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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May 3rd:
Yeardley Love
died on May 3rd, 2010

Yeardley Love was a 22yo student of University of Virginia, majoring in government and minoring in Spanish. She played women's lacrosse and field hockey, and dated a boy from the same school, also a lacrosse/hockey player. He had a drinking problem, and assaulted her while drunk. They broke up, but on May 3rd he broke into her apartment and "shook Love, and her head repeatedly hit the wall" (according to his testimony). Yeardley died.

Yeardley's family established the One Love Foundation to honor her memory (Yeardley wore jersey number "1" while playing lacrosse). "The mission of the foundation is to encourage and develop in children and young adults four qualities of character that Yeardley exemplified… service, kindness, humility and sportsmanship… that together add up to One Love," said Yeardley's mom.


Posted by Manya on February 14th, 2016
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May 4th:
Kianna Rudesill
died on May 4th, 2011

4yo Kianna from Illinois, USA, was murdered by her foster mother because she spilled some dog food. At the trial, the woman insisted that Kianna's injuries were self-inflicted, that she was a troubled child and a head-banger. She said, "I loved Kianna very deeply. My husband and I made the decision not to give up on her and we never did. We were committed to all four (foster) kids. I spent a lot of time with Kianna; I never hurt her (...) I didn't think it was anything more than a bruise." However, several doctors testified during the trial that the amount of force needed to bring about the trauma Kianna suffered was "acute" and "catastrophic." "She had staples on her head," said Kianna's grandmother. "Her long, beautiful hair had been cut. Her head, body and hands were covered in bruises. The doctors said this was abuse. Who could have hated her so much to inflict this kind of pain on her?"


Posted by Manya on March 19th, 2017
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May 5th:
Corey Leech
died on May 5th, 2017

Corey Leech took the stand and, in a poised and confident voice, testified in excruciating detail how a Franciscan friar began sexually abusing him from his early teens. Mr. Leech gave voice to scores of victims of the late Stephen Baker Mr. Leech told of Baker abusing him on the athletic training table at Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown. He spoke of the friar abusing him on car trips and at his monastery. "He wanted to prevent other children from living his nightmare," Mr. Leech's family wrote in his obituary. "While he did more than his share to help others, it was too late for Corey. His nightmare was inescapable." Mr. Leech's family and supporters recall him as someone long concerned for child welfare. He was a nurse in a neo-natal intensive care unit and was known for his gentle manner.


Posted by Jane on June 15th, 2018
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Jean Halfpenny
died on May 5th, 2010

77yo Jean Halfpenny was one of the Orchid View residents. Orchid View was a care home for the elderly in West Sussex, UK, that was operating from 2009 to 2011, charged £3000 per month, and provided "sub-optimal" care that was deemed "institutionalized abuse" and resulted in the death of five of its residents.

Mrs Halfpenny stayed at Orchid View from November 2009 to May 2010, and on a few occasions were found naked in her bed, crying, cold, hungry, and thirsty. Her daughter wasn't allowed to visit in the morning or during meal times, and was reprimanded for bringing food for her mother. In April Mrs Halfpenny was administered three times her regular dose of the blood thinning drug Warfarin over the course of 17 days; she was hospitalized twice after that, and passed away on May 5th.


Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2016
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Zella
died on May 5th, 2007

I never told you that I loved you or that you were my best friend. Thank you for being my mother figure and being my constant security in life. I am who I am now because of you. I vow to live each day as you would want me to live it because you loved me and now live in my heart forever. I love you, Krisjewel


Posted by Krisjewel on February 19th, 2012
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May 6th:
Ronke Shonde
died on May 6th, 2016

Mrs Ronke Shonde from Lagos, Nigeria, often complained to her family about domestic violence. The family fought about the money, and both accused each other of cheating. At some point they even signed an agreement at a police station that they would not be involved in further domestic disputes no matter what happened - at the insistence of their relatives, pastor, and landlady. Physical abuse continued, but Ronke stayed with her husband for the sake of the children (aged six and four). On May 6th, Ronke's husband told their nanny she wouldn't be needed on that day, didn't send the kids to school, and locked himself, Ronke, and the children inside the house. The neighbors broke the door because the children were screaming, and found Ronke's dead body on the floor. The husband fled the scene but eventually turned himself in and was charged with murder. No family member or relative of his was present at Ronke's funeral.


Posted by Manya on March 19th, 2017
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May 7th:
Kaleib L Higgins
died on May 7th, 2011

2yo Kaileb from Tennessee, USA, was visiting with his dad (whom he only knew for 5 months) in Kentucky. Dad was out of the house, and Kaileb was left with dad's girlfriend and her three children (all under 10 years of age). Kaileb died of multiple blunt force trauma to his head and body. The woman pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter.


Posted by Manya on March 19th, 2017
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May 8th:
Sanam Navsarka
died on May 8th, 2008

2yo Sanam from UK was abused to death by her mom and mom's boyfriend. She was beaten, neglected, and locked in a cupboard if she cried. At the time of death, Sanam had 107 separate external injuries, including fractures of both legs and both arms. "Sanam had been in a great deal of pain and distress over a long period leading up to her death," prosecutor said. "Her pain and discomfort would have been obvious to anyone who saw her, let alone who lived with her. (...) No doubt Sanam, as a two-year-old child, looked to both defendants to help her and to protect her. Neither defendant did anything to assist or save Sanam from the horrific injuries that she received. Those injuries were not caused during a brief and singular episode of violence by an adult upon a small child."

Sanam's mother was convicted of manslaughter for failing to protect Sanam from abuse, and her boyfriend - of murder. "You did nothing, absolutely nothing," the judge said to Sanam's mother. "That is unbelievable. It is also incredibly cruel. This was a gross abuse of trust by you as a mother. You selfishly put yourself and relationship with [your boyfriend] before your child."


Posted by Manya on March 19th, 2017
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May 9th:
Rodney Hulin, Jr
died on May 9th, 1996

Rodney was about to turn 17yo when he "caused a small fire in a pile of empty cans against the outside wall of the residence", according to an incident report. He was a juvenile tried as an adult, and took a plea agreement of 8 years in prison with the possibility of parole in 2 years. In less than a year he was gang-raped. Rodney reported it and a medical examination corroborated the claim, but no charges were filed against the offenders. Two months later Rodney hanged himself. Medics restored his heartbeat, and from that point on he was transferred from one prison hospital to another, until he died on May 9th, 1996. His dad had applied for a medical parole on his son's behalf, and it was granted; Rodney was scheduled to move to a nursing home on May 11th.


Posted by Manya on February 5th, 2016
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May 10th:
Dolores Moritz
died on May 10th, 2014

When Melbourne police officers arrived at the home they found Dolores Moritz dead. Detectives said she was in an emaciated state, and lying in feces and urine. Dolores died due to lack of care, according to the medical examiner. Law enforcement officials determined 66-year-old her son was the primary caregiver and had neglected his mother. He was arrested on charges of aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person and neglect of an elderly person.


Posted by Jane on June 15th, 2018
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Olivia Faith Truax
died on May 10th, 2011

3-month-old Olivia from Michigan, USA, died after her mom's boyfriend dropped her on the floor head down, twice. The first time, on Thursday, it was unintentional, but the first fall made Olivia cranky, she continued crying and wiggling when held, so on Friday he dropped her again, this time intentionally, out of anger and frustration.


Posted by Manya on March 19th, 2017
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May 11th:
Ethan Stacy
died on May 11th, 2010

Ethan was a 4yo boy who had been sent to visit his mom in Utah, USA, for the summer, as part of a custody agreement. He arrived to her and her boyfriend's home on April 28th, and she felt that her ex has "destroyed my boy." She asked her boyfriend to "teach him (Ethan) to be a man" by beating him or "whatever it took to get her boy back." It's unclear how exactly they went about it, but, bottom line, Ethan died ten days later. He had no food in his stomach, was dehydrated, and had various drugs in his system, bruises, lacerations, aspiration pneumonia, and his skin was "falling off" (according to medical examiner) because of burns he couldn't have acquired by accident. Aspiration pneumonia is caused by an inhalation of foreign materials into the lungs, potentially vomit, or as prosecutors suggested, fecal matter that the boy allegedly was forced to eat, according to prior police testimony.

The couple disfigured Ethan's body, buried it in a shallow grave, and sprinkled dog food on it. Mother reported her son missing three days later.


Posted by Manya on February 4th, 2016
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May 12th:
Hana Williams
died on May 12th, 2011

Hana was a 13yo girl adopted from Ethiopia by a couple from Washington, USA. According to them, Hana "enjoyed knitting and crocheting, reading, drawing and various crafts, playing soccer and riding her bicycle." Aside from Hana, the couple had seven biological children and one more adopted son, also from Ethiopia. The children were home-schooled. The family had a copy of the controversial parenting book To Train Up a Child, and, according to witnesses, followed the book recommendations "to use a switch, cold baths, withhold food and force children outside in cold weather as punishment."

According to Hana's adoptive mother, on the evening of May 12th Hana was outside (it was raining), and started removing her clothes and throwing herself onto the ground, hitting her head. The mother and eight children watched Hana's agony from inside the house, and, according to one of the kids, laughed at it. When the mother finally called 911, she said, "I think my daughter just killed herself... She's really rebellious."

Hana weighed 76lbs in 2008, 108lbs in 2009, and only 78lbs in 2011 when she died of hypothermia, malnutrition, and gastritis. She had marks on her body, from previous beatings.


Posted by Manya on February 10th, 2016
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Zhao Shanshan and Sun Qingqing
died on May 12th, 2010

According to the official version of events, two 14yo girls, Zhao and Sung, middle school students from China, voluntarily attended a party that consisted of adult men only, had sex with those men, and then committed suicide. According to the girls' relatives, however, the girls were kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Zhao's father said, "There are a dozen men in this town who are known to rob and rape. <...>The kids are scared of them. These hoodlums would beat those who refuse to do what they want. They raped many girls in the middle school, at least 30. The girls and their parents would not speak up out of fear. People in the surrounding villages are scared of them, too, and try to avoid them. <...> Leader Qu Tao celebrated his birthday and detained the two girls in his apartment. When we went looking for our daughter, three of them armed with screwdrivers tried to stop us from entering. I saw from outside through the apartment windows that the girls were fine. When we eventually got into the apartment they had already drunk the pesticide. Those men killed them to shut them up." Sung's sister added, "Local officials have not given us a reasonable answer. We went to the school trying to understand what happened. The people from school would not let us in and beat us. The coroner's examination revealed the girls’ hymens had been ruptured. <...> We tried to hire a lawyer. They told us they would not take our case because whoever takes the case would lose his job."


Posted by Manya on July 29th, 2018
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