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 22nd:
Alexis Arensman
died on February 22nd, 2015

Alexis from Indiana, USA, was born while her mom was pending trial for battering Alexis' older sister (the three-months-old received four broken ribs and a broken leg). When Alexis was 16 months old, both girls were removed by CPS because their mom (while still pending trial) put Alexis in the care of someone with a known history of sexually assaulting a child. 18 months later mom finished doing her time for battery of Alexis' sister and regained custody of both girls. A year later CPS received multiple reports about child abuse suspicions because Alexis had a lot of bruises. Those reports were deemed "unsubstantiated" because mom said Alexis had hurt herself, and Alexis wouldn't answer when asked how did she receive the bruises. And three months later Alexis was found dead (battered child syndrome, 17 separate injuries), and her sister seriously injured. Mom and dad pleaded guilty to neglect and were sentenced to 32 and 35 years respectively.

Posted by Manya on May 5th, 2019
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Leota (Toni Lea) Antonnette Cheney
died on February 22nd, 2011

Toni Lea Cheney, 45 was brutally beaten and killed by her Ex-Boyfriend

Posted by Jane on July 6th, 2018
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Rosa Elena Carranza-Morales and Dayna Sofia Elamrani-Carranza
died on February 22nd, 2007

While attending an apartment fire firefighters discovered the bodies of Rosa Elena Carranza-Morales, 26, and Dayna Sofia Elamrani-Carranza, 11 months, her baby daughter in the apartment. The next day they discovered the body of her husband in a closet. He had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wounds and smoke inhalation. Rosa had taken out a restraining order against her husband a week or so before the fire, and had reported that he had a history of beating her and that she feared he would kill her.

Posted by Jane on July 7th, 2018
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February 23rd:
Patrick McSorley
died on February 23rd, 2004

Mc Sorley was sexually abused by clergy at the age of 12. When a priest stopped by his family's home to offer condolences on the death of his father. McSorley said the priest took him out for ice cream and then molested him. His lawsuit was among the first of hundreds eventually filed against the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. Alexa MacPherson a friend of McSorley's said he abused drugs and alcohol and had been in and out of rehabilitation centers trying to break the habit. "The memories of what had happened to him -- he had to battle continuously" she said. "He would do almost anything to escape the pain." "From a very young age he had a lot of pitfalls thrown at him. I think the church stuff is what threw him over the edge" she said. "It really put him in a place that he just couldn't come back from."

Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
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February 24th:
Deborah Lohoski
died on February 24th, 2014

For the past four years, Deborah Lohoski, 59, had cared for her young granddaughter and tried to help her troubled son as he struggled with alcohol addiction. But her efforts ended violently Monday afternoon, when Matthew Lohoski, 33, killed her in the family's back yard. Clearwater police gave this account of Deborah Lohoski's slaying: While his 7-year-old daughter played a video game inside the home, Lohoski put his mother in a choke hold until she lost consciousness. Moments later Lohoski returned to the back yard, she was still breathing. With a pocket-style box cutter knife, Lohoski slashed his mother's throat...but she still clung to life. Lohoski tried to choke his mother again. In a final attempt to end his mother's life, Lohoski grabbed a sledgehammer and struck his mother's head at least three times, killing her, police said. Then Lohoski dropped his daughter off at a friend's house and turned himself in at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office where detectives interviewed him and arrested him on a first-degree murder charge.

Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
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February 25th:
Victoria Climbie
died on February 25th, 2000

In November of 1998 6yo Victoria from Ivory Coast came to France to stay with her aunt (whom she never met before), so that the aunt would get social security benefits, and Victoria would get an education. Things didn't work out with social security in France, and next April they moved to UK. Victoria was abused and neglected, and numerous people saw that, but she never got the help she needed. For example, workers at social security offices (which the aunt frequently visited to apply for benefits) said that Victoria "looked like a child from an ActionAid advertisement", but they assumed it was an attempt to "persuade the authorities to hand out money." Doctors at the hospitals Victoria was taken to for her injuries reported the problem to CPS, but the aunt said Victoria had scabies, and CPS cancelled the follow. In August a social worker spoke with Victoria on four separate occasions for a total of less than 30 minutes (so about seven and a half minutes each time). This social worker visited their flat three more times between December and January, but received no answer and assumed they must have moved back to France. In February CPS wrote to the aunt saying that if she doesn't respond, they'll close the case. A week later they closed the case; it was February 25th, the same day that Victoria died.

8yo Victoria was forced to sleep in a bathtub in her own excrements, had been burnt with cigarettes, tied up for periods of longer than 24 hours, and hit with bike chains, hammers and wires. She died of hypothermia, multiple organ failure, and malnutrition, and had 128 separate injuries and scars on her body at the time of death. During her life in Britain, Victoria was known to four social services departments, three housing departments, two child protection police teams, two hospitals, an NSPCC centre, and a few local churches. Her death led to a public inquiry and produced major changes in child protection policies in the United Kingdom.

Posted by Manya on March 18th, 2016
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died on February 25th, 2009

Your suicide left us with so much hurt and pain. I hope you can forgive me for starting it all. RIP my brother. I love you now and for always.

Posted by Mickie2012 on August 17th, 2012
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February 26th:
Ash Haffner
died on February 26th, 2015

16yo Ash from North Carolina, USA, struggled figuring out their sexual orientation and gender identity, and committed suicide because of school bullying. "if i die, i don't want to be remembered as the sad person i was ok. i don't want to be remembered as the faggot gay girl with all the scars on her arm. unfortunately thats who i am to alot of people. if those people would have just stayed silent and kept their ignorant thoughts in their heads then maybe i wouldn't have those scars on my arm. maybe. it wasn't always about what they had in their heads, it was what was inside of mine too. i just didn't understand why i felt the way i did when i had a decent life."

Posted by Manya on March 11th, 2017
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Johnny Blu
died on February 26th, 2022

My son was killed senselessly by someone struggling with drug addiction. My son died due to a drug overdose on Fentanyl. He was only one years old. I was in a bad domestic situation with my son's father that ultimately got me and my 2 kids evicted with no where to go. There were no emergancy services to help me at the moment. I ultimately found myself staying with friends, hotels and even people I just barely met. People that I had no idea would choose their addiction over the life of my innocent beautiful son. His death could have been prevented. I needed help. I reached out. I called 211 911 there was no one. Johnny was so precious to me and my only son. I wanted him so much! Despite my horrible relationship I was determined to get away and give my kids the best life that I could. I grew up around domestic violence and never seen a healthy relationship with a man. I wanted to raise my son healthy and good and a protector of women. A good man. A man of God. I felt I was finally going to have that man in my family. He was precious!!! You could tell just by looking at him how calm and sweet he was. Truly God sent. The pain, the grief is unbearable. The injustice of how I couldn't find the help when I needed it. How unexpected and unfair. I was Robbed! All I can do is scream and cry out. I WANT MY SON!!! JOHNNY BLU I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. I MISS YOU WITH EVERY PAINFUL BREATH.

Posted by Trisha Willard on June 16th, 2022
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February 27th:
Jessica Lunsford
died on February 27th, 2005

Jessica was a 9yo girl from Florida, USA, who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a neighbor. At 3AM he entered her home (the door wasn't locked), went into her bedroom, woke her up, told her "Don't yell or nothing,", and took her to his trailer about 100 yards away. There he raped her multiple times, and then locked her in the closet when he left for work in the morning. Three days later he told her to climb into two garbage bags because he was going to "take her home". Instead, he buried her alive. He confessed, then recanted, but was found guilty of all charges related to Jessica's death, and died on death row, maintaining his innocence.

Jessica's dad pushed for a new legislation, Jessica's Law, which now requires sex offenders in Florida, who violated children under 12yo, to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison, and to wear tracking devices for life.

Posted by Manya on February 4th, 2016
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February 28th:
Tara Costigan
died on February 28th, 2015

Just one week after giving birth to her third child Australian Tara's ex forced his way into her house and axed her to death while inflicting grievous bodily harm on a second woman, and seriously assaulting another man who were present in the home. The Canberra Times reports that Tara had sought court protection from her ex-partner a day before she was violently killed. The interim domestic violence order was granted by the magistrate, but it is unclear whether her murderer was served with the order by police.

Posted by Jane on July 21st, 2018
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Eric Dean
died on February 28th, 2013

Eric died Feb. 28, 2013. Amanda Peltier was caring for him at her Starbuck home in February 2013 when she allegedly became upset with the boy and launched him across a room. Eric reportedly fell ill that night and into the next day before an ambulance was called to the home late Feb. 27. The boy was airlifted to St. Cloud Hospital, where he died early the next morning. Throughout the trial, testimony and evidence revealed a pattern of physical abuse the boy suffered. Medical Examiner Michael McGee testified that based on the injuries he saw during the child’s autopsy, he believed Eric was an abused child and the manner of death was homicide. District Judge Gerald Seibel handed down a life sentence to Peltier

Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
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March 1st:
Elijah Dillard
died on March 1st, 2014

6yo Elijah from Michigan, USA, was killed by his father. The man beat Elijah on his head and punched him in the stomach for two days, till Elijah passed out. Neither the man nor the mother of the child called 911 because the man believed Elijah was faking it so that CPS would come and remove him and his siblings from the house. Instead, he took the boy to shower (post mortem examination revealed burns), and when that didn't help, the mother (who was about to get certified as a medical assistant) wrapped him in blankets and took him to the bedroom. Elijah died three days later of internal bleeding and brain hemorrhage.

Posted by Manya on March 27th, 2016
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Rowena Sharpe
died on March 1st, 2012

She was murdered by her husband, whom she had escaped from. She was living elsewhere, with her children, trying to rebuild her life. One day, her husband appeared and killed her, then himself. The children fled to their neighbour's house. Reading about this story in my local newspaper affected me very deeply, and my heart still goes out to the people of her community.

Posted by Red on August 13th, 2012
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Amina Filali
died on March 1st, 2012

16-year-old Amina committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist. After submitting to the marriage, Amina confided to her mother that she was subjected to violent beatings from her husband; her mom simply asked her to be more patient. As a final resort to escape her violent marriage, Amina injested rat poison and ended her life.

Posted by Lala on August 11th, 2012
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Delcelia Witika
died on March 1st, 1991

Authorities were first alerted to this case by a phone call on the night of 21 March 1991 from Tania Witika, Delcelia's mother. Witika made a call from a local video store to report in a matter-of-fact way that she had just arrived home after "a couple of hours" absence to find her two-year-old daughter dead.

When police arrived, Tania Witika sat outside in a patrol car with Detective Constable Caroline Fisher who says she's never forgotten the coolness and lack of emotion shown by the mother, who casually asked her for a cigarette.

Witika first met Eddie Smith in a South Auckland bar in June 1989. Within two weeks of meeting, Smith had already started to 'knock' Tania Witika around.

Tania kept a detailed diary, which often mentioned Smith belting her, but it also extensively mentioned an enjoyable life with him...Her diary also spoke of her own violence against her daughter. Initially she told police that she alone was responsible for beating Delcelia. Smith blamed Witika also. When Witika found out that Delcelia's injuries included massive sexual abuse, she changed her story claiming Smith was responsible for the major injuries.

The police photographs of the Delcelia's squalid bedroom and her tiny, tortured body remain to this day among the most harrowing, gut-wrenching evidence ever presented to a jury in a child abuse case in this country.

...photographs of the crime scene showed that Delcelia's body was used as a punching bag from one end of the house to the other. Her blood was splattered on walls and carpets. There was a large pool of blood on the sheet less, blanket less mattress she slept on. Vomit had dripped down the skirting board where the little child was sick during her final night alive. Burns aside, some close-up photos of Delcelia's neck showed vicious injuries caused by long fingernails. Photos of the inside of her mouth showed where teeth have been smashed out and the inside of her top lip ripped from the gum. Other photos showed scarring to her head where her hair has been violently pulled over several months.

During the trial Witika claimed she had gone partying with Smith while Delcelia was dying because Smith had threatened to 'waste her' with a steel bar if she didn't go and had also put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her on the way there. But barrister Christopher Harder, representing Smith, was given a home video of that party which crown prosecutor Mike Ruffin screened in court the morning final addresses were made to the jury.

The video showed Witika happy, smiling and enjoying herself with Smith. It would have been influential to any juror. Witika and Smith were both found guilty of manslaughter and the other counts of neglect and ill treatment.

Both were sentenced to 16-year prison terms.

Posted by Jane on March 20th, 2015
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died on March 1st, 2012

Suicide is never the answer, but it's too late to say that. I just hope that you are happier now and the pain is gone. Rest in peace. Sweet 16 forever

Posted by Laura (busymom) on April 8th, 2012
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March 2nd:
Nicholaus Contreraz
died on March 2nd, 1998

Nicolaus (16yo) died of abuse and medical neglect at Arizona Boys Ranch bootcamp, where he was sent for shoplifting.

He had asthma, and was complaining of nausea, diarrhea, and chest pain. The staff believed he was faking it, so they restricted his use of inhalers and were making him do physical exercises till he fainted, punched him, shoved him against walls, and denied him the right to use the bathroom. Eventually he became unable to control his bladder and bowels, and vomited frequently. As a result, they made him sleep in the bathroom in his soiled clothes, and carry around a bucket with his waste (over which he was forced to do pushups).

Quote from Wikipedia:
On March 2, the day he died, he had collapsed repeatedly. He was told he "deserved an Academy Award", thrown to the ground, forced to do pushups, and bounced off a wall. Another boy was ordered to push him around in a wheelbarrow while Contreraz was ordered to mimic the sound of an ambulance siren. He continued to be accused by staff of faking his condition. At around 5:30 pm, he collapsed for the last time. According to witnesses later interviewed by Arizona Child Protective Services, after his final collapse and inability to move, he was ordered by staff to get up, to which he simply replied "No", which was his last spoken word. He was pronounced dead two hours later.

Nicolaus had a collapsed lung, massive lung infection from inhaling vomit, two and a half quarts of puss caused by staphylococcus (from doing pushups over raw waste), blood in his stomach, and 71 cuts and bruises. Cause of death was cardiac arrest.

The day before he died, he was heard saying "Lord, help me, I need help, I need help..."

Posted by Manya on March 17th, 2015
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Lee William Mirecki
died on March 2nd, 1988

Lee William Mirecki was a 19-year-old United States Navy Airman Recruit who was killed during a military training exercise on March 2, 1988. His death became a focus point for those campaigning against bullying in military training regimes. Following on his death a number of policies and guidelines within the Navy's training programs were changed. He is named in the documentation supporting these changes.

Posted by Jane on July 25th, 2018
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March 3rd:
Daniel Pelka
died on March 3rd, 2012

Daniel was a 4yo boy from UK, abused and murdered by his mom and her boyfriend. They starved the child, beat him, locked him in a room, force-fed him salt, and put his head underwater in the bath. Both the mother and the boyfriend were convicted of murder; the mother hung herself the day before his 8th birthday; the boyfriend died in prison as well.

Posted by Manya on January 3rd, 2016
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