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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September 27th:
Uta von Schwedler
died on September 27th, 2011

Uta von Schwedler, 49yo mother of four and an HIV researcher at the University of Utah, USA, was "a renowned scientist, loving mother, beloved friend, nature enthusiast, environmentalist, biker, hiker, swimmer, camper, sister, daughter, girlfriend, and so much more," according to her family and friends. Initially Uta's death was ruled a suicide, but after more investigation and a lengthy trial, her ex husband, a pediatrician, was convicted of murder. They were having a custody battle over their four children.

Uta often took the kids hiking at Salt Lake City mountains, here's her son's words about it: "September 25th, 2011, was one of the last days of my mom's life. We were up there camping. We loved to get out in the outdoors. My mom was always pushing when we were young, taking us out on hikes. It was a beautiful day, I think the leaves may have been changing, just gorgeous. We have a picture with all of us, you know, the whole group all together. I definitely feel that that is a special place. You know, that's one of the last places I was with her. It's beautiful. And, so, I do feel that there's some sort of, like, special connection up there on the peak."

Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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September 28th:
Kelly Yeomans
died on September 28th, 1997

13yo Kelly was an unpopular kid who wore glasses, was overweight, sang in Salvation Army choir, and liked to help out seniors. She was bullied till she committed suicide. At first it was name-calling in school, then they started beating her and broke her glasses, and then a group of 15 or so teenagers came to her house at night, yelling at her and her mom, "Get back in there you bastards. We're going to get you," when they looked out of the windows, and trowing stones inside. Kelly's dad called the police, but they only arrived two hours later, when the teens were gone. They came back the next night though, and the night after next, yelling insults, throwing stones into the windows, and on one occasion throwing in cake ingredients: eggs, flour, and slabs of butter. Kelly said she couldn't go on, reassured her mom, dad, and older sister that it wasn't their fault, and took a lethal dose of mom's painkillers.

If you click on Kelly's name above, you can read what her 16yo sister wrote about what happened. She says, "when our family was being tormented, no one cared much. (...) Everyone cares now and wants to help. Pity it's too late."

Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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September 29th:
Alexis Church
died on September 29th, 2015

6yo Alexis from Missouri, USA, used to have occasional girls night outs with her grandma, Mrs Church, where they'd check in a hotel for a night, spending quality time together. Alexis had some emotional issues and Mrs Church was under a lot of stress as well. One of her sons died of a drug overdose five years ago. Her 81yo mom, who had Alzheimer's and lived in a nursing home, was about to move back home, with Mrs Church as caretaker. Alexis was also in Mrs Church's custody. When Mrs Church left to pick up Alexis from school, her mom would slip out of the house and wander the neighborhood. Mrs Church sought help for depression, but the treatment was inconsistent. "I feel bad for Colleen. She's been handed more than a person can handle," Alexi's other grandma said.

Alexis was killed in a murder-suicide during one of the girls night outs with her grandma. They checked into a hotel and grandma shot Alexis in the head and then shot herself. Lt. David Wilson of the local police department said, "The mental health issues are obviously the cause for this, but did she just feel she's the only caretaker for the child and if she's going to take her own life, who's going to take care of the child?"

Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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September 30th:
Evan Hayden Watkin
died on September 30th, 2011

4yo Evan from Florida, USA, lived with his mom who sometimes asked her boyfriend to babysit her son. The boyfriend felt she didn't discipline Evan enough; that made him frustrated since she didn't let him discipline the boy either, so he used to beat him up when they were alone in the house. One day Evan got sick, he had fever and was vomiting. They took him to daycare and gave him some meds for the fever, but it didn't go down, so the next morning Evan's mom called an ambulance for him. Evan died in a hospital an hour later; he had a torn mesentery (a thing that holds your internal organs together), result of blunt force trauma to the abdomen.

Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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October 1st:
April Jones
died on October 1st, 2012

5yo April from Wales, UK, was abducted and murdered by a neighbor while she was riding her bike outside her home. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without a possibility of parole, because April's blood and bone fragments were found at his cottage. April's body was never found, even though her disappearance prompted the largest missing person search in UK police history. Two years after the trial, Welsh government purchased the cottage where April was murdered and demolished it. Here's what April's mom said:

I want to know the truth no matter how horrific it is. I'm April's mum and I owe it to her to find out. (...)I admit I've been suicidal. What mum could cope with the thoughts I have inside my head? But when I think of April's last moments the picture in my head is so awful that I can't imagine he could say anything that could possibly be worse. We know April died a horrific death but I suppose I'm just hoping that it wasn't as horrific as I've imagined at my lowest points. (...)I didn't eat or sleep properly for weeks. I was at rock bottom and having suicidal thoughts. What I have doesn't feel like a life. I didn't try anything but the only thing that stopped me was my two other children. They've lost their sister. They can't lose their mum too.

On her birthday we'll lay some flowers on her grave but we won't celebrate. What's the point? There's no April to celebrate with. It would be easy to try to imagine what she would be like now. Would she look like her older sister, would she try to steal her make-up? We don't go there because things are hard enough. In my mind she'll never be nine or ten. She'll always be five.

Posted by Manya on October 2nd, 2016
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my father
died on October 1st, 2011

Dad im glad i got to know you before you passed away all is forgiven i love you with all my heart and soul

Posted by oneagleswings on April 16th, 2012
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October 2nd:
Rokstan M
died on October 2nd, 2015

20yo Rokstan from Syria was gang raped. She said, "I was taken by three men. Ever since that time my family have regarded me as unclean. My mother and my brothers mistreat me. They say that I deserve to die." Rokstan fled to Germany because she feared for her life. She lived in a house for single women and worked as a translator for immigrants seeking asylum. She was murdered and buried in a shallow grave a few days after she returned to her family. Rokstan's social media profile said "I am awaiting death. But I am too young to die."

Posted by Manya on October 2nd, 2016
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October 3rd:
Danny Chen
died on October 3rd, 2011

19yo Danny from Chinaton, NYC, was a US soldier bullied to death by his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan. He was the youngest, it was his first deployment, and he was the only Asian-American in his platoon. "People here are leaving left and right now, everyone is getting stress fractures and broken legs," he wrote. "All of the weaker people have either left or gone home for 30 days to heal. Now I'm the weakest one left." They called him "gook," "chink," "dragon lady." They forced him to do sprints while carrying a sandbag. They ordered him to crawl along gravel-covered ground while they flung rocks at him. And one day, when his unit was assembling a tent, he was forced to wear a green hard-hat and shout out instructions to his fellow soldiers in Chinese. After he was thrown rocks at, another soldier asked Danny if he was OK. Danny replied, "No sweat," and then shot himself.

Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2016
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October 4th:
Swathi Tirumalagiri
died on October 4th, 2017

Swathi Tirumalagiri a native of Hanamakonda in Telangana, was found dead in London. Following the death, her parents and relatives accused her husband Sripathi Rajesh, a techie, and her in-laws S Srinivas and Vijaya of murdering her. Her relatives said that Swathi and Rajesh married on November 4, 2016, and alleged that Rajesh was given as dowry during the time of wedding. Once married the couple moved to London for employment. Speaking to media Swathi's parents claimed that their daughter would call and complain that she was being harassed every day, as her in-laws were demanding additional dowry. The family also said that Swathi spoke to her parents on October 2, and said that she wanted to return home from London. However, just two days later Swathi's husband called and said that she had fallen into the sea, and that she was admitted in the hospital before later ringing and say she was dead.

Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
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October 5th:
Sonia Santiesteban
died on October 5th, 2013

Sonia Santiesteban, 66, a loving grandmother raising her three grandchildren was murdered, police said, by her own daughter. “I went down there for the safety of the kids,” said a neighbor “When I entered there it was awful, the scene was awful that’s all I can say about, it was horrible and it was sad because the kids were still in there the killer was in there also,” Miami-Dade Police said the killer was Yudenia Rodriguez, 40, who stabbed her mother to death after the two got into an argument.

Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
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October 6th:
Edna Trinity Mazzell Hunt
died on October 6th, 2011

On the night of Oct. 6, 2011, 3 year old Edna was taken to the emergency room at Marlboro Park Hospital. She was lifeless and not breathing. She was pronounced dead soon after. “In Edna Hunt, what I found was that she had a massive infection that started as a urinary tract infection,” Dr. Cynthia Schandl, a pathologist at the Medical University of South Carolina, testified. “The bacteria climbed up the urethra, then to bladder and kidneys. The kidneys were full of bacterial infection. What happened to Edna, as a result of this infection, she ended up with a blood infection and from that, she died.” Schandl said although trauma was not the official cause of death, the autopsy showed signs of severe and habitual abuse. “I immediately saw that she had a number of injuries to her body, seven or eight to the head and neck area, bruising to the inner legs and vagina, small round burns in her skin"...Edna also had bruising to her inner thighs, a prominent sign of sexual abuse, and even had cigarette burns to her vagina and buttocks – one about a centimeter inside the vagina that had been inflicted within 48 hours of her death.

Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
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