Inc., we believe that a compassionate and trauma-informed response to survivors is essential to creating a safe space to grieve, heal, and transform. Grief is a lifelong journey; we are here to provide you with the tools and resources necessary to move forward.

Founder

In Memory of Gail Leland

After Gail Leland’s 14-year-old son, Richard, was murdered in 1981, she recognized the need for support for parents of murdered children. She founded the charter chapter of Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) in Tucson, Arizona, on February 19, 1982, which later became Homicide Survivors, Inc.

Meet Our Team

James Gierke

Executive Director
In 1999, James began his career in social work and worked with different victim service agencies in Tucson, Az. James is honored to work with an organization dedicated to advocacy, support, and assistance to family and friends who have lost a loved one to murder.

Dennisse Ley

Operations Manager & Victim Advocate
Born in Mexico to two parents that always encouraged her to help others, Dennisse became involved in community & social justice groups at a young age. Dennisse feels honored to work for HSI & hopes to grow & formalize our program to serve families & friends of murder victims better.

Sylvia Alvarez

Victim Advocate
In 2015, Sylvia turned to HSI for emotional support after her son, Michael, was killed in a drunk driving crash on Valentine’s day. In September of 2017 she joined HSI as a Victim Advocate & finds helping survivors rewarding & comforting & healing for her during her ongoing grief.

Nadia Hagen

Victim Advocate
Alev Nadia Hagen Onuktav is the Creatrix and Artistic Director for The All Souls Procession and Flam Chen Productions. Her career spans over 20 years of performing, directing and designing large public spectacles and events. Nadia's Primary focus at HSI is to use her creative background to provide alternative forms of healing for Survivors.

Paula Lopez

Community Engagement & Victim Advocate
Paula is a creative, driven, & solutions-focused professional. She seeks innovative & dynamic approaches to developing & sustaining programs through technical assistance and support. Paula specializes in the non-profit sector & is deeply committed to improving her community. She started with HSI in 2019 as an intern & is excited to focus her efforts in support of survivors.

Daniela Muñoz-Alvarez

Victim Advocate
Within the last ten years, Daniela has dedicated her work towards understanding and addressing gender-based violence. As an HSI advocate, she hopes to combine her experience of serving different communities at the intersections of violence to provide compassionate support & advocacy on behalf of those who have survived the homicide of their most loved.

Narda Rivera

Victim Advocate
After almost 20 years of working as an advocate, Narda continues to be called to support survivors of violence. As a survivor, she understands the intersections & impacts that violence has on our communities. Narda is committed to organizing & working towards making systemic changes that will create a stronger, safer, & equitable world for all.

Paloma Sainz

Victim Advocate
As a young child, Paloma saw the hardships, pain, & injustices that occur to individuals regarding things they have no control over, such as race, gender & religious associations. Wanting to change this, Paloma did everything she could to become a voice for the voiceless.

Lisa Spilsbury

Bookkeeper
Lisa was raised in Tucson, and after traveling a bit, settled back to the town she loves. As a bookkeeper working behind the scenes, she finds it deeply gratifying to be helping the helpers. She is looking forward to growing and learning as the program grows.

Board of directors

Our Directors bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences united by their passion for our mission. We’re grateful to have a group of innovative and committed leaders guiding our organization..