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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February 19th:
Karen Willmon
died on February 19th, 2017

Cherokee County School buses displaying white ribbons on the front of each vehicle in memory of one of the colleagues, Karen Willmon who was tragically murdered earlier in the week. The Cherokee County Board of Education, Superintendent of Education his sincere condolences on behalf of the Board of Education and extended thoughts and prayers to the family, friends and co-workers of Karen. Karen was also a former employee of the Cherokee County Parks and Recreation Board as an attendant at Cherokee Rock Village Park, the Parks and Rec Board issued a statement on their Facebook page saying "The Cherokee County Parks and Recreation Board offering its condolences to the family and friends of Karen Wilmon…"Karen was a former employee at Cherokee Rock Village and was a diligent and dedicated worker. Karen's unmatched work ethic was a tremendous contribution to the continued success of the park. We are all grieved by the tragic loss of this admirable lady".


Posted by Jane on July 21st, 2018
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Jeff Akers
died on February 19th, 2008

50yo Jeff Akers from UK was stabbed to death in a public bathroom because he was gay. Mr Akers worked as an accountant and volunteered for HIV/AIDS charities, counseling other gay people who had contacted the disease. "Guys like Jeff seem few and far between... he was gentle but firm when needed, kind and giving, non-judgmental and while he had a serious side he could make you laugh and brighten the moment with his wicked sense of humor. Jeff had a wealth of experience he never hesitated to share and encourage others with if called on for help. He took so little when giving so much to those around him." David Jack, friend.


Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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February 20th:
Steve Rhinehart
died on February 20th, 2012

62yo Mr Rhinehart, a retired contractor and farmer from Georgia, USA, had a wife, two grown kids, and a cattle dog Sadie. His 36yo son struggled with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, and moved back with his parents. As time went on, Mr Rhinehart insisted that he move out, because he would neither get a job nor receive treatment. The son felt his mom alone would take care of him, wanted them to divorce, and when that didn't happen, he killed his father. "I just pulled the gun out, continued to walk up the hill and around the corner and met him and just shot him, right in the chest," he said.


Posted by Manya on July 29th, 2016
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February 21st:
Savannah Hardin
died on February 21st, 2012

Savannah was a 9yo girl from Alabama, USA, ran to death by her grandmother over some fundraiser candy. Savannah took it from another girl on a schoolbus, ate it, left the wrapper at her seat, but told the bus driver she didn't do it. The bus driver told her grandmother. "I should have paid for those candy bars," the driver said in retrospect. Grandmother called the mother of the girl Savannah took the candy from, offering to pay for it and saying that Savannah is in a big trouble. The woman spoke to her daughter to get the story straight and called right back because she was concerned with grandmother's tone of voice; "I didn't want Savannah to get in trouble for something that didn't happen," she said.

The next day Savannah didn't take the bus to school, and the bus driver came by their house in the afternoon to check on the girl. Grandmother said Savannah was "gonna learn" not to lie and that she would "run until I tell her to stop.". Neighbors across the street saw Savannah running for more than three hours, while carrying firewood sticks, with her grandmother shouting: "I didn't tell you to stop!" They called 911 later on that evening, when Savannah was on the ground, vomiting, as her grandmother slapped her and shouted: "Get up! I better not have to tell you again!" Savannah had a seizure, was hospitalized, and died three days later from extreme physical exertion. Her grandmother was convicted of capital murder. "I wish I had done something a lot sooner," said the neighbor.


Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2016
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February 22nd:
Alexis Arensman
died on February 22nd, 2015

Alexis from Indiana, USA, was born while her mom was pending trial for battering Alexis' older sister (the three-months-old received four broken ribs and a broken leg). When Alexis was 16 months old, both girls were removed by CPS because their mom (while still pending trial) put Alexis in the care of someone with a known history of sexually assaulting a child. 18 months later mom finished doing her time for battery of Alexis' sister and regained custody of both girls. A year later CPS received multiple reports about child abuse suspicions because Alexis had a lot of bruises. Those reports were deemed "unsubstantiated" because mom said Alexis had hurt herself, and Alexis wouldn't answer when asked how did she receive the bruises. And three months later Alexis was found dead (battered child syndrome, 17 separate injuries), and her sister seriously injured. Mom and dad pleaded guilty to neglect and were sentenced to 32 and 35 years respectively.


Posted by Manya on May 5th, 2019
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Leota (Toni Lea) Antonnette Cheney
died on February 22nd, 2011

Toni Lea Cheney, 45 was brutally beaten and killed by her Ex-Boyfriend


Posted by Jane on July 6th, 2018
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Rosa Elena Carranza-Morales and Dayna Sofia Elamrani-Carranza
died on February 22nd, 2007

While attending an apartment fire firefighters discovered the bodies of Rosa Elena Carranza-Morales, 26, and Dayna Sofia Elamrani-Carranza, 11 months, her baby daughter in the apartment. The next day they discovered the body of her husband in a closet. He had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wounds and smoke inhalation. Rosa had taken out a restraining order against her husband a week or so before the fire, and had reported that he had a history of beating her and that she feared he would kill her.


Posted by Jane on July 7th, 2018
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February 23rd:
Patrick McSorley
died on February 23rd, 2004

Mc Sorley was sexually abused by clergy at the age of 12. When a priest stopped by his family's home to offer condolences on the death of his father. McSorley said the priest took him out for ice cream and then molested him. His lawsuit was among the first of hundreds eventually filed against the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. Alexa MacPherson a friend of McSorley's said he abused drugs and alcohol and had been in and out of rehabilitation centers trying to break the habit. "The memories of what had happened to him -- he had to battle continuously" she said. "He would do almost anything to escape the pain." "From a very young age he had a lot of pitfalls thrown at him. I think the church stuff is what threw him over the edge" she said. "It really put him in a place that he just couldn't come back from."


Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
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February 24th:
Deborah Lohoski
died on February 24th, 2014

For the past four years, Deborah Lohoski, 59, had cared for her young granddaughter and tried to help her troubled son as he struggled with alcohol addiction. But her efforts ended violently Monday afternoon, when Matthew Lohoski, 33, killed her in the family's back yard. Clearwater police gave this account of Deborah Lohoski's slaying: While his 7-year-old daughter played a video game inside the home, Lohoski put his mother in a choke hold until she lost consciousness. Moments later Lohoski returned to the back yard, she was still breathing. With a pocket-style box cutter knife, Lohoski slashed his mother's throat...but she still clung to life. Lohoski tried to choke his mother again. In a final attempt to end his mother's life, Lohoski grabbed a sledgehammer and struck his mother's head at least three times, killing her, police said. Then Lohoski dropped his daughter off at a friend's house and turned himself in at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office where detectives interviewed him and arrested him on a first-degree murder charge.


Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
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February 25th:
Victoria Climbie
died on February 25th, 2000

In November of 1998 6yo Victoria from Ivory Coast came to France to stay with her aunt (whom she never met before), so that the aunt would get social security benefits, and Victoria would get an education. Things didn't work out with social security in France, and next April they moved to UK. Victoria was abused and neglected, and numerous people saw that, but she never got the help she needed. For example, workers at social security offices (which the aunt frequently visited to apply for benefits) said that Victoria "looked like a child from an ActionAid advertisement", but they assumed it was an attempt to "persuade the authorities to hand out money." Doctors at the hospitals Victoria was taken to for her injuries reported the problem to CPS, but the aunt said Victoria had scabies, and CPS cancelled the follow. In August a social worker spoke with Victoria on four separate occasions for a total of less than 30 minutes (so about seven and a half minutes each time). This social worker visited their flat three more times between December and January, but received no answer and assumed they must have moved back to France. In February CPS wrote to the aunt saying that if she doesn't respond, they'll close the case. A week later they closed the case; it was February 25th, the same day that Victoria died.

8yo Victoria was forced to sleep in a bathtub in her own excrements, had been burnt with cigarettes, tied up for periods of longer than 24 hours, and hit with bike chains, hammers and wires. She died of hypothermia, multiple organ failure, and malnutrition, and had 128 separate injuries and scars on her body at the time of death. During her life in Britain, Victoria was known to four social services departments, three housing departments, two child protection police teams, two hospitals, an NSPCC centre, and a few local churches. Her death led to a public inquiry and produced major changes in child protection policies in the United Kingdom.


Posted by Manya on March 18th, 2016
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Kevin
died on February 25th, 2009

Your suicide left us with so much hurt and pain. I hope you can forgive me for starting it all. RIP my brother. I love you now and for always.


Posted by Mickie2012 on August 17th, 2012
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February 26th:
Ash Haffner
died on February 26th, 2015

16yo Ash from North Carolina, USA, struggled figuring out their sexual orientation and gender identity, and committed suicide because of school bullying. "if i die, i don't want to be remembered as the sad person i was ok. i don't want to be remembered as the faggot gay girl with all the scars on her arm. unfortunately thats who i am to alot of people. if those people would have just stayed silent and kept their ignorant thoughts in their heads then maybe i wouldn't have those scars on my arm. maybe. it wasn't always about what they had in their heads, it was what was inside of mine too. i just didn't understand why i felt the way i did when i had a decent life."


Posted by Manya on March 11th, 2017
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February 27th:
Jessica Lunsford
died on February 27th, 2005

Jessica was a 9yo girl from Florida, USA, who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a neighbor. At 3AM he entered her home (the door wasn't locked), went into her bedroom, woke her up, told her "Don't yell or nothing,", and took her to his trailer about 100 yards away. There he raped her multiple times, and then locked her in the closet when he left for work in the morning. Three days later he told her to climb into two garbage bags because he was going to "take her home". Instead, he buried her alive. He confessed, then recanted, but was found guilty of all charges related to Jessica's death, and died on death row, maintaining his innocence.

Jessica's dad pushed for a new legislation, Jessica's Law, which now requires sex offenders in Florida, who violated children under 12yo, to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison, and to wear tracking devices for life.


Posted by Manya on February 4th, 2016
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February 28th:
Tara Costigan
died on February 28th, 2015

Just one week after giving birth to her third child Australian Tara's ex forced his way into her house and axed her to death while inflicting grievous bodily harm on a second woman, and seriously assaulting another man who were present in the home. The Canberra Times reports that Tara had sought court protection from her ex-partner a day before she was violently killed. The interim domestic violence order was granted by the magistrate, but it is unclear whether her murderer was served with the order by police.


Posted by Jane on July 21st, 2018
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Eric Dean
died on February 28th, 2013

Eric died Feb. 28, 2013. Amanda Peltier was caring for him at her Starbuck home in February 2013 when she allegedly became upset with the boy and launched him across a room. Eric reportedly fell ill that night and into the next day before an ambulance was called to the home late Feb. 27. The boy was airlifted to St. Cloud Hospital, where he died early the next morning. Throughout the trial, testimony and evidence revealed a pattern of physical abuse the boy suffered. Medical Examiner Michael McGee testified that based on the injuries he saw during the child’s autopsy, he believed Eric was an abused child and the manner of death was homicide. District Judge Gerald Seibel handed down a life sentence to Peltier


Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
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