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 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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March 1st:
Elijah Dillard
died on March 1st, 2014

6yo Elijah from Michigan, USA, was killed by his father. The man beat Elijah on his head and punched him in the stomach for two days, till Elijah passed out. Neither the man nor the mother of the child called 911 because the man believed Elijah was faking it so that CPS would come and remove him and his siblings from the house. Instead, he took the boy to shower (post mortem examination revealed burns), and when that didn't help, the mother (who was about to get certified as a medical assistant) wrapped him in blankets and took him to the bedroom. Elijah died three days later of internal bleeding and brain hemorrhage.

Posted by Manya on March 27th, 2016
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Rowena Sharpe
died on March 1st, 2012

She was murdered by her husband, whom she had escaped from. She was living elsewhere, with her children, trying to rebuild her life. One day, her husband appeared and killed her, then himself. The children fled to their neighbour's house. Reading about this story in my local newspaper affected me very deeply, and my heart still goes out to the people of her community.

Posted by Red on August 13th, 2012
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Amina Filali
died on March 1st, 2012

16-year-old Amina committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist. After submitting to the marriage, Amina confided to her mother that she was subjected to violent beatings from her husband; her mom simply asked her to be more patient. As a final resort to escape her violent marriage, Amina injested rat poison and ended her life.

Posted by Lala on August 11th, 2012
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Delcelia Witika
died on March 1st, 1991

Authorities were first alerted to this case by a phone call on the night of 21 March 1991 from Tania Witika, Delcelia's mother. Witika made a call from a local video store to report in a matter-of-fact way that she had just arrived home after "a couple of hours" absence to find her two-year-old daughter dead.

When police arrived, Tania Witika sat outside in a patrol car with Detective Constable Caroline Fisher who says she's never forgotten the coolness and lack of emotion shown by the mother, who casually asked her for a cigarette.

Witika first met Eddie Smith in a South Auckland bar in June 1989. Within two weeks of meeting, Smith had already started to 'knock' Tania Witika around.

Tania kept a detailed diary, which often mentioned Smith belting her, but it also extensively mentioned an enjoyable life with him...Her diary also spoke of her own violence against her daughter. Initially she told police that she alone was responsible for beating Delcelia. Smith blamed Witika also. When Witika found out that Delcelia's injuries included massive sexual abuse, she changed her story claiming Smith was responsible for the major injuries.

The police photographs of the Delcelia's squalid bedroom and her tiny, tortured body remain to this day among the most harrowing, gut-wrenching evidence ever presented to a jury in a child abuse case in this country.

...photographs of the crime scene showed that Delcelia's body was used as a punching bag from one end of the house to the other. Her blood was splattered on walls and carpets. There was a large pool of blood on the sheet less, blanket less mattress she slept on. Vomit had dripped down the skirting board where the little child was sick during her final night alive. Burns aside, some close-up photos of Delcelia's neck showed vicious injuries caused by long fingernails. Photos of the inside of her mouth showed where teeth have been smashed out and the inside of her top lip ripped from the gum. Other photos showed scarring to her head where her hair has been violently pulled over several months.

During the trial Witika claimed she had gone partying with Smith while Delcelia was dying because Smith had threatened to 'waste her' with a steel bar if she didn't go and had also put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her on the way there. But barrister Christopher Harder, representing Smith, was given a home video of that party which crown prosecutor Mike Ruffin screened in court the morning final addresses were made to the jury.

The video showed Witika happy, smiling and enjoying herself with Smith. It would have been influential to any juror. Witika and Smith were both found guilty of manslaughter and the other counts of neglect and ill treatment.

Both were sentenced to 16-year prison terms.

Posted by Jane on March 20th, 2015
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died on March 1st, 2012

Suicide is never the answer, but it's too late to say that. I just hope that you are happier now and the pain is gone. Rest in peace. Sweet 16 forever

Posted by Laura (busymom) on April 8th, 2012
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March 2nd:
Nicholaus Contreraz
died on March 2nd, 1998

Nicolaus (16yo) died of abuse and medical neglect at Arizona Boys Ranch bootcamp, where he was sent for shoplifting.

He had asthma, and was complaining of nausea, diarrhea, and chest pain. The staff believed he was faking it, so they restricted his use of inhalers and were making him do physical exercises till he fainted, punched him, shoved him against walls, and denied him the right to use the bathroom. Eventually he became unable to control his bladder and bowels, and vomited frequently. As a result, they made him sleep in the bathroom in his soiled clothes, and carry around a bucket with his waste (over which he was forced to do pushups).

Quote from Wikipedia:
On March 2, the day he died, he had collapsed repeatedly. He was told he "deserved an Academy Award", thrown to the ground, forced to do pushups, and bounced off a wall. Another boy was ordered to push him around in a wheelbarrow while Contreraz was ordered to mimic the sound of an ambulance siren. He continued to be accused by staff of faking his condition. At around 5:30 pm, he collapsed for the last time. According to witnesses later interviewed by Arizona Child Protective Services, after his final collapse and inability to move, he was ordered by staff to get up, to which he simply replied "No", which was his last spoken word. He was pronounced dead two hours later.

Nicolaus had a collapsed lung, massive lung infection from inhaling vomit, two and a half quarts of puss caused by staphylococcus (from doing pushups over raw waste), blood in his stomach, and 71 cuts and bruises. Cause of death was cardiac arrest.

The day before he died, he was heard saying "Lord, help me, I need help, I need help..."

Posted by Manya on March 17th, 2015
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Lee William Mirecki
died on March 2nd, 1988

Lee William Mirecki was a 19-year-old United States Navy Airman Recruit who was killed during a military training exercise on March 2, 1988. His death became a focus point for those campaigning against bullying in military training regimes. Following on his death a number of policies and guidelines within the Navy's training programs were changed. He is named in the documentation supporting these changes.

Posted by Jane on July 25th, 2018
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March 3rd:
Daniel Pelka
died on March 3rd, 2012

Daniel was a 4yo boy from UK, abused and murdered by his mom and her boyfriend. They starved the child, beat him, locked him in a room, force-fed him salt, and put his head underwater in the bath. Both the mother and the boyfriend were convicted of murder; the mother hung herself the day before his 8th birthday; the boyfriend died in prison as well.

Posted by Manya on January 3rd, 2016
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March 4th:
Chantelle Barnsdale-Quean
died on March 4th, 2013

Chantelle was a 35yo mother of two from UK, strangled by her husband. He then cut himself and told the police that she attacked him and hung herself. The jury didn't find his story credible.

Posted by Manya on March 18th, 2016
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Jahlil Clements
died on March 4th, 2012

Jahlil was an 11yo boy from Virginia, USA, who died trying to protect his mom from domestic violence. She was driving on an interstate, with her boyfriend and Jahlil in the car, and was having an argument with the boyfriend. She pulled over when he started hitting her. Jahlil ran into traffic to flag down help for his mom, and was killed. "Kids are always affected by domestic violence when it goes on in the household, but I've never seen anything like this before -to this magnitude," said Elizabeth Crawford, director of the local Domestic Violence and Counseling Center.

Posted by Manya on February 27th, 2016
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March 5th:
Ross Bullock
died on March 5th, 2016

38yo Ross was a forklift operator from UK. He had sex with a coworker (who at the time was in a relationship with another man). Everything seemed well, they exchanged numerous flirtatious text messages after that, but then the coworker complained of rape to the police. Ross was arrested and released with no further action, then he was questioned again, then bailed for a month, then warned that even though the case is closed now - he could be charged at a later date. The experience of being a victim of a false rape accusation had such an impact on Ross that he hung himself in his parents' garage. He left a note that said "I’m free from this living hell". His father said, "Ross would still be alive now if the police had dealt with the allegation sensitively." His mother added, "The allegation changed Ross as a person. He cut himself off."

Posted by Manya on December 7th, 2018
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Soren Chilson
died on March 5th, 2013

5yo Soren from South Carolina, USA, died of brain injury while in the care of her mom's boyfriend. According to him, Sorren suddenly had a seizure and started coughing up blood, so he called 911. However, aside from broken skull, she also had bruises on her back, chest, and feet; the man was charged with murder. Soren's aunt said, "I would have taken her in a heartbeat. She was my family. She was my little buddy. Some people just shine. God bless her, everyday of her life, she shined."

Posted by Manya on March 27th, 2016
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Mekhi Patrick Dean Boone
died on March 5th, 2013

As 4 yo Mekhi Patrick Dean Boone lay on a hospital bed hooked up to a ventilator a visiting social worker noted that: "There is not a 2 inch part of his body that doesn't have bruises…he was beat to death". Mekhi was pronounced dead the next day — apparently without family by his side. His father and his father's girlfriend were prosecuted for murder.

Posted by Jane on August 19th, 2018
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March 6th:
Dontel Jeffers
died on March 6th, 2005

4yo Dontel from Massachusetts, USA, was "a very joyful, vivacious young man, full of life, vibrant and spry," according to his family and friends. "He was very energetic and happy, cheerful, you know, and he always liked to play with other kids and be around kids." Dontel's parents were separated before he was born. The first four months of his life he stayed with his mom at a homeless shelter. Then she dropped him off by his dad. Dad took good care of Dontel, but was arrested and deported on drug and violence related charges four years later. Dontel was placed with his mom for a month, then removed from her due to drug abuse and placed with a series of foster parents. He only spent ten days in his last foster home, before dying of physical abuse inflicted by his foster mother.

Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2017
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March 7th:
Jessica Joyner
died on March 7th, 2016

29yo Jess from Wisconsin, USA, had a husband and five children aged between five and eleven. The children said that on March 7th mom and dad were having an argument because dad was yelling at mom for "dating a crackhead," after which "he stabbed her, she was running away, and he stabbed her a couple of more times." Jess ran to a next door neighbor (followed by children) and bled to death. "Now she won't be there for when I go to prom or my wedding," one of her daughters wrote. "I love you, Mom."

Posted by Manya on May 13th, 2017
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March 8th:
Gabrielle Randel
died on March 8th, 2009

2yo Gabby from Texas, USA, was living in a Florida hotel with her mom, 3yo brother, and mom's boyfriend. At 5AM on March 8th Gabby's mom called 911 and told them Gabby wasn't breathing. The police was greeted by Gabby's 3yo brother, who had "Dumb A**" scribbled on his forehead by his mom. Gabby was unconscious and died a few hours later. She had multiple bruises, blunt trauma to her forehead, and serious trauma to her genitalia. Mom's boyfriend explained that he wrapped Gabby in a sheet and repeatedly hit her to get her to stop crying. The man was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The 3yo boy went to live with his dad.

Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2017
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