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 20th:
Obaida Sedqi
died on May 20th, 2016

8yo Obaida lived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with his mom, dad, and two younger sisters. The family was originally from Jordan. Obaida attended the second grade, and was a smart kid, according to friends and relatives; he would always give directions to taxi drivers while returning home with his mother from mall visits. The family lived on the fourth floor, above Obaida's dad car repair shop. In the beginning of May, a new customer, also Jordanian, came to the shop to have his car repaired. "We don't know him," said Obaida's mom. "I did not feel comfortable about this man from the beginning." The man was friendly with Obaida, who spent a lot of time in his dad's shop, allowed the boy to watch cartoons in his car sometimes, and offered to buy him a scooter. In the afternoon of May 31st Obaida left the house to join his father in the workshop. He went down the stairs, but never arrived to the workshop. The parents only realized he was missing at 9:30PM, when the father closed the workshop and returned home. Obaida was kidnapped by that customer, who sexually assaulted him and then strangled him with a red ghutrah (traditional Arab headdress) when the boy tried to resist. Obaida's body was found two days later, 14 miles away. The man tried to use the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder and alcoholism for insanity plea, but was sentenced to death and executed.


Posted by Manya on February 11th, 2018
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Heaven Woods
died on May 20th, 2014

Heaven was a 5yo girl from Georgia, who lived with her abusive mom. Her dad petitioned for primary custody of Heaven back in 2012, when she was 3yo, telling the court that visitation with her mom should be limited because of violence towards the child. Mom responded that he was the violent one. He continued his battle for custody, petitioning the court again in 2013 and in January of 2014. On May 20th, 2014, Heaven was beat to death by her mom and mom's boyfriend, for soiling her pants, which she couldn't help due to her injuries. Cause of death was blunt-force trauma to the abdomen and extreme blood loss that had accumulated in the child's stomach.Autopsy revealed Heaven suffered long-term physical abuse before she died.

"I cannot express what you took from me. I will never understand why you did this to my Heaven, an innocent child who could not defend herself. She was playful, she was loving, she was understanding," said Heaven's dad in court.


Posted by Manya on February 27th, 2016
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May 21st:
Levai Bonnar
died on May 21st, 2013

Levai was a 7yo boy from Australia who was abused and killed by his mom and her boyfriend. The man was a Christian hip-hop music producer, referred to himself as being "the General of the Army of the Helpers" and said the army "carried out the will of God". He physically and sexually abused Levai and his siblings under the guise of "punishment" in accordance with a "bizarre" discipline regime inspired by religion and a movie about Spartan soldiers called 300. Levai's mother sometimes participated, and sometimes recorded the abuse on her phone. Levai died of fractured skull and bleeding to his brain, and post-mortem found dozens of bruises, abrasions, scars, and fractures on his body.


Posted by Manya on May 20th, 2016
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Sabia Rani
died on May 21st, 2006

Sabia was a Pakistani girl beaten to death by her husband. It was an arranged marriage; after the marriage certificate was signed, Sabia stayed in Pakistan for three more years while her husband and his family lived in UK. When Sabia was 19, she came to UK to stay with them. She didn't speak a word of English, didn't know anyone in the country, and never went outside alone. Her husband didn't like how she made his lunch, that she struggled figuring out how to apply makeup, and that she didn't know how to buy groceries. Five months after her move to UK Sabia was dead.

There were four adults in the household aside from Sabia and her husband. He was beating her for at least three weeks. 90% of her body was covered in bruises. She had 15 bone fractures. The family said they saw no injuries on her body, didn't realize she was in pain, and that she must have been killed by "evil spirits".


Posted by Manya on February 19th, 2016
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May 22nd:
Teneya Little
died on May 22nd, 2016

40yo Mrs Little, from Wisconsin, USA, was a nurse at the Milwaukee Area Technical College and mother of two teenagers. Her boyfriend was on parole for drug related charges, and had an arrest warrant for battery. "She was just looking scared," her sister said, "like she was scared, like, 'I'm just tired,' and when I seen her I was like, 'He's going to kill you,' and she just looked at me. (...) I think she always attracted people that needed help. That's what it was. She felt like he was good - that he just needed someone there for him or to love him." When Mrs Little pressed charges against him for domestic violence, he tried to convince her to drop the charges. They had an argument, and she died of a gunshot wound to the head. Her children were at home at the time and unharmed. The man told them, "I just blew your mama's brains out. I forgot it was loaded. I shouldn't have put the bullets in."


Posted by Manya on March 21st, 2017
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May 23rd:
Jose Castillo-Cisneros
died on May 23rd, 2016

3yo Jose, known among family as Pepe, had developmental delays and often communicated by screaming and yelling. His mom tried to discipline him by spanking, and he responded by smiling and laughing. In March of 2016 she enrolled Pepe in an early childhood special education program, and that seemed to work better. "He was doing so well," his aunt said. "He was learning how to talk and this was his second week at his special school. Today was the first day he didn't cry when the bus picked him up and he got home very happy after school." Mom's 41yo boyfriend, on the other hand, didn't like Pepe. For example, in one message to his brother he wrote "We ended up bad cause of punk ass Pepe. Lil (expletive) ass always yelling wanting everything so I yelled at him and told him to shut the (expletive) up lol. He started crying hella bad too. Like someone killing him." The man had intermittent explosive disorder, history of violence and substance abuse, and used to torture and kill cats as a child. Aside from this man and mom, Pepe had a 9yo sister, and in April his mom gave birth to a third child.

On May 23rd Pepe and his sister were watching a movie, while their mom was doing the dishes downstairs and her boyfriend was in his room. Pepe started crying, and the man beat Pepe, broke a wall with his head, and stabbed him with a knife. Pepe's mom tried to protect him by holding the newborn baby in front of him, so that her boyfriend wouldn't want to accidentally injure his own son, but that didn't help. "You're killing him," she said, and he responded "I know," and "let the dog die". When she told him he would go to jail, he responded "I know, and I don't care." In the end Pepe's 9yo sister called the police, who forced entry into the apartment and found Pepe with a broken skull, in a pool of blood, and his mom injured. "He was only 3 years old," his aunt said. "He did not deserve to die like this."


Posted by Manya on March 27th, 2018
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May 24th:
Lillian Eggen
died on May 24th, 2013

Lillian Eggen was the victim of elder abuse which included substandard clinical care and being housed in in an environment that was infected with toxic mold. Since Mrs. Eggen was a Nurse she was shocked and upset to learn the facilities charge 'nurse' was an imposter who used inadequately trained caregivers.


Posted by Jane on August 20th, 2018
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Gabriel Fernandez
died on May 24th, 2013

Gabriel was an 8yo boy from LA, who died of child abuse and neglect. According to his brother, Gabriel was kept locked in a closet with a sock stuffed into his mouth to gag him, not allowed to go to the bathroom, and forced to eat rotten spinach, cat feces, and his own vomit. He was sent to school in girl's clothes, called gay, and beaten with a club, bat, metal hanger, and belt buckle. He had his teeth knocked out, and went to school with torn lip and black eye. Gabriel's teacher called Child Protective Services several times, but to no avail. On May 22nd, his mother called 911 because he wasn't breathing. When paramedics arrived, they found Gabriel naked in a bedroom, with a cracked skull, three broken ribs and BB pellets embedded in his lung and groin. Gabriel died two days later.

Eight-year-old Gabriel once wrote a suicide note, but authorities dismissed it because it did not include a specific plan to carry out a suicide.


Posted by Manya on February 2nd, 2016
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Hope Arismandez
died on May 24th, 2008

Hope was an 8yo girl from Trinidad who liked to read and wanted to be a teacher when she grows up. "She is very intelligent and knows what she is about and is very aware as to what is happening around her. She was taught right from wrong and knew how she was to be treated by anyone, whether they were man or woman," said her dad. Hope was raped and murdered by her mom's boyfriend. He tried to rape her but she fought back and he realized he can't let her live because she'll tell on him, so he slashed her throat. Hope's relative said, "I really don't know why an innocent child like this had to go in such a brutal and inhumane manner. What did she ever do to deserve this?"


Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2016
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May 25th:
Timothy Wiltsey
died on May 25th, 1991

5yo Timmy from New Jersey, USA, was a nice and quiet boy, according to his school nurse. He lived with his 23yo mom, and both of them struggled attending school/work. In his first year of school, Timmy was late 63 times, and absent another 25 days. His mom also struggled maintaining a job, frequently being late, calling out sick, or just not showing up without a notice. On May 25th of 1991, Memorial Day weekend, Timmy's mom said he went missing at a local carnival when she turned away to buy a soda. Police officers, firefighters, volunteers, and trained dog immediately started searching for Timmy. The case appeared on TV, and Timmy's photograph was circulated on thousands of missing-child flyers and milk cartoons.

Timmy's remains were found eleven months later, in the woods near his mom's old workplace. Cause of death was impossible to determine due to decomposition, but next to the body were Timmy's sneakers, his baby blanket, and a balloon, all featuring his favorite cartoon characters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Timmy's mom gave multiple different accounts of what happened, but was finally convicted of murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2017, more than 25 years after Timmy's disappearance.


Posted by Manya on March 21st, 2017
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May 26th:
Mackenzie Maison
died on May 26th, 2015

5yo Mackenzie and her 3yo sister Makayla from Detroit were starved by their parents. Makayla survived, weighing 17 pounds (she was bigger as an 8 month old baby than as a 3yo child), and Mackenzie passed away. Her grandma said that her parents never withheld food, she was just picky. When her mom called 911, she initially also said that she's calling because Mackenzie refuses to eat, and only later admitted the 5yo wasn't breathing. Medical experts have testified Mackenzie was bruised, malnourished, dehydrated and had pneumonia. She weighed 25 pounds. Both parents were found guilty of felony murder in Mackenzie's death, and first-degree child abuse and torture of both girls.


Posted by Manya on February 2nd, 2016
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May 27th:
Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy
died on May 27th, 2018

20yo Burulai from Kyrgyzstan was about to graduate from medical school, and to marry her fiance. However, a local cab driver was infatuated with her. He subjected her to a practice called ala kachu, which is a bride kidnapping followed by a forced marriage, but Burulai's father was able to rescue her. The cab driver was continuing to pressure for marriage and making death threats, so Burulai moved to another district, to stay with her aunt, for safety. However, on May 27th she visited her parents to help her mother during the holy month of Ramadan, and went to the store to buy yogurt for her father. As soon as Burulai left the house, the cab driver abducted her. Her father saw it happen, but couldn't intervene in time. He contacted the police, both Burulai and her abductor were detained, and her father was told to come pick her up from the police station. However, Burulai was held in the same room with her abductor, and he stabbed her to death while the police were "distracted".


Posted by Manya on May 4th, 2019
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Farzana Parveen
died on May 27th, 2014

30yo Farzana from Pakistan was bludgeoned to death by her family for marrying her husband. They loved each other, she was pregnant by him, and her family initially approved of the marriage, but withdrew their consent after her husband refused to pay more than the agreed-upon bride price. Farzana's father accused him of abducting her, and she testified to the police that she had married her husband of her own free will. Her family then stoned her to death in front of a police station. Her father said, "I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it."


Posted by Manya on March 21st, 2017
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May 28th:
Brittany-Jane Royal
died on May 28th, 2013

25yo Brittany-Jane from California, USA, lived with her boyfriend in a tent on a lava field in Hawaii; they were hoping to start an organic farm. Brittany-Jane was 10 weeks pregnant when her boyfriend strangled her during a domestic dispute. "Brittany's life was about peace (and) love," her mother wrote. "We can all learn from her. She was searching for the perfect place to call home and to raise a child. She is now in that ultimate paradise."


Posted by Manya on May 11th, 2017
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Phil Hartman
died on May 28th, 1998

Phil Hartman was an actor and a comedian, most known for his work on Saturday Night Live. He was also known to his family and friends as a loving father of two children. He was hard working, but also enjoyed spending time on his boat and out in nature. Phil experienced domestic violence while married to his third wife, who shot and killed him in the early morning of May 28, 1998.


Posted by Tasha1701D on September 24th, 2019
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May 29th:
Asher Lesyshen-Kirlan
died on May 29th, 2013

Asher was a 9yo boy from Colorado who played violin, enjoyed ski jumping, hiking, camping, fishing, and soccer. His parents were living together, but were estranged. On May 27th Asher's mom found out his dad was having an affair. They had an argument where she struck him multiple times, but they seemed to work it out in the end, and he agreed to not divorce her immediately, so that she could keep his health insurance. The the next day seemed to go on as usual, with her going to work and the family eating together, but at 3AM, while her husband was sleeping in the basement, she went to Asher's room and shot the sleeping boy to death, leaving a note to her husband that said, "Remember you are responsible for what has happened here and you are the person that caused it." It was signed, "Lisa & Asher". She then attempted to kill herself too, but survived (though paralyzed), and eventually pled guilty to the murder.

"We did a lot of hiking, a lot of backpack trips. Those are incredibly powerful memories for me," said Asher's dad. "I know every town worth passing through, but what good does knowing do with no one to show it to? I kind of feel that way about Asher."


Posted by Manya on February 27th, 2016
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Brandon
died on May 29th, 1998

I'm sorry i wasn't there for you when you needed me.I'm sorry for letting you down.I'm sorry for the events that occurred that night that lead to you taking your life.I blame myself and will never forgive myself.I will live with till the day i die.I loved you so much and still do.There isn't a night that i don't think of you or a day i don't cry for you.I hope you have found peace.


Posted by Jennifer on October 23rd, 2013
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