Memorial Wall

Filter results:

Add an entry:

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.
Add an entry

Embed:

Embed a memorial on your site or blog:
Copy-paste the code below to your site to display a name and a photo of someone who died through abuse on today's date; you can click on the photo to read their story. The widget is transparent, uses no javascript, and can be resized to fit your layout; proportions are 3:5.

<iframe style=\"width:210px;height:350px;border:none;\" src=\"http://www.fortrefuge.com/widgets/memorials.php\"></iframe>
September 19th:
Bernice Rice Hensley
died on September 19th, 2016

Bernice Rice Hensley 86 yo was shot and killed by her husband. Their daughter said that he has suffered from dementia for several years. “Her daughter who’s parents had been married for 62 years said. “They were the best parents you could ever have.”


Posted by Jane on July 6th, 2018
Back to top
Teresa Tysinger
died on September 19th, 2004

Investigators say 24 yo Teresa Tysinger's body was found inside her home on Burlington Mills Road. They are calling her death suspicious. Teresa, 34, had lived at the residence for about three weeks. Family members reported her missing on Sunday when she did not answer the door. Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office issued a warrant for felonious assult on a female for her boyfriend.


Posted by Jane on July 6th, 2018
Back to top
September 20th:
Daniel Whitworth
died on September 20th, 2014

21yo Daniel from Kent, UK, was "an active and intelligent outdoors boy who loved days on his bike exploring leafy byways", according to his father. Daniel was passionate about cooking, worked as a chef, and had been in a relationship with a live-in boyfriend for three years. He was raped and killed by a serial killer who had a fetish of having sex with unconscious young men. He met his victims through gay dating sites, lured them to his flat, spiked their drinks with GHB (date rape drug), and four of them, including Daniel, died of overdose. The man was convicted of 22 crimes total, and sentenced to life in prison.


Posted by Manya on July 29th, 2018
Back to top
Amanda Bach
died on September 20th, 2011

The marquee outside of Nativity of Our Savior Catholic Church's school read, "Amanda Bach: Remember A Life." Hundreds of mourners did just that Friday morning, filling the church's pews to recall Amanda who was killed Sept. 16. She was described as the apple of her parents' eye, a young woman who lived life to the fullest, who hoped to study nursing in college, who liked country music and rap, hiking and going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends. Amanda's death, the Rev. Andrew Corona said during the funeral Mass, is like having the lights go out unexpectedly. Losing Amanda "is like being thrown into the darkness without the slightest warning".


Posted by Jane on June 16th, 2018
Back to top
September 21st:
Asunta Fong Yang Basterra Porto
died on September 21st, 2013

12yo Asunta was adopted from China as a baby by a well off couple from Spain, who raised her to be a prodigy: she studied English, French, Chinese, and German (aside from native Spanish and Galician), took private classes in ballet, violin, and piano, and skipped an academic year. However, many things went wrong in one year when Asunta turned 12: both of mom's parents passed away within months of each other, mom had an affair which resulted in divorce, and had a nervous breakdown. The parents needed space and sent Asunta to spend the summer with her nanny and godmother. However, that didn't help, and they planned to murder her. Mom drugged Asunta and strangled her, and then they left the body at the side of the road. Both were convicted of murder and sentenced to 18 years in prison.


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
Back to top
Keith Bryan
died on September 21st, 2011

52yo Mr Bryan from Oklahoma, USA, was a Chief of Fire Department where he worked for more than 30 years, owned his own construction business, and was active in church. He had two sons, two grandsons, and a wife who seems to have struggled with sex addiction. She kept updating her friends on her numerous affairs, then told one of her lovers that she's about to receive a large inheritance and will be free to be with him. Soon after Mr Bryan was shot in the back of his head in his home. Several friends and family members testified she showed them a photo of the man's penis and bragged about the tryst while she rode with them to the hospital to see her husband after he was shot. She was sentenced to life without parole.


Posted by Manya on July 18th, 2016
Back to top
Allison Newman
died on September 21st, 2006

Mom of 2yo Allison from Michigan, USA, struggled with crack cocaine addiction, asked a friend to care for her temporarily, and when CPS found out about it, Allison was taken to foster care. Her foster parents couldn't have children and were hoping to adopt Allison, but the custody was placed on hold till Allison's biomom completes her rehab treatment. On September 21st, Allison died of fractured skull, brain swelling, and bleeding. Her foster mother told four different stories as to how it happened, the last story being that she played "whirlybird" with the baby and accidentally dropped her off a second floor balcony. After that, however, she didn't seek medical help for Allison. The foster mother was convicted of murder.


Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
Back to top
September 22nd:
Tyler Clementi
died on September 22nd, 2010

18yo Tyler from New Jersey, USA, was a freshman at Rutgers University, a violinist, one of only two incoming freshman who made the graduate school orchestra. Tyler was gay, and his roommate had a problem with it. Just three weeks into the semester, the roommate secretly recorded a video of Tyler kissing a man and invited his friends to watch it. Tyler reported the incident to the university and requested a change of roommate, but after a few days he saw his roommate's Twitter feed, realized that he had become a topic of ridicule in the university, and jumped off the George Washington bridge.

Tyler's suicide received nationwide attention and prompted numerous changes at Rutgers University, the state of New Jersey, and American Colleges overall. Tyler's parents established the Tyler Clementi Foundation, which focuses on promoting acceptance of LGBT teens and others marginalized by society, providing education against all forms of bullying including cyber bullying over the internet and promoting research and development into the causes and prevention of teenage suicide.


Posted by Manya on July 8th, 2016
Back to top
September 23rd:
John Pehota
died on September 23rd, 2015

77yo Mr Pehota was shot by his wife of 40 years. She was cooking pork chops and drinking wine, they began arguing (she doesn't remember what it was about), she broke a plate, and then got her "possum gun" that she used to scare off possums on her property, and shot her husband four times: his heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. She then called 911, saying "I think I shot my husband. I think I shot him three times... he pushes me, he mentally pushes me." Mrs Pehota said he has never hurt her physically.

Their family friend said, "I know a lot of Jack's friends and family, we've all talked about it and nobody can understand how it really happened. But I know they were having problems, he was really getting up there in age. When I was talking with one of my best friends, we were saying we could picture Jack saying, ‘go ahead, shoot me,' and if Anne had it in her mind to do something, she would do it. They were nitpicking at each other for years, and I guess Anne couldn't take it anymore." Mrs Pehota's defense attorney explained that "she has a lot of stressors that have nothing to do with Mr. Pehota. She is stressing about her house, about her air-conditioning unit, and that she was being cheated by different service people... and she has some health concerns about Mr. Pehota."


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
Back to top
Jyniah Mary Te Awa
died on September 23rd, 2007

Jyniah Mary Te Awa, 10 months old, was tortured by her babysitter Tiana Tapiki. The baby suffered a brain injury while in Tapiki's care. It later emerged she had kicked, shaken and thrown the baby, swung her by the hair, put in a closed freezer, hung from a washing line and smothered. Tapiki pleaded guilty to Jyniah's murder.


Posted by Jane on July 4th, 2018
Back to top
September 24th:
Zahra Baker
died on September 24th, 2010

10yo Zahra from Australia was killed by her stepmom. Zahra's biological mom gave the sole custody to Zahra's dad because she suffered from postpartum depression and couldn't cope with the baby. Zahra survived lung and bone cancer, though lost some of her hearing and had to have one leg amputated. When Zahra was nine, her dad met an American woman online, whom he soon married, and the whole family moved to North Carolina.There were multiple reports of child abuse from neighbors and school teachers, but the family kept moving from county to county, and switched Zahra to homeschooling, so the case fell through the cracks.

It's unknown how Zahra died. Her stepmom was discussing "doing a murder with chainsaws" online two days prior, neither she nor Zahra's dad reported her missing till over a week later, and did a whole scheme trying to mislead the police into thinking she was kidnapped. Zahra's body parts and her prosthetic leg were scattered across two counties. Stepmom eventually pleaded guilty to murder. The police found no credible evidence against her dad.


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
Back to top
September 25th:
Alexis Morris
died on September 25th, 2009

6yo Alexis from Oklahoma, USA, loved to read, dress up, dance, and be rocked. She and her younger brother were staying with their dad and stepmom, and stepmom's kids. Stepmom used to abuse Alexis and her brother, but never in front of their father, and threatened to hurt the kids if they told him. Still, DHS received 17 child abuse complaints about Alexis and her brother, that came from school teachers, counselors, and a pediatrician. Still the kids remained in the house somehow.

On Friday, September 25th, 2009, 12yo stepsister of Alexis walked in on her mom holding Alexis upside down by her ankles and slamming her head against the ground, moments before she stopped breathing.


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
Back to top
Chester Miller
died on September 25th, 2002

18yo Chester was "a sweet, kind boy who trusted people and touched so many lives with his personality," according to his dad. Chester's parents were divorced; his dad lived in Florida and his mom lived in Pennsylvania with her boyfriend. Dad sent Chester to live with his mom. "I couldn't provide him with a family," he explained. "I thought I was doing something good." According to the Pennsylvania police, Chester's mother and stepfather "hardly ever fed the boy anything but table scraps" and "made him stay in his locked room." Chester didn't attend school and told the police that he had "been beaten every day" and "not allowed to leave his house."

On September 19th Chester's mom put him on a bus to Florida. He "had begged for food and money" in bus stations along the route to Florida, but "people ignored his pleas." Three days later he knocked on a perfect stranger's door in Florida. He said he had been looking for his father, who he thought lived somewhere nearby, and asked if he could come inside and "rest a little" and perhaps take a shower. The teen could barely stand, had bruises on his arms, and couldn't hold down food or drink he was offered. Chester died in hospital four days later, weighing 62 pounds. Cause of death was chronic malnutrition and peritonitis caused by a ruptured stomach. His mom served 9 months for involuntary manslaughter, her boyfriend is serving 10-20 years for 3rd degree murder.


Posted by Manya on June 27th, 2018
Back to top
September 26th:
Shobhana
died on September 26th, 2016

55yo Shobhana from Kerala, India, was mentally ill. She belonged to a wealthy family who lived nearby, but abandoned her and her 26yo daughter Shruthi (also unwell). The mother and daughter slowly starved in their home without any support or care, neither from their family nor from social services (best in the country). Shobhana died of starvation. Emaciated Shruthi was found lying near her body by a member of their village council. Shruthi seemed unaware that her mother was dead, spoke in a child-like manner, and couldn't respond to questions asked. She was taken to a hospital, but her family still appeared reluctant about getting involved in her care.


Posted by Manya on February 12th, 2017
Back to top
September 27th:
Uta von Schwedler
died on September 27th, 2011

Uta von Schwedler, 49yo mother of four and an HIV researcher at the University of Utah, USA, was "a renowned scientist, loving mother, beloved friend, nature enthusiast, environmentalist, biker, hiker, swimmer, camper, sister, daughter, girlfriend, and so much more," according to her family and friends. Initially Uta's death was ruled a suicide, but after more investigation and a lengthy trial, her ex husband, a pediatrician, was convicted of murder. They were having a custody battle over their four children.

Uta often took the kids hiking at Salt Lake City mountains, here's her son's words about it: "September 25th, 2011, was one of the last days of my mom's life. We were up there camping. We loved to get out in the outdoors. My mom was always pushing when we were young, taking us out on hikes. It was a beautiful day, I think the leaves may have been changing, just gorgeous. We have a picture with all of us, you know, the whole group all together. I definitely feel that that is a special place. You know, that's one of the last places I was with her. It's beautiful. And, so, I do feel that there's some sort of, like, special connection up there on the peak."


Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
Back to top
September 28th:
Kelly Yeomans
died on September 28th, 1997

13yo Kelly was an unpopular kid who wore glasses, was overweight, sang in Salvation Army choir, and liked to help out seniors. She was bullied till she committed suicide. At first it was name-calling in school, then they started beating her and broke her glasses, and then a group of 15 or so teenagers came to her house at night, yelling at her and her mom, "Get back in there you bastards. We're going to get you," when they looked out of the windows, and trowing stones inside. Kelly's dad called the police, but they only arrived two hours later, when the teens were gone. They came back the next night though, and the night after next, yelling insults, throwing stones into the windows, and on one occasion throwing in cake ingredients: eggs, flour, and slabs of butter. Kelly said she couldn't go on, reassured her mom, dad, and older sister that it wasn't their fault, and took a lethal dose of mom's painkillers.

If you click on Kelly's name above, you can read what her 16yo sister wrote about what happened. She says, "when our family was being tormented, no one cared much. (...) Everyone cares now and wants to help. Pity it's too late."


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
Back to top