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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October 11th:
Shahena Uddin
died on October 11th, 2014

A vulnerable teenager who was killed by her own sister-in-law after years of abuse from her family wrote heartbreaking letters to her murderer begging for help and blaming herself for her treatment. Shahena Uddin, 19, was forced to lick the toilet seat and eat her own waste after being punished for 'offences' such as eating at the wrong speed. She was found dead in the bathroom of her home in Watford after being brutally beaten with fists and weapons - making a noise so loud that neighbours thought her family was 'tenderising meat'. In one letter, she drew a heart captioned 'before' and a broken heart with the word 'after', along with a string of self-hating messages. The teenager, spelling her name 'Shina', wrote: 'Shina is bad and does not deserve to live in this bad world. 'Shina RUINED everyone's life and happiness. I don't know how this all happened in a few hours. RUINED EVERYTHING. RUINED EVERYONE'S HAPPINESS. UPSET EVERYONE. WHY?' In another, addressing her sister-in-law Salma Begum as 'Afa', Shahena wrote: 'It hurts when you call me a cow and a rat-dog. I am suffering. I have no one to tell so please can you help me. Afa I will put my head in the toilet for you just to forgive me. Please Afa I really need you.'


Posted by Jane on June 29th, 2018
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Kelsey Smith-Briggs
died on October 11th, 2005

Kelsey was a 2yo girl from Oklahoma whose parents were divorced, and each accused the other of abusing Kelsey. The first report was filed in January, and she was moved by CPS four times in six months, from one side of the family to the other, till the judge said it's unknown who's abusing her and moved her back to her mom's home. The case was monitored by CPS, yet during this year Kelsey had a broken collarbone, two broken legs, damage to her pancreas, multiple bruises and marks, and she was hurt in a car accident and sexually abused. On October 11th Kelsey was in the care of her mom's boyfriend, and died of blunt force trauma to her abdomen.


Posted by Manya on February 14th, 2016
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October 12th:
Ryan Poston
died on October 12th, 2012

29yo Ryan was a young lawyer from Ohio, USA, who dated a Psychology student. He wanted to end the relationship and asked his dad for advice, saying "I don't know what to do to get her to leave." "I told him to make sure that he was kind to [her] and to be honest with her about what was going on," Ryan's dad said. "I told him to be direct, but to be kind." Ryan was killed the next night. The girlfriend claimed self-defense and battered wife syndrome, but the judge and the jury didn't buy it; she shot him six times in the face, laughed about it, and expressed no remorse. Her cellmate said she used the battered wife syndrome defense because she said she was too intelligent to plead insanity.


Posted by Manya on March 7th, 2016
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Amanda Todd
died on October 12th, 2012

Amanda was a 15yo girl from British Columbia (Canada) who committed suicide because she was bullied. When she was 12, a stranger online (33yo man was later arrested in Netherlands) started asking her to bare her breasts on webcam. She resisted for a year, and then did it. He then threatened to send the pic to her school friends unless she gives him a webcam "show". When she just turned 13, police told her the pic was circulating internet. For the next two years Amanda was bullied both online and in school, the family moved to a new home, Amanda changed two schools, but the story followed her. She started drinking and cutting, attempted suicide twice, was hospitalized and received counseling - but that made the bullying worse, now kids called her "psycho". On October 12th, Amanda attempted suicide for the third time, and died.

A month before her death, Amanda posted a video on Youtube titled My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm; she wrote "I'm struggling to stay in this world, because everything just touches me so deeply. I'm not doing this for attention. I'm doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong. I did things to myself to make pain go away, because I'd rather hurt myself then someone else. Haters are haters but please don't hate, although im sure I'll get them. I hope I can show you guys that everyone has a story, and everyones future will be bright one day, you just gotta pull through. I'm still here aren't I ?"


Posted by Manya on February 27th, 2016
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Fred McClure
died on October 12th, 2010

59yo Mr McClure from Pennsylvania, USA, worked as a maintenance supervisor and had four children and five grandchildren. He was killed by his girlfriend who shot him 8 times and told the police she mistook him for an intruder. It was daylight, neighbors saw them coming home together a few hours earlier, and some of the shots were fired while she was standing over him as he was laying on the floor. The woman was convicted of murder and sentenced to life.


Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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October 13th:
Brendan Creato
died on October 13th, 2015

In October 2015, Brendan's father called 911 stating his son had wandered away from his home in Camden County. His body was discovered later that day in an area of woodland around a mile from his home. A medical examiner stated the boy died from "homicidal violence" but was not able to determine the exact cause. Prosecutors said his father killed Brendan, because his 17-year-old girlfriend did not want to be around his child and wanted his father to give up custody.


Posted by Jane on July 21st, 2018
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Sean McIlmail
died on October 13th, 2013

Sean was a 26yo man from Pennsylvania, USA, who was abused by a Catholic priest as a teenager. He kept it secret and escaped into drugs, until more victims started to come forward but the police couldn't press charges because statutes of limitations have ran out. Sean came forward and reported his story to protect children (particularly his nephews) from being abused by the same priest that abused Sean. He was clean and sober for 6 month (the lawyer wouldn't take the case otherwise), and was preparing to testify, but days before that he died of heroin overdose. "The drug piece is unbelievably common," says David Clohessy, national director of SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests). "The indirect disclosures are surprisingly common. The law enforcement involvement is painfully rare."

"I'm not mad at [the priest who raped Sean], because I think he's sick," said Sean's mother. "I'm angry at the church for letting him serve so long and covering it up." She also said of the Pope Francis' upcoming visit, "He's coming to Philadelphia, which is so bad with priest abuse. He's seeing the poor, the immigrants, the prisoners, all of which wasn't the church's fault. But it is the church's fault that we have this segment of the population that's drug-addicted and has all these mental health problems."


Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2016
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October 14th:
Yolanda And Theo Molemohi
died on October 14th, 2009

Mom and dad of 2yo Theo and 4yo Yolanda from Manchester, UK, had been separated for about a year due to domestic violence. Mom was staying at a hotel, but returned daily to get Yolande ready to school and to babysit Theo while her ex-husband was at work. On the morning of October 14th nobody opened the door for her, so she let herself in through the window, and found both children strangled with internet cables, her ex husband unconscious, suicide notes around the house, and a video tape titled "The End" left in a prominent place, for her to see. On it were Theo and Yolanda, waiving to the camera and saying "Goodbye mummy". A note was attached to the computer screen, saying "use the internet as much as you like," referencing the fact that she was using dating websites (which she didn't hide). The ex-husband recovered from his suicide attempt and was jailed for 28 years. "You have shown not an ounce of remorse in this court," said the judge. "Your pity has been exclusively reserved for yourself."

Their mom said, "I am their mother, I brought them into the world with the unspoken promise that I would always protect them and at the time they needed that the most I could not be there. (...) I take pride in knowing that they were polite, caring, happy babies. I will always remain proud to be their mother. Their lives were short but they lived it to their full potential. I love them very much and they will always be a beautiful part of me."


Posted by Manya on October 14th, 2017
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October 15th:
Andrew Joseph Wagner
died on October 15th, 2012

3-month-old Andrew from Michigan, USA, was killed by his father. Andrew wouldn't stop crying, and the man punched him in the head, causing Andrew's death. He was arrested after a 3-hour standoff with the police, but eventually pleaded guilty to murder. "This is a good resolution for all parties involved," said his lawyer. "He accepted responsibility and there was no history of abuse to the child."


Posted by Manya on June 17th, 2018
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October 16th:
Maria Ladenburger
died on October 16th, 2016

19yo Maria, medical student from Germany, was riding her bike at 2:40AM on October 16th, returning home from a party hosted by her university medical faculty. She was raped, choked, and drowned in a river. The rapist had entered Germany a year prior as a refugee, claiming to be an underage minor from Afghanistan, and was granted asylum and placed with a foster family. However, it turned out that in reality he was a 25yo man from Iran, who had a prior record of rape (in Iran) and robbery and attempted murder (in Greece). This created discussion about possible failures in European systems to exchange information about refugees, migrants, and any criminal records they have.


Posted by Manya on June 25th, 2018
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Mark Mellor
died on October 16th, 2016

Mark Mellor, 31, was stabbed in the chest during a struggle involving a hunting knife while the couple was camping. He died later at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal. Sarah Mellor, 30, drove him to the hospital with other family members and was later questioned and then arrested.


Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
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October 17th:
LeRoy Henry Beals
died on October 17th, 2010

LeRoy Henry Beals, who turned 1 year old earlier this month, died Wednesday at the Toledo Children's Hospital. LeRoy, who lived in Hudson with his mother, Erin Graham, went to the Toledo hospital Monday night with injuries and died Wednesday evening. LeRoy had "a joyful smile, loved to eat carrots, play peek-a-boo, and listen to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," according to an obituary published last week. Timothy Martin his mother's boyfriend who had been living in the house for about a month and a half has been arraigned for first-degree child abuse.


Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
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October 18th:
Janiya Thomas
died on October 18th, 2015

Janiya was an 11yo girl from Florida, who nobody noticed was missing. 16 months after she was seen last, CPS came to investigate the 12th child abuse allegation against her mom, Keishanna Thomas, and one of the children said they haven't seen Janiya in a long time and thought she was dead. Police was alerted on October 16th, and two days later, seeing news reports in the media about the missing child, Janiya's great aunt remembered that last year Keishanna asked to store food in their freezer. The great aunt broke the lock on the freezer, and found the girl's body in it. Autopsy showed that Janiya was starved, beaten, and drowned. "I still see the color that she was in the freezer, the color and the size. I can't get that picture out of my head," the great aunt said.

Janiya's family held a funeral service at a local church. The preacher told those gathered, "Oh you thought you was coming here and I was going to talk about Keishanna. No, I love Keishanna. I'm going to pray for her. I'm going to pray for this family. I'm going to be here for this family. This is what this community is all about." "We don't need no gossip," he added. "We don't need to know why or how." A poem was read in honor of Janiya during the service:

If tears could build a stairway, and memories a lane.
I would walk right up to Heaven and bring you back again.
No farewell words were spoken, No time to say goodbye.
You were gone before I knew it, and only God knows why.


Posted by Manya on February 27th, 2016
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October 19th:
John Ruffolo
died on October 19th, 2003

36yo Mr Ruffolo from Canada worked at a home for residents with developmental disabilities, coached hockey, and worked as a lifeguard. He was having an affair with a coworker, was planning a divorce, and his wife didn't want to split their rental properties. She gave him some sleeping meds, then injected him with a lethal dose of heroin (to make it look like he was a drug addict), and got a friend to help her dump his body in a remote area. They had a 4yo daughter.


Posted by Manya on July 18th, 2016
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October 20th:
Susan Petric
died on October 20th, 2007

43yo Mrs Petric from Ohio, USA, worked in healthcare and, together with her husband of 23 years, was actively involved in church. On October 20th their 16yo son came up behind them as they were sitting on the couch and said, "Would you guys close your eyes? I have a surprise for you." When they did, expecting a pleasant surprise, he shot them both, in retaliation for taking away his video game. He then tried to stage it as a suicide and drove off with his video game. Mrs Petric died on scene, her husband survived, their son was sentenced to life in prison.


Posted by Manya on June 16th, 2018
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