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 3rd:
O'ryan (Rhino) Murphy
died on February 3rd, 2016

When Elk County Coroner Michelle Muccio arrived on the scene scene, she pronounced O'ryan dead, estimating he had expired several hours before the call was made and emergency crews arrived. The apartment was described in court documents as “deplorable.” The two children living there, the late O’Ryan Murphy and his then three-year-old brother, had easy access to morphine, pain killers, over the counter medications, and alcoholic beverages. Several weapons, including a knife and blackjack, were also within reach. The residence was described as having animal feces on the floor, decomposing garbage throughout, being covered in filth, and with little to no internal heat, despite it being winter. The borough’s health inspector determined the apartment to be unfit for human occupancy and it was condemned after being processed by law enforcement. An autopsy performed by the Erie County Coroner’s Office concluded the boy’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, which police say was inflicted by the boy’s caretakers, his aunt Kristy Mae Murphy, 35, and uncle Scott Jeffrey Murphy, 25, both of Ridgway. Police investigation determined that the boy’s parents both of Meadville, had full knowledge their sons were living in squalor and with their aunt and uncle who were known drug offenders with violent tendencies.

Posted by Jane on June 19th, 2018
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February 4th:
Anam Rashid
died on February 4th, 2019

2yo Anam from Pakistan was the first child of her parents. After she was born, their marriage deteriorated due to arguments (Anam's mom explained that her husband wanted a son rather than a daughter), and then her dad threw her and her mom out. "My husband said that he can't keep us at his house," explained Anam's mom, "so I went to my parents' house. They said that they have gotten me married and I can't stay at their house." Mom had nowhere to go, so she drowned Anam in the ocean and tried to commit suicide too, but was rescued and is awaiting trial for murder.

Posted by Manya on May 5th, 2019
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Melvin Roberts
died on February 4th, 2010

Melvin Roberts was very successful. In the early 70s he'd served on the city council in York, South Carolina, then went on to be elected as the mayor. After a two-year term he carved out a career as a defense attorney. Melvin was very well known and respected in the community. His job made him wealthy. He had worked hard for his money in a career that spanned more than 50 years. Melvin's girlfriend of 10 years was Julia Phillips. Throughout their relationship he'd paid all her bills and treated her to luxuries such as beach holidays. After his death friends would claim that things between Melvin and Julia were tense. On February 4, 2010, Melvin was found strangled to death in his home. There was also a bullet hole in his clothes but the shot missed him. Julia told police that a man had broken into their home to rob them. It was later proven that she had staged the home invasion story...that she had murdered him.

Posted by Jane on June 15th, 2018
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Manche Masemola - 20th Century Martyr
died on February 4th, 2018

"Manche Masemola (1913-28)was born in Marishane, a small village in South Africa. German and then English missionaries had worked in the Transvaal Colony for several decades and by the early twentieth century there was a small Christian community among the Pedi people which was widely viewed with distrust by the remainder of the tribe who still practiced the traditional religion. By 1919, an Anglican Community of the Resurrection mission was established at Marishane. Masemola attended classes in preparation for baptism with her cousin Lucia, against the wishes of her parents. Her parents took her to a Sangoma (African traditional healer), claiming that she had been bewitched. She was prescribed a traditional remedy, which her parents made her consume by beating her. Relations worsened, and the mother hid the girl's clothes so she could not attend Christian instructional classes.On February 4, 1928, her parents led the teenager to a lonely place, where they killed her, burying her by a granite rock on a remote hillside. The Anglican Church of Southern Africa commemorates Masemola in its Calendar of saints on the 4th day of February each year, as do some other churches in the Anglican Communion.She is one of the ten 20th-century martyrs from across the world who are depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, London". Source: Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. Retrieved July 15, from

Posted by Jane on July 15th, 2018
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February 5th:
Amy Dye
died on February 5th, 2011

Amy was a 9yo girl from Kentucky who stayed with a foster family and was beaten to death. At first her 17yo adoptive brother was charged with murder and plead guilty, but his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court because investigating police officers coerced him to confess. It's unclear who killed Amy, but here were CPS reports alleging she was abused starting from 2007. On one occasion she was beat up by her oldest brother, but foster mom threatened to spank Amy if she told anyone. Ryan Craig, owner of local newspaper who was covering the case and filed the open records request for the abuse reports, said "Amy Dye should not have been in that home. You can place blame anywhere you want to, but the bottom line is that when we got those records, it showed that she should not have been in that home.".

Posted by Manya on February 27th, 2016
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February 6th:
Lydia Schatz
died on February 6th, 2010

In 2007 Lydia and her sister Zariah were adopted from Liberia by a Californian family that claimed to follow the teachings about child discipline of the "No Greater Joy Ministries", a Fundamentalist Christian organization. On February 5th, 2010, 7yo Lydia and 11yo Zaria were severely beaten (aka "disciplined") for nine hours with a plumbing line, because Zariah was "being a liar and a bad influence on the 7-year-old," and Lydia had mispronounced a word during a homeschooling lesson. Zariah survived, though suffered kidney failure and other injuries. Lydia died in the hospital the next day.

Posted by Zoe on August 26th, 2011
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February 7th:
Presley Porting
died on February 7th, 2017

2yo Presley from Kansas, USA, loved to play with her baby dolls, carrying around her purse, going swimming and singing and dancing. "Those who were lucky enough to know her felt pure joy when she toddled in the room," her obituary states. "Her sweet smile, funny personality and big beautiful brown eyes would melt the hearts of those around her. Presley stole the hearts of everyone she came into contact with." "She had a personality that was funny, and she was a very sweet, very soft, loving child," according to her mom. Presley died of blunt force injuries to her head and abrasions on her torso, while staying with her dad and his fiancee. "It's heartbreaking what she went through. My daughter just wanted to see her dad and her two younger sisters, and I truly, wholeheartedly thought she was safe," her mom said. "I didn't put my hands on her, but my part in that was not being her mother. I should have stayed sober. I should have been there for her. She was angel. She brought so much light to my life, and unfortunately I didn't realize it until it was too late."

Posted by Manya on June 16th, 2018
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February 8th:
Reagan Tokes
died on February 8th, 2017

21yo Reagan from Ohio, USA, was a fourth-year psychology major at Ohio State, due to graduate in May 2017. In February she was kidnapped on her way home from work, raped, and murdered by a registered sex offender who was released from prison three months prior. "We will always remember Reagan as a vibrant, loving young woman who embraced life," her family said. "She made a positive impact on people, was enthusiastic about everything and brought laughter and joy to all who knew her."

Posted by Manya on June 27th, 2018
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Kelly Thompson
died on February 8th, 2014

Her family and friends say Kelly Thompson, 43, was always the first to dream up ideas, invite people along, share her life with those she loved. But in her last days the Point Cook woman was also terrified, stalked by her obsessive, jealous ex-partner, Wayne Wood. Such was her distress that on her last night alive Ms Thompson fell asleep with three kitchen knives on her bedside table, a talisman against fear. Her body was found in her home in February 2014, after Wood broke into her home, stabbed her to death and then took his own life.

Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
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February 9th:
Dale Harrell
died on February 9th, 2009

Marissa Devault, 36, killed her husband Dale Harrell in a failed bid to collect on a life insurance policy to repay about $300,000 in loans from her boyfriend. Devault said she killed her husband in self-defense and told investigators he had physically and sexually abused her in the past. Harrell, 34, died nearly a month later at a hospice because of complications from the head injuries inflicted by his wife. The court found Devault guilty of first degree murder.

Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
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February 10th:
Addison and Leon Gehl
died on February 10th, 2015

Upon hearing an altercation between their parents 6-year-old Leon, and 3-year-Addison (Jeremy Gehl and Melissa Randolph’s son and daughter) came downstairs. Gehl shot both children before fatally shooting himself. A third child inside the residence was unharmed, and was reportedly found in the mother's arms outside of the home. Both children were airlifted to hospital. Three-year-old Addison was pronounced dead on arrival and 6-year-old Leon died soon after his admission.

Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
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February 11th:
Ozgecan Aslan
died on February 11th, 2015

Ozgecan was a 19yo Psychology student from Mersin, Turkey. She had loving parents (her mom returned to workforce to fund her education) and an older sister with whom Ozgecan shared love of opera. On February 11th, 2015, Ozgecan was riding a minibus home, after going to a mall with her friend. The driver assaulted her, attempted to rape, but she resisted: scratched his face with her fingernails, and used pepper spray. In response to this, the driver stabbed her multiple times, beat her to death with an iron rod, and then asked his father and his friend for help disposing of the body (which they provided).

The case resulted in nationwide outrage and protests across the country, and was described as the first mass movement for Turkish women.

Posted by Manya on November 2nd, 2015
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My sister
died on February 11th, 2007

Sorry was not there for you, but could not do it anymore missed you for so many years and to have heard of your suicide hurts so bad, hopefully you have now found peace

Posted by dfk on November 2nd, 2008
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February 12th:
James Bulger
died on February 12th, 1993

James Patrick Bulger was a 2yo boy from UK who was abducted at a local shopping centre, tortured, and murdered by two ten-year-old boys, the youngest convicted murderers in modern English history. The boys were released from custody when they turned 18, but one of them, Jon Venables, had committed various offences since, including child porn distribution. The case has prompted widespread debate on the issue of how to handle young offenders when they are sentenced or released from custody.

Posted by Manya on April 18th, 2014
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Aurore Gagnon
died on February 12th, 1920

Aurore was a 10yo girl from Quebec, Canada, who was killed by her stepmom. Her birth mom died of tuberculosis, and her dad remarried. Shortly after, Aurore's younger brother was found dead and the neighbors were suspicious. In September of 1919, 10yo Aurore was hospitalized for more than a month because of a leg infection caused by physical abuse: her stepmom used to beat her with an axe handle. When Aurore was discharged, the beatings continued, and on February 12th the girl passed away from septicemia (infection from wounds entered her bloodstream and she died as a result). The story of l'enfant martyre (The Child Martyr) received great attention in the media and Aurore became an icon of Quebec sociological and popular culture.

Posted by Manya on February 27th, 2016
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