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 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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October 23rd:
Priscilla Shelton Huffman
died on October 23rd, 2006

Priscilla Huffman 29 was killed On October 23rd 2006. Reportedly she made contact with the children’s school on Monday. Later the same day, a relative brought the Huffman’s children home from school. When no one responded to knocks on the door, the relative called police and they responded to the address again about 4:30 pm. Police made entry to the home and found Pricilla's husband dead in the garage and Priscilla in the bedroom. Police have said that Priscilla’s throat had been slashed and she had also been stabbed in the chest. They believe there was a dispute and that her husband stabbed Priscilla then went to the garage where he stabbed himself in the chest. Allegedly Priscilla may have wanted a divorce. Her partially packed bags were found on the bed.


Posted by Jane on July 6th, 2018
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October 24th:
Natalie Finn
died on October 24th, 2016

Natalie Finn, the West Des Moines teenager who starved to death in October, was wearing an adult diaper and lying on the linoleum floor of her bare bedroom when police and medics discovered her, according to newly unsealed court documents. The 16-year-old "appeared to have been laying on the floor ... in her own waste for some time," West Des Moines police Det. Chris Morgan wrote in an affidavit. She died a short time later at a hospital. The home reeked of both human and animal waste. Blankets that were "heavily soaked" in what officers believed was urine covered the floor of the room Natalie shared with two of her siblings, according to the documents. The room had no beds or furniture. "Many animals roamed freely, including well over a dozen kittens and cats," Morgan wrote. "There were numerous kennels with dogs scattered inside the residence." Dr. Francis Garrity, a forensic pathologist, testified that Natalie had little soft tissue, muscle or fat when she died. The 16-year-old weighed just 81 pounds at the time of her autopsy. Normal weight for a girl her height and age would have been 125 pounds, Garrity said. “She was in the fatal area, the lethal area,” he told the jury. Defense attorney Jennifer Larson suggested to Garrity that Natalie could have starved herself or had anorexia. But Garrity said he was given no information that suggested Natalie had tell-tale medical signs of anorexia.He also said he felt he had sufficient information to come to a cause of death. When asked how Natalie had died he answered “Likely as the result of cardiac arrest” from the starvation.


Posted by Jane on June 19th, 2018
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October 25th:
Ramis Jonuzi
died on October 25th, 2017

Ramis Jonuzi was in the process of leaving the Brighton East residence when he was attacked by three men. One was accused of sexually assaulting 33-year-old Jonuzi with an object. All three are charged with his murder. "He was definitely experiencing some problems, and he just needed a cheap and stable place to live," a pal of Jonuzi's told a reporter - he was paying $30 a night to stay in the home. While he met the suspects through Airbnb, he "did not hang out with these people," a friend said. Some online reviewers called the house where he stayed unsafe. Friends were unsure why Jonuzi was attacked, but tributes poured out for him on Facebook. "Rest in peace to one of the most genuine, loving guys I ever met," one person wrote.


Posted by Jane on July 8th, 2018
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Gabrielle Stanley
died on October 25th, 2015

28yo Gabrielle from UK had a boyfriend whom she kept trying to leave but kept coming back to. On October 25th she tried to leave him again, and he stabbed her to death and hanged himself. Gabrielle'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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