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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July 17th:
Kailey Vijil
died on July 17th, 2015

Kailey was a 12yo girl from Utah, USA. A 15yo boy knocked on her door around midnight and asked her for help looking for his lost car. Kailey's body was found hours later in a nearby horse pasture. According to court documents, the girl had been sexually assaulted and had a piece of clothing wrapped around her neck.

Posted by Manya on May 20th, 2016
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July 18th:
Meredith Jessie and Mark Weekly
died on July 18th, 2015

6yo Meredith and her 50yo grandpa were killed on or around July 18th, 2015. "She was a little tomboy," the girl's teacher said. "She would dress like a girl, but she was a tough girl." According to the police and relatives, Meredith was "a handful", kept getting in trouble with mom, and the grandpa loved his granddaughter. Meredith's mom was indicted in their deaths, though claimed self-defense. "The question is," said the police detective investigating the case, "did (Meredith) first witness the vicious murder of her grandfather…"

Posted by Manya on March 7th, 2016
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Jeffrey Dryden
died on July 18th, 2010

Early in the morning of July 18th in 2010, Jeffrey Dryden returned home after socialising with his twin brother. Within minutes, he was dead, stabbed in the neck by his girlfriend. She was arrested and charged with his second-degree murder. Over time details emerged that Jeff had been living with verbal and physical abuse...had been the male target of a violent female abuser.

Posted by Jane on June 14th, 2018
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July 19th:
Celine Dookhran
died on July 19th, 2017

Tributes have poured in for 20 yo Celine Dookhran whose body was found in a freezer after she was brutally raped and murdered by her uncle. South Londoner, Celine, an Indian Muslim, is reported to have been in a relationship with an Arab Muslim, who she was planning to marry. This situation is said to have angered some members of her family. Although her murder has been described as a suspected "honour killing", many have taken issue with the term and said that murder should be called just that. Friends as well as those who had never met her took to Twitter and Facebook to express their sorrow over her killing.

Posted by Jane on July 22nd, 2018
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Swapnil Sonawane
died on July 19th, 2016

15yo Swapnil from India has been dating a girl from a different caste since they were in 7th grade. On July 18th, Swapnil's first day of college, the girl's family discovered their secret and demanded that he shouldn't contact her again. They beat him up and took his phone and pen drive, to destroy all evidence of their relationship. Swapnil's parents, who also just heard of the relationship, ran to the police because they feared for their son's life, but were told "Why are you behaving like characters in the film Sairat. Your story will also become like the film's. There will be bloodshed in your home." Sairat, a Marathi film, tells the story of an inter-caste couple who are killed in the name of honour by the girl's family. "My complaint against the girl's brother was not registered. Had they taken action, my son would have been alive today," said Swapnil's dad.

The same night a group of 15-20 men came to Swapnil's house, at first threatening him and his dad, and then inviting them to come to the girl's house to settle the matter. Dad was reluctant, but Swapnil assured him it will be alright. "When I reached their home, the girl's father started saying casteist things about me and my son," said Swapnil's dad. "Both my son and I were slapped. The father called the girl and asked my son to apologise to her and call her his sister. My son was humiliated and was asked to fall at her feet. He even did that. But the girl's father kicked him. He was so scared that he ran out of the house. Four-five people ran behind him and beat him." Swapnil, his mom, and his dad tried to flee from the house, but were chased and beat up by the girl's family, while bystanders did not intervene. According to the police, "Swapnil was injured in his private parts and his chest. His skull was cracked and he was left bleeding on a street behind Nerul police station. He was taken to D Y Patil hospital but was declared dead on arrival." Swapnil's dad said he would always rue the moment he decided to take Swapnil to the girl's home. "I saw my son fall to the ground. I saw him die before my eyes," he said.

Posted by Manya on February 11th, 2018
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Dan Markel
died on July 19th, 2014

Dan Markel was an attorney, as well as a lecturer at a Florida university. He was born and raised in Toronto, but then went to Harvard and several other institutions in pursuit of his law degree. He and his wife settled in Florida, where they both worked for a university. They had two sons together, but over time, his wife became dissatisfied with their marriage and filed for divorce. Once the divorce was final, his ex-wife and her family were upset that Dan was granted joint 50/50 custody of the two boys, thus making it impossible for their daughter and grandsons to move the 400 miles to where they lived. Dan Markel was shot in his car by associates of his ex-wife's family, and he passed away the next day. His life was celebrated by those who knew him, and many were devastated by this tragic loss of life.

Posted by Tasha1701D on October 22nd, 2019
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Teghan Skiba
died on July 19th, 2010

4yo Teghan from North Carolina, USA, lived with her mom and grandparents. Mom got a new boyfriend in January of 2010, and her parents didn't approve of him, so mom and Teghan moved out of their house and went to live with mom's boyfriend in a barn located behind his grandparents' house. The barn had no bathroom and no running water, and the three of them shared the same bed. In July Teghan's mom went to an Army Reserve Training in New Mexico, and left 4yo Teghan with her boyfriend at that barn. Teghan had an accident, soiled the bed, which made the man angry. He raped and tortured Teghan for ten days, before taking her to a hospital and claiming she injured herself by falling off a bed. That made little sense because Teghan was strangled with electrical cords, raped, her brain was so swollen it was coming out, and she had 65 bite marks on her body, which matched his teeth. He was sentenced to death. Teghan's mom was sentenced to prison for negligent child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury.

Posted by Jane on August 19th, 2018
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Lori Kay Soares Hacking
died on July 19th, 2004

Lori Kay Soares Hacking, was reported missing by her husband after he said she left her house to go for a run in Salt Lake City's Memory Grove. He eventually confessed to killing her and was ultimately sentenced to prison. On the 10 year anniversary of Lori death her mother shared that "people say, 'You need to do this, you need to do that. You need to get over it.' I wanted to slap them. Because you never get over it. I'm not over it now. I will never get over it. What you get over is the immediacy of it. You get over the shock and the disbelief and all of that panic — that desperation you feel when you can't find your child. You get over that as time passes. But you never get over the loss."

Posted by Jane on July 22nd, 2018
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July 20th:
Rosemary Gill
died on July 20th, 2013

48yo Rosemary from UK wasn't happy in her marriage. The relationship wasn't working out, they were sleeping in separate room, and Rosemary filed for divorce and was seeing her previous husband. Her current husband hired private investigators, installed various tracking devices, secretly followed her around the town, and finally texted her that he will agree to a divorce if she spends the night home one last time. He murdered her that night by repeatedly hitting her on the head with a dumbbell. Their 19yo daughter, who had been sleeping in the next door room, found her mom's body the next morning.

Rosemary's story was included in the BBC2 Documentary "Love You To Death" that features interviews with friends and relatives of 86 UK women killed by their romantic partners in 2013.

Posted by Manya on March 7th, 2016
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July 21st:
Gina Score
died on July 21st, 1999

14yo Gina from Dacota, USA, died after a forced run at a juvenile boot camp where she was sent for petty theft (she stole food). Gina had a heart condition and was overweight, so her mom was concerned that intense exercises in summer heat might be unsafe for her, but Gina's corrections officer told her girls gradually break into the running part of the program. Gina died of hyperthermia five days after arriving at the boot camp. Her parents plan to use the settlement to pay for psychiatric treatment for children released from the state's juvenile corrections system. Gina's mom said she wanted "to help them get back to a normal way of life away from the brainwashing, to readjust to society. We want to make sure this never happens to another child or another parent again." Gina's dad is planning to publish a book of his daughter's poetry. Here's one poem by Gina:

Tell me a wish and I'll grant it,
tell me what you see and I'll tell you what I know,
show me the moon and I'll show you the stars,
tell me a lie and I'll tell you goodbye.

Posted by Manya on June 16th, 2018
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July 22nd:
Charles Billis
died on July 22nd, 2009

57yo Mr Billis from Vermont, USA, was legally blind. He died in a car crash when his wife was driving and wearing a seat belt and he wasn't. It was ruled an accident at first, but she then bragged about murdering her husband on a dating website, repeatedly stating that the crash was deliberate and providing numerous details, stating that she did it because he was controlling. She was sentenced to 7-15 years.

Posted by Manya on June 16th, 2018
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July 23rd:
Laura Perez
died on July 23rd, 2014

25yo police officer Laura Perez was killed by her husband because he thought she was cheating on him. "She was a monster," he said in court. "She was detestable for what she did to me." He shot her and set their house on fire, so that their 5yo daughter wouldn't know what happened, according to him.

Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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July 24th:
Robert Manwill
died on July 24th, 2009

Robert was an 8yo boy from Idaho, USA, who was killed by his mom's boyfriend. It was a part of an overall pattern of domestic violence in the house. The boy was beaten for weeks, sometimes with wooden planks, the man "dropped a knee" on his chest, causing internal bleeding (the family referred to this form of "discipline" as "dead bugging"), and made to sit in a closet when DHS visited the house (so that DHS wouldn't see his bruises). On July 23rd the man broke the apartment wall with Robert's head. The next day Robert complained of headache and other pains, and had trouble keeping balance. Mom just went to work. When she found him dead, she and her boyfriend dropped Robert's body in an irrigation canal nearby and reported him missing.

Robert had a father and grandparents. They would have taken him if his mom called them. She said she didn't protect Robert from her violent boyfriend or ask for help because she was scared that both Robert and his younger brother would be taken from her, if DHS found out Robert was being abused. The jury convicted both her and her boyfriend of murder.

Posted by Manya on February 10th, 2016
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Riley Ann Sawyers
died on July 24th, 2007

Riley Ann was a 2yo girl from Ohio, USA, whose parents were teenagers. They stayed with Riley's grandma, her dad's mom, until he moved out, pressing domestic violence charges against Riley's mom. She moved out half a year later as well, and married another man, in Texas. That man believed in discipline and expected 2yo Riley to address adults as "Sir" and "M'am". When she failed to do so, the couple beat her with belts, threw her across the room, and held her head underwater in a bathtub. Just two months later Riley died during one such "discipline session" - she couldn't stand up when told to.

Riley is also known as "Baby Grace" because her mom and stepdad dumped her body in the ocean, and when fishermen found it and the police investigation began, her real name wasn't known yet.

Posted by Manya on March 18th, 2016
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July 25th:
Jonathan James
died on July 25th, 2011

Twin brothers Jonathan and Joseph from Texas, USA, were having a court-ordered visit with their father and stepmother. The boys' grandma described Jonathan as a friendly, cheerful child who never held a grudge. "Jonathan could forgive you no matter what you did," she said. "You could ground him and he would say, 'I love you, Mimi.'" Prior to the visit with his father, Jonathan asked grandma, "Can I come to your house instead? I know I'm going to be in trouble while I'm there because I always am." During the visit, the boy wet his bed, and was punished by not being allowed water or any other liquid for five days. He was forced to stand on a spot marked with an "X" on the kitchen floor, and hold a sack of potatoes over his head. The kitchen had no air conditioning. The stepmother explained the situation as follows, "He always said he was thirsty. He was in time out, and every two minutes he would say, ‘I need a drink…I need to go to the bathroom." His brother Joseph explained that Jonathan tried to get to the bathroom to drink water from the faucet. Jonathan died of dehydration.

Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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July 26th:
Manoj C Manu
died on July 26th, 2017

16yo Manoj from India hanged himself to complete The Blue Whale Challenge. It's a dare-based "game" that was invented by a 22yo Russian man to coerce teenagers to kill themselves because he felt they were "bio-waste" undeserving of life. Teenagers express interest in the challenge by posting certain hashtags on social media; they are then contacted by "curators" that assign them various tasks on the span of 50 days. These tasks usually involve sleep deprivation, self-injury, and providing the curator with sensitive information that they can use to blackmail the teenager to stay in the "game" (e.g. nude photos). The final "task" is to commit suicide.

Posted by Manya on June 16th, 2018
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