‘Nobody really called’: 6 years after her son’s murder, a Philadelphia mother wants answers

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Content warning: This story contains descriptions of violence. 

Crystal Arthur just finished homeless outreach, giving away hot meals, toiletries, and “survival bags.” Her charity work was commemorating the 6th anniversary of her son Kristian Hamilton-Arthur’s death.

Kristian was just about to turn 29 when he was killed. His case, like many in Philadelphia, remains unsolved. His is another story that points to the need to fix an ineffective forensics department.

The story

Crystal described Kristian as her best friend.

“He was really smart,” she recalled, smiling. “And to be as young as he is … he was, he accomplished a lot of things that by the time he passed away, things that a 35-year-old person or 40-year-old person is just getting to.” While working other jobs, Kristian studied real estate. “He was an investor; he had already graduated from real estate school, and at the age of 21, he bought his first property.”

Kristian visited Dorney Park with friends that day, and arrived home shortly before his mom did.

“It was a beautiful night,” Arthur recalled. “I mean, it was the air was perfect. The temperature was perfect. No clouds in the sky whatsoever.”

Kristian and about two dozen others talked outside when a car pulled up. Multiple shooters began firing, and the panicked group scattered.

“We proceeded to go a block away, and we were just sitting in the car and I noticed the traffic was being directed in the opposite direction.” Arthur was driven closer to the scene, and when she was told her son had been shot, she rushed to Jefferson Hospital. After waiting about 45 minutes, she was told Kristian had no signs of life.

He was five days shy of 29.

  • August 17, 2023
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