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 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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October 21st:
Yana and Anatoli Kolenda
died on October 21st, 2002

On October 20, 2002, Yana and Toli Kolenda, more than five years after their adoption, and their adoptive mother Gienia, were murdered by their depressed out-of-work adoptive father Richard Kolenda who then committed. suicide.

Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
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October 22nd:
Sherin Mathews
died on October 22nd, 2017

The owner of a now-closed orphanage in India where a young girl was living before a Texas couple adopted her last year says the child had no difficulty eating despite her adoptive father's account to police when reporting her missing. The body of 3-year-old Sherin Mathews was found on Sunday in suburban Dallas in a culvert under a road about a half-mile from her parents' home. Police and volunteers had been searching for the girl since 7 October. Investigators have said that her father, Wesley Mathews, initially told them he had sent the girl outside at 3 am on 7 October to stand near a tree across the alley from the family's fence because she refused to drink her milk. He said he went to check on her after about 15 minutes. Mathews told police the girl had been malnourished when she was adopted and needed to eat whenever she was awake to help her gain weight.

Posted by Jane on June 16th, 2018
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Lama Al Ghamdi
died on October 22nd, 2012

5yo Lama from Saudi Arabia was tortured to death by her father, a TV preacher, because he had doubts about her virginity. Lama's mom insisted that Lama was never molested by anyone, but her father felt she was "too flirty" for an innocent child. Lama suffered extensive injuries including broken ribs, a crushed skull, bruising and burns. She spend 8 months unconscious in hospital, before passing away. Her father was initially charged with rape and manslaughter and sentenced to 600 lashes and 8 years in prison, but was released a few months later because his semen was not found on Lama's body and his charges were reduced to "excessive disciplining that resulted in death."

Posted by Manya on June 16th, 2018
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