Memorial Wall

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This Memorial Wall is our tributes to those who have died as a result of child abuse, domestic violence, rape, religious abuse, or other types of abuse. Some of these people we knew personally, others we only heard of. Abuse is not a theoretical concept, it happens to real people, and costs lives. It's important to honor those we lost to abuse by telling their stories, so that the secret that killed them does not remain secret, and so that other lives might be saved, as a result of increased awareness.
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July 24th:
Robert Manwill
died on July 24th, 2009

Robert was an 8yo boy from Idaho, USA, who was killed by his mom's boyfriend. It was a part of an overall pattern of domestic violence in the house. The boy was beaten for weeks, sometimes with wooden planks, the man "dropped a knee" on his chest, causing internal bleeding (the family referred to this form of "discipline" as "dead bugging"), and made to sit in a closet when DHS visited the house (so that DHS wouldn't see his bruises). On July 23rd the man broke the apartment wall with Robert's head. The next day Robert complained of headache and other pains, and had trouble keeping balance. Mom just went to work. When she found him dead, she and her boyfriend dropped Robert's body in an irrigation canal nearby and reported him missing.

Robert had a father and grandparents. They would have taken him if his mom called them. She said she didn't protect Robert from her violent boyfriend or ask for help because she was scared that both Robert and his younger brother would be taken from her, if DHS found out Robert was being abused. The jury convicted both her and her boyfriend of murder.


Posted by Manya on February 10th, 2016
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Riley Ann Sawyers
died on July 24th, 2007

Riley Ann was a 2yo girl from Ohio, USA, whose parents were teenagers. They stayed with Riley's grandma, her dad's mom, until he moved out, pressing domestic violence charges against Riley's mom. She moved out half a year later as well, and married another man, in Texas. That man believed in discipline and expected 2yo Riley to address adults as "Sir" and "M'am". When she failed to do so, the couple beat her with belts, threw her across the room, and held her head underwater in a bathtub. Just two months later Riley died during one such "discipline session" - she couldn't stand up when told to.

Riley is also known as "Baby Grace" because her mom and stepdad dumped her body in the ocean, and when fishermen found it and the police investigation began, her real name wasn't known yet.


Posted by Manya on March 18th, 2016
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July 25th:
Jonathan James
died on July 25th, 2011

Twin brothers Jonathan and Joseph from Texas, USA, were having a court-ordered visit with their father and stepmother. The boys' grandma described Jonathan as a friendly, cheerful child who never held a grudge. "Jonathan could forgive you no matter what you did," she said. "You could ground him and he would say, 'I love you, Mimi.'" Prior to the visit with his father, Jonathan asked grandma, "Can I come to your house instead? I know I'm going to be in trouble while I'm there because I always am." During the visit, the boy wet his bed, and was punished by not being allowed water or any other liquid for five days. He was forced to stand on a spot marked with an "X" on the kitchen floor, and hold a sack of potatoes over his head. The kitchen had no air conditioning. The stepmother explained the situation as follows, "He always said he was thirsty. He was in time out, and every two minutes he would say, ‘I need a drink…I need to go to the bathroom." His brother Joseph explained that Jonathan tried to get to the bathroom to drink water from the faucet. Jonathan died of dehydration.


Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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July 26th:
Manoj C Manu
died on July 26th, 2017

16yo Manoj from India hanged himself to complete The Blue Whale Challenge. It's a dare-based "game" that was invented by a 22yo Russian man to coerce teenagers to kill themselves because he felt they were "bio-waste" undeserving of life. Teenagers express interest in the challenge by posting certain hashtags on social media; they are then contacted by "curators" that assign them various tasks on the span of 50 days. These tasks usually involve sleep deprivation, self-injury, and providing the curator with sensitive information that they can use to blackmail the teenager to stay in the "game" (e.g. nude photos). The final "task" is to commit suicide.


Posted by Manya on June 16th, 2018
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July 27th:
Aj Betts
died on July 27th, 2013

On Friday, July 26th, 16-year-old A.J. Betts attempted to take his own life. A.J. was born to a black father and white mother, and with a variety of birth defects (including a cleft palate that required numerous surgeries). He spoke a little funny. He didn’t look like the other kids in his high school. And when he was outed as being gay, was when the bullying escalated. Even those he thought were his closest friends turned from calling him “A.J.” to “Gay J.” Those who weren’t close to him were already calling him derogatory names. A.J’s torment was so deep he attempted suicide. A.J. told his mother shortly before he died, of an incident when he was being bullied in class, before a teacher. The teacher herself lacked the courage to intervene on A.J.’s behalf, and instead kept her head down while the bullying proceeded. It took a fellow student to stand up and tell the bully to knock it off. It was only then that the teacher took action…and told the intervening student to sit down and be quiet.


Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
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July 28th:
Ravinder Kaur
died on July 28th, 2011

24yo Ravinder was born and raised in India, and moved to Canada to marry her old classmate. Ravinder worked as a sub-editor, volunteered helping new immigrants settle in Canada, and taught Indian folk dances to the community. Her husband didn't like how popular she was, and they split up. Soon after Ravinder moved out, he came to her workplace and hacked her to death. "Life sentence is OK, but there should be death penalty," said her father. "We still regret that marriage, as there were several well-to-do families approaching us for our daughter. We married her to death in Canada. The murder still hounds us, makes us sleepless."


Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2017
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July 29th:
Avery Lee Hobbs
died on July 29th, 2016

4yo Avery from Ohio, USA, was "a little jokester who would just laugh whole-heartedly," according to her grandparents. When Avery was 4 weeks old, her mom fractured her skull, and spent six months in jail on child endangerment charges. Avery stayed with her grandparents. Once out of jail, mom regained custody of Avery, but just one months later grandma complained to CPS that mom "does not provide for the infant...does not have a stable home or relationship. Barely visited the infant. (Avery's) half-sister was also removed from (mom's) custody for suspected abuse." What followed was a couple of years of custody disputes, foster care, and parenting classes. In March 2015 Avery was permanently placed in her mom's care. And in July 2015 Avery was killed by blunt force trauma to the head; mom is pending trial on murder charges. "This could've been stopped," Avery's grandma said "This could've been prevented if people would've listened."


Posted by Manya on September 13th, 2017
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Megan Kanka
died on July 29th, 1994

Megan was a 7yo girl from New Jersey, USA, who was raped and murdered by her neighbor Jesse Timmendequas. Timmendequas had two prior convictions for aggravated sexual assaults on young girls. The murder attracted national attention and subsequently led to the introduction of "Megan's Law", which requires law enforcement to disclose details relating to the location of registered sex offenders.


Posted by Manya on June 2nd, 2015
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July 30th:
Owen Barker
died on July 30th, 2012

3yo Owen from Ohio, USA, liked Batman and enjoyed playing outdoors. He lived with his mom and her boyfriend, who physically abused and eventually murdered him. The boyfriend was sentenced to life, and Owen's mom was sentenced to 11 years for permitting child abuse. "Danielle is the product of a broken home," her lawyer said. "She grew up never knowing what a stable, loving home was like. All she wanted for her son was what she lacked as a child. Danielle was a working mother, trying to provide for her son and unfortunately trusted the wrong person to care for her son while she was away."


Posted by Manya on June 16th, 2018
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July 31st:
Alex Hill
died on July 31st, 2013

2yo Alex from Texas, USA, was removed from her parents home because her dad used to smoke pot at night. The girl was placed with a foster family that also had issues with pot - as well as crack cocaine and other problems, over a 100 violations total. Biological parents were going to get Alex back, but four months prior to that she was killed by her foster mom. According to her, Alex got up too early that morning, which frustrated the woman, and then they played a game, at the end of which Alex's head was slammed into the floor. Alex had bruising all over her body.


Posted by Manya on July 29th, 2016
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August 1st:
Emanuel Jaques
died on August 1st, 1977

Emanuel Jaques was a Canadian 12-year-old boy who was murdered in Toronto in August 1977. The sexual assault and murder of Jaques sparked outrage in Toronto, resulting in the conviction of three men. Emanuel was often seen shining the shoes of passersby with his brother Luciano. The brothers used their collective earnings to help their parents support them and the five siblings with whom they'd left Portugal 3 1/2 years earlier. Emanuel thought he could earn a little more on July 28, 1977, when Saul David Betesh offered him $35 to move photography equipment. Instead, Betesh, Robert Kribs and Joseph Woods were involved in tying Emanuel up, sexually assaulting him and then drowning him in a sink at Charlie's Angels massage parlour, according to evidence presented in court in the winter of 1978. Emanuel's body was found on the roof of 245 Yonge St. on Aug. 1, 1977, one of roughly 40 massage parlours running between Bloor and Richmond streets at the time. Their emergence had become a "huge political issue" in postwar Toronto, urban historian Daniel Ross said. "Here you have a 12-year-old boy dying, being murdered by the very city of opportunity, the so-called city that works, the so-called Toronto the Good," Fernandes said. "Parents are willing to take very high personal tolls and go through quite a lot just so that their children don't have to" said Gilberto Fernandes, the director of the Portuguese Canadian History Project. Note: 8.1.1977 was the date Emanuel's murder was discovered not necessarily the date of his death


Posted by Jane on June 30th, 2018
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August 2nd:
Paige Linsmeyer
died on August 2nd, 2015

27yo Paige from Wisconsin, USA, worked at a paper mill and enjoyed softball, volleyball, darts, fishing, golfing and traveling. Paige was killed by her 51yo boyfriend who then committed suicide. Their neighbor said, "It makes me sad because I know her and I grew up with her. I knew her dad and family, and I know how devastated she must be."


Posted by Manya on July 29th, 2016
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