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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June 2nd:
Elaina Steinfurth
died on June 2nd, 2013

Elaina was an 18-month-old baby from Ohio, USA, killed by her mom and mom's boyfriend. Elaina was crying, and mom threw her against the wall and then called her boyfriend, who suffocated the baby and hid the body in his garage. Here's a quote from Elaina's father statement to court:

I would like to start by telling the court what kind of sweet baby Elaina was. She was a playful little girl who was full of energy. She loved to swing and would chase her older sister Kylie around for hours. She was also a very loving baby who loved to be held and cuddled. She would lay and nap with me for hours during the day while I slept for work on third shift.

I have many memories I will always keep of Elaina; memories of her playing in the sprinkler in the backyard, memories of her running around at Chuck E. Cheese and playing games. But what I remember most about Elaina is she was a fighter. Due to being born with problems with her feet, doctors said it would take her longer than normal to be able to learn to walk. But Elaina went through months of physical therapy and was walking by her first birthday. Elaina was strong and very determined and that I will never forget about my little girl.



Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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Omega Leach
died on June 2nd, 2007

In May, 17-year-old Omega Leach arrived at the Chad Youth Enhancement Center outside Nashville, a mental-health facility for troubled teenagers approved by the city's Department of Human Services. His stay was brief. Omega died after a physical confrontation with staff on June 3. He tried to choke one counselor, and another staffer pushed Leach facedown to the floor and pulled his arms behind his back, police said. His mother, Paulette Dolby, cried when asked about her son. She referred reporters to a lawyer, Edith Pearce, Pearce described Leach as an ordinary teenager who loved basketball and video games and doted on his younger sister. He carried a grade point average of 2.7 at Daniel Boone disciplinary school. "My career goal is to be a lawyer," he wrote recently, in words quoted in his funeral program. "I like helping people, so I plan to be an affordable lawyer, and in that case I will have to go to college."


Posted by Jane on June 16th, 2018
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June 3rd:
Wadeema Al Shirawi
died on June 3rd, 2012

8yo Wadeema and 7yo Mira from United Arab Emirates used to live in a studio apartment with their dad and dad's girlfriend. "It smelled really bad and was dirty," the police testified in court. "There was only one bed and the furniture was turned upside down. The girls' clothes stank and there was mess everywhere. The fridge was full of food which was out of date. No one could live in it." The girls' father believed that they were possessed by evil spirits, and, along with his girlfriend, has been attempting to exorcise them for months. Here's how 7yo Mira described this process: "They used wire, bars and a stun gun to torture us. They used to throw boiling water on us and even used a heated iron on my skin for no reason. They used to lock us in the bathroom, tie our hands up and make us eat our own feces." Wadeema died sometime between June 1st and June 5th. Mira was rescued by her uncle, but sustained permanent disability; she's now in custody of her mother, and receiving therapy. The father was executed; his girlfriend was sentenced to life without parole.

Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, visited Mira in hospital in 2012, offered to pay her expenses, and ordered the drafting of a federal child protection law to ensure a secure and stable future for children. In 2016 Federal Law No-3 on children’s rights was issued, and became known as Wadeema Law. It's a 12 page document that lays out the legal rights of minors, establishes punishments for those who violate those rights and allows childcare specialists to remove children from their homes against parents’ wishes and without judicial permission in cases of imminent danger.


Posted by Manya on October 2nd, 2018
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Devin Parsons
died on June 3rd, 2011

12yo Devin from Indiana, USA lived with his little brother and sister, his mom, and his mom's boyfriend. He was an outdoorsy kind of boy, loved basketball, football, fishing, and hunting. Almost every Sunday, he got his little sister and brother ready for church, and they waited for the church bus to pick them up. Devin's little sister called him "the Protector." Their home life wasn't safe; family members, the police, and Devin's school sent a total of 19 reports to Child Protective Services about drugs, violence, and neglect, majority of them being in the last school year. On the first day of school summer break, Devin's mom and her boyfriend beat the boy to death because some of their drugs were missing and they suspected he hid them. Here's a poem that Devin wrote:

Peace is friendship and being healthy
Peace is like the fresh yellow sun
Peace sounds like dogs howling
Peace tastes like candy


Posted by Manya on March 22nd, 2017
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June 4th:
Shaun Corey
died on June 4th, 2011

Shaun, 42, lived in Rochdale before leaving to make a new future for himself in London. He met his killer Karen Otmani through an internet dating site. Their relationship, was tempestuous. Despite repeated pleas from his relatives to return home, Shaun stayed because he was worried about what she might do and not wanting to leave his child. On June 4 last year Karen drugged and suffocated him. Shaun's mum Joyce Townsend felt Otmani's minimum 17-year sentence should have been much longer. "I feel angry," said Joyce. "All he wanted was to be loved. He just wanted a family but he got in a relationship with the wrong person. He was a lovely lad. "If your child dies because he was ill maybe it is easier to come to terms with, but this was premeditated murder. His sister Dawn said the warning signs were there, but Shaun always saw the good in people.


Posted by Jane on June 16th, 2018
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Suvarna Naik
died on June 4th, 2011

26yo Suvarna from India was a victim of dowry death. She had a 6 months old daughter, but her husband and in-laws were harassing and abusing her, claiming that the dowry they received for her from her family wasn't sufficient. Suvarna hung herself in her bedroom. The police charged her husband and in-laws with abetment to suicide, harassment for dowry, and dowry death.


Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2017
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Travis Alexander
died on June 4th, 2008

Travis was a 30yo man from Arizona, USA, who worked as a salesman and motivational speaker for a legal services company. He was trying to break up with his girlfriend of two years, complained to his friends that she was stalking him and slashed his tires, and was about to leave to Mexico with another woman. The ex girlfriend drove nearly two thousand miles to his home, they had some private time that they took pictures of, then he took shower, which she took pictures of as well, and the next pictures on the camera, taken within minutes, are of his dead body in the bathtub full of blood, with 27 stab wounds, a slit throat, and a gunshot wound to the head.

It was a capital murder trial, i.e. the woman was risking a death sentence, so she told three separate versions of what happened. First, that she hasn't seen Travis in two months and doesn't know what happened to him. Then, that someone broke into his home, murdering him and attacking her. Her final version, which she first mentioned two years into the case, was that he was abusive to her and that she killed him in self-defense. She even wore a t-shirt that said "survivor" to trial, causing much controversy among Domestic Violence activists, some of whom view her as a victim, while others view her as a perpetrator. In the end she was convicted and sentenced to life without parole. Here's a quote from Travis' obituary:

Travis lived each day as if it were his last, with many accomplishments, dreams, travels, and successes. He was an amazing individual who sought out to save the world with his positive influence, his motivational speaking and his writing. He was well on his way to making all his dreams a reality. Travis has touched so many lives and will continue in our hearts forever and always. We can never express the unbearable pain from this tragedy.


Posted by Manya on July 18th, 2016
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June 5th:
Joylynne Giebel
died on June 5th, 2015

2yo Joylynne from Arizona, USA, lived with her two older brothers, mom, and stepfather. Their mom felt that he was "loving, caring," and said, "Our relationship was awesome. His relationship with the kids was awesome. (...) He never hit me, he never hurt the kids. We never hurt the kids, we love the kids." However, there were at least 5 reports to the Department of Child Safety alleging the adults were dealing drugs and the kids were physically abused and drugged. A caseworker visited the house, but no one was home; she left a business card on their door and didn't follow up.

Joylynne died after her stepfather was "rough housing" with her and "smacked her on the head" to "discipline" her. Joylynne's 4yo brother said 'daddy had hit [her] in the face real hard'. Her head was covered in bruises. Both parents were arrested, the stepfather for manslaughter and the mother for failure to protect her child from abuse and to call for an ambulance while Joylynne was dying. "I sit in my room and cry," said the mother. "I get my bible out, and I pray to God that some light will shine, so that people who know me come forth and tell everybody what a mom I am."


Posted by Manya on March 22nd, 2017
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June 6th:
Kalief Browder
died on June 6th, 2015

Kalief was a 22yo man from Bronx, NY, who survived abuse but committed suicide because of its aftermath. He was arrested at 16 andheld at the Riker's Island jail for three years, not convicted of any crime. He was abused by both inmates and staff at Rikers, but refused to plead guilty and be sentenced to time served; he said he wasn't guilty and wanted to go to trial. Once released, Kalief tried to rebuild his life: got a job, went to college, but he couldn't cope with the emotional aftermath of his jail experience, the flashbacks, the anxiety, the hypervigilance, and eventually paranoia and psychosis.

Being home is way better than being in jail, but in my mind right now I feel like I'm still in jail, because I'm still feeling the side effects from what happened in there. I'm trying to break out of my shell, but I guess there is no shell. I guess this is just how I am - I'm just quiet and distant. I don't like being this way, but it's just natural to me now. (...) I might be attacked; I might be robbed, because, believe me, in jail you know there's all type of criminal stuff that goes on. Before I went to jail, I didn't know about a lot of stuff, and, now that I'm aware, I'm paranoid. (...) People tell me because I have this case against the city I'm all right. But I'm not all right. I'm messed up. I know that I might see some money from this case, but that's not going to help me mentally. I'm mentally scarred right now. That's how I feel. Because there are certain things that changed about me and they might not go back.

Kalief killed himself on June 6th, 2015. The day before, he told his mother, "Ma, I can't take it anymore."


Posted by Manya on March 7th, 2016
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Samuel G Porter
died on June 6th, 2004

7yo Sam from Missouri loved being with people, the outdoors, playing basketball, and collecting Yu-Gi-Oh cards. His 8yo sister Lindsey enjoyed being the center of attention, dancing, singing, and sports, especially golf. Both kids loved playing with Bossie, the family bulldog, that used to walk them to school with their dad. On June 6th, 2004, the dad picked them up for a weekend visit, took them to the woods saying he had a surprise for them, blindfolded them, and shot them in the backs of their heads. "People may think I'm strong, but I'm not," Sam's and Lindsey's mom said. "There are good days and bad days. Some days, I just don't want to get out of bed ... when your children are taken from you, there is no normal anymore. Other people hear about bad things happening to someone else, but then they can forget about it. I have to battle this every day."


Posted by Manya on September 11th, 2018
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June 7th:
Rania Alayed
died on June 7th, 2013

Rania was killed by her husband after trying to escape an abusive marriage. The couple was originally from Syria, but moved to Stockton-on-Tees, UK in 2004, and to Manchester five years later. Rania was 21, a mother of three, and her husband abused her physically, sexually, and financially. Once in Manchester, she started reaching out for help, and even hired a lawyer. She started college, made friends of both genders, and confided in them that she was living in a domestic violence situation. In May of 2013 Rania moved out with the kids, filed for divorce, and began dating another man.

Her husband seemed to agree to grant her divorce, but on June 7th he asked to meet her at a neutral territory, so that she could drop off the kids to visit with him for the weekend. Once there, he murdered her, while their kids were in another room, dressed in her clothing and left the building like that (to make it look like she left, on security cameras), and was telling everyone they have divorced and Rania is alive and in Turkey.


Posted by Manya on February 19th, 2016
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June 8th:
Zeenat Rafiq
died on June 8th, 2016

16yo Zeenat from Pakistan was in love with a boy she met in school. Her family didn't approve and rejected several marriage proposals, so the young couple eloped (i.e. ran away from home and got married without family consent). Zeenat's mom said it was OK, invited Zeenat for a visit to celebrate her marriage, and assured her that she would not be harmed. When Zeenat came to her mom's house, mom beat her, strangled her, and then burnt her alive, for "dishonoring" her family. "I don't have any regrets," she said.


Posted by Manya on June 14th, 2018
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June 9th:
Suhair Al-Bataa
died on June 9th, 2013

13yo Suhail from Egypt died of FGM, Female Genital Mutilation, a practice that 90% of Egyptian girls are subjected to, that consists of partial or full surgical removal of external genitalia. Suhail's dad took her to a clinic for this procedure, and she died during it. Her grandfather said, "It is God's will. We are not angry with the doctor. The doctor does not want to kill anyone. We are all sorry, and definitely we regret this." While her uncle said, "It has been done in the countryside for a long time. People here are used to it. Without circumcision, girls are full of lust."


Posted by Manya on July 8th, 2016
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June 10th:
Kami Ring
died on June 10th, 2013

10yo Kami from Maryland, USA, was a straight-A student who loved to laugh, sing, and dance. "She loved everything about life," her godmother said. On the first weekend of her school break, Kami attended a local carnival and was staying the night at the home of people she considered her grandparents. She disappeared from her bedroom in the middle of the night, and her body was found the next day just 60 yards in front of their home. Kami was raped, beaten, and strangled to death by their relative who was living in the house at the time. "They would never have even had Kami around him if they knew he was this sick," her godmother said. "We have taught her to scream at the top of her lungs if something ever happened," her stepdad said. "Kami's a model 10-year-old. She was staying somewhere she felt safe."


Posted by Manya on March 22nd, 2017
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June 11th:
Christian Pearson
died on June 11th, 2017

Friends, family and his former teachers gathered Saturday night with hundreds of others in Chino Valley's Memory Park to remember Christian Pearson a 10-year-old boy. Christian died on Sunday, June 11, 2017, after being taken off life support. Initial reports indicate he died from injuries associated with multiple cracks to his skull and severe burns to his body. His former teachers describe Pearson as a smart boy who had an infectious smile. And as a sponge, eager to soak up all the learning they could dish out. He was very good at math, his favorite subject. So good that his fourth-grade teacher had to call him out into the hall and tell him to quit shouting out all the answers to questions...to let the other students have a try once in a while. Christian's mother, Juliana Moreno, and her boyfriend, Daniel Terry, have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder.


Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
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Maleeya Marie Murley Avalon
died on June 11th, 2011

17-month-old Maleeya from Tennessee, USA, lived with her mom and visited with her dad. During one of the visits she was raped, bitten, and thrown against the table by her dad's girlfriend; dad was not involved in any of it. Maleeya died of brain injury.


Posted by Manya on July 18th, 2016
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Carly Sawyer
died on June 11th, 2009

Carly was a 5yo girl from Virginia, USA, whose parents fought for her custody for 2.5 years. At the end Carly stayed with her dad and stepmom. They punished her for bed wetting by spanking, withholding food, tying her hands (so that she couldn't get food from the fridge while they weren't looking), and keeping her tied up in a cardboard box. Carly died of blunt-force trauma with contributing factors that included starvation, ligature restraint and medical neglect. Her dad set up an obituary where he referred to Carly as "God's newest angel," and the stepmom said that Carly caused herself the brain injury by throwing herself on the floor because she was upset. Both pleaded guilty to first degree murder.


Posted by Manya on May 20th, 2016
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Phoenix Sinclair
died on June 11th, 2005

Phoenix was a 5yo girl from Manitoba, Canada, who was murdered by her mom and stepdad. When she was born, both of her parents had a history with Child Protective Services, and initially she was removed from them right after birth, as they were deemed unprepared to care for a baby. They were allowed to visit with her, and six months later they took her home. There was domestic violence in the household, and Phoenix' little sister died of respiratory infection, but Phoenix wasn't removed from the house. Her parents broke up, she stayed with dad, and there were multiple abuse and neglect reports; for example, once Phoenix was taken to a hospital because she had a piece of styrofoam in her nose for three months, and the doctors weren't sure her dad would consistently give her antibiotics to cure the resulting infection; she mostly stayed with a family friend. When Phoenix was four, her dad moved to another province, and soon her mom took her from the family friend. Her mom had a new husband by then, with one child they had together and two more children the man had from a previous marriage. A year later Phoenix died of physical abuse and neglect. She was made to sleep in a cold basement, was given very little food, forced to eat her own vomit, shot with a BB gun, and played a "game" with, in which her stepdad strangled her till she passed out. On the day Phoenix died, the man was beating her continuously for over 15 minutes while her mom looked on. When the couple finally left the house, Phoenix' 12yo brother checked if she was OK, and discovered she was dead. The couple didn't report her death, and continued to claim her welfare benefits for another 8 months; they were arrested when they tried to pass another girl as Phoenix, after the boy reported her death to police.


Posted by Manya on March 18th, 2016
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