Brother of slain woman wants apology

The brother of a UNC Charlotte student killed in May has issued a statement asking her killer to come forward.

“If you have anything human left in you, you owe us something,” Pavel Yarmolenko wrote in the statement, which he made public this week. “Here is the least of what we want: An apology. If you face up to justice, my family will actually be thankful to you for something. Consider that.”

It's been almost two months since Irina “Ira” Yarmolenko, a 20-year-old student, was found dead next to her car on the banks of the Catawba River in Mount Holly. Police said she died of asphyxiation, but they still have no suspects in the case. Pavel said he doubts the suspect will respond to his appeal but, he said, it can't hurt to try.

“It's important for my family to have some sort of acknowledgement from this person that they in fact feel some sort of remorse,” he said.

At the very least, he said, the publicity from this statement could help investigators. He said his family hasn't lost hope that the case could be solved as long as it continues to generate attention. He said police told him they've gotten more tips each time his sister appears in the news and that the case is “far from cold.” Leslie Shiel, spokeswoman for the Mount Holly Police, said the department is awaiting the analysis of evidence collected at the spot where Yarmolenko's body was found.

Pavel Yarmolenko said he's working with some of Ira's friends to develop a service organization in her honor. Campuses Connecting Communities will be a kind of umbrella organization for existing community service groups that college students can volunteer for, with a focus on helping at-risk kids, he said.

The organization will eventually have a Web site where college students can find information on volunteer opportunities and share ideas about what projects work and don't work, he said.

He said he hopes to have the site up within a few weeks. He's also working on another site as a memorial to his sister.

Anyone with information about Irina Yarmolenko should call the Mount Holly Police Department at 704-827-4343.

Staff writer Joe DePriest contributed.