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A 20-year search ends in tragedy, the family of a homeless man found dead in Greensboro wants justice

The family of Lanceford Williams is back together in the worst way, to bury the 37-year-old. Williams was shot and killed on MLK Dr. on March 1.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro friends who knew a murdered homeless man aren't letting his spirit or unsolved case fade.

Tuesday, they held a second vigil for Lanceford Williams who was well-known to many who live and worked downtown.

Also there, were his brother and sister from Florida, who said they spent 20 years looking for him, only to learn where he was after he died.

Lanceford and his six siblings were split up when their mom and grandmother died in 1994.
They were only able to briefly reconnect in 2003 before being split up again.

Now they’re back together in the worst way, to bury their brother.

“That's my baby,” Lance’s sister Deneidra Williams said.  “I can't do this”

It was emotional and difficult for them to share their story with WFMY News 2’s Itinease McMiller .

“That was my brother,” Lance’s brother said. “He was loved.”

For 20 years they said they searched for their brother.

In 2012, Lance's brother said he found out Lance was in jail but his efforts to connect with him were unsuccessful.

There was another missed connection when Lance was released but his brother was behind bars.

“He reached out to my wife but I was in jail I couldn't do anything,” Lance’s brother said. “And that was the last time anyone had contact with my brother.”

Lance battled homelessness for two decades until March 1st when someone shot and killed him on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Greensboro.

A note from Executive Director, Kristina Singleton: Today, we take a moment to honor the life of Lanceford Williams....

Posted by Interactive Resource Center on Thursday, March 2, 2023

“I want justice,” Lance’s brother said. “I want them to burn for what they did to my brother. He didn't deserve it.”

Brandi Collins Calhoun met Lance a decade ago during her time bartending in downtown Greensboro. She said the last time she spoke with Lance he told her he had gotten housing.

“I was like well congrats boo,” Collins Calhoun said. “There has been an empty absence on McGee Street since that day.”

Anthony Morgan was also a close friend of Lance's. He organized a Gofundme to get Lance's family to Greensboro to give him a proper burial.

“For us to set a go of $7,500 and within five days be able to accomplish that it speaks to a bigger issue,” Morgan said. “It speaks to the fact that we had the resources the whole time to establish a foundation for Lance and the resources he needed to go to the next level to survive and not be killed by gun violence.”

Lance's brother said Guilford County failed his family and he wants to see more efforts to help the homeless community. 

“You have homeless people out here. My brother was homeless you have all this money do for the homeless. You walk by him everyday. Y’all talk about y’all love my brother well if y'all love him why was he still out there in the streets,” Lance’s brother said. “Y’all reached out to my sister when he got killed but what about when he was alive y’all had access to her then”

Guilford County has started a homelessness task force.

county leaders said the goal is to create a holistic approach to address homelessness.

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