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 2nd:
Naiya Villegas
died on September 2nd, 2014

5yo Gigi from Texas, USA, loved Disney movies, especially Frozen and Brave, coloring, playing guitar and singing, cooking with mom, and going to church with her grandparents. Gigi's mom had an abusive boyfriend. He assaulted her while on probation for an unrelated crime, but the judge released him again, prohibiting him all contact with Gigi's mom. Six days later, at 3AM, the man broke into Gigi's home. Her mom ran outside for help. When she returned, she found 5yo Gigi with a slit throat, and the man trying to cover the wound with paper towels.


Posted by Manya on July 18th, 2016
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Dominick Andujar
died on September 2nd, 2012

6yo Dominick from New Jersey, USA, died protecting his sister from a rapist who broke into their home the night before her 12th birthday. The man was convicted and sentenced to 110 years in prison for murder, attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault, burglary and terrorist threats. "There is no sentence or punishment harsh enough for this amoral individual," said the chief of police Scott Thompson. "The name that people should remember is that of Dominick Andujar, the 6-year-old murder victim who saved his 12-year-old sister's life through one of the most heroic acts of self-sacrifice that I have ever known."


Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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September 3rd:
Ally Steinfeld
died on September 3rd, 2017

Ally Steinfeld, 17, was a trans female who said in May on her Instagram account that she was coming out. Less than five months later, she was gruesomely killed at her girlfriend’s house. The girlfriend, who is among three charged with first-degree murder and other crimes, wanted her dead, according to interviews conducted by Texas County Sheriff’s investigators. Briana Calderas, 24, began dating Steinfeld about a week before her death, according to Amber Steinfeld, the slain girl’s mother. “She was excited, talking about her and Briana meeting (the family),” Amber told The Star on Thursday. “She was happy.” Police believe Steinfeld was killed Sept. 3 in Calderas’ Cabool, Mo., home — where they found a burn pile, human remains and blood on the living room carpet. Andrew Vrba, 18, admitted that he tried to poison Steinfeld, police say. When she didn’t drink the liquid, he stabbed her multiple times, gouging out her eyes and stabbing her genitals, according to court documents. Calderas and Vrba’s friend Isis Schauer allegedly then traveled to a nearby Walmart to buy supplies to help burn the body. All three are charged with first-degree murder, abandonment of a corpse and armed criminal action.


Posted by Jane on July 4th, 2018
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Nina Reiser
died on September 3rd, 2006

31yo Nina was an OB/GYN from Russia who married an American computer programmer Hans Reiser and moved with him to California, USA. They had two children, but the marriage didn't work out and Nina filed for divorce five years later, stating that he was a workaholic spending too much time on business trips abroad. The divorce and custody hearings were heated, and she had a temporary order of protection against him, but he had visitation with kids on weekends. One such weekend they argued and he hit her on the face and strangled her while their kids were playing computer games downstairs.

At first he refused a plea bargain of 3 years, then accepted a plea bargain of 15 years to life, then filed a 300-page-long appeal, and then stated, "I ask that I be allowed to commission her being cloned, and the children allowed to help raise her so that she has a happy childhood filled with love. If the government will not pay for her to be cloned, then I will upon my release, if allowed."

The children are with their maternal grandmother in Russia, and a jury awarded them $60 million against their father for the death of their mom.


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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September 4th:
Sherry Charlie
died on September 4th, 2002

19 months old Sherry from Canada and her 3yo brother were removed from their parents because of their alcoholism, domestic violence, and neglect of children. They were placed with their aunt, whose husband had a history of 19 criminal offenses that included domestic violence, but there were no complaints of child abuse, and they had three biological children. Just a couple of weeks later the man killed Sherry because she wouldn't stop crying. He shook her, hit her head against the floor, and stomped on her stomach with his foot, in front of three other children. He then blamed Sherry's death on her 3yo brother.


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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September 5th:
Raashanai Coley
died on September 5th, 2014

11yo Raashanai From Illinois, USA, lived with her mom, stepdad, and two younger kids, her half-siblings. One day her mom called 911 because Raashanai was unresponsive. She died in hospital later on that night. Mom was charged with murder because Raashanai was malnourished, had scars and bruises, and died of a tear in her stomach caused by blunt force trauma. The neighbors were surprised to find out there was an 11yo girl living in the house; they saw the younger two children playing outside and taking school bus, but Raashanai was pulled out of school the previous year.


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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September 6th:
Steven Reis
died on September 6th, 2015

55yo Mr Reis from Kentucky, USA, was an Air Force veteran who suffered from PTSD, depression, and diabetes. He disappeared in January of 2015, and his caretaker continued using his credit/debit card to receive his benefits. Nine months later, on September 6th, 2015, Mr Reis' body was found in the basement of an abandoned house. Cause of death was undetermined because the body has decomposed, so the caretaker was sentenced to four years for fraud and ordered to pay back $32,822 in restitution.


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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September 7th:
Gunner Page
died on September 7th, 2015

3 months old Gunner from Tennessee, USA, was visiting with his dad from Monday night till Wednesday morning, when his mom was supposed to pick him up. Gunner was crying, his dad tried to calm him down, then tried to get in touch with his mom, and then shook Gunner till he stopped breathing, called ambulance, and told the doctors he had no idea what might have happened to the baby. Gunner died of brain injury five days later."I just snapped. I wish I could take it back. I try to be the best dad I can for the kids," the father said.


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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September 8th:
Robert Watkins
died on September 8th, 2013

2yo Robert from Maryland, USA, was living with his mom's step father (whom he called "Pappy"), along with four other children raging in age from 5 months to 15 years. On September 8th Robert didn't eat his dinner, and Pappy lost it, kicking the 2yo into kitchen cabinets to the point of multiple skull fractures and multiple cuts and bruises.


Posted by Manya on July 8th, 2016
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Daniel Valerio
died on September 8th, 1990

Two-year-old Daniel and his four-year-old brother Ben used to live with their mom and stepdad. Stepdad used to beat them up for crying; Daniel died from the beatings. The photo on the left shows him with a black eye. It was taken a few days before his death. Twenty one doctor saw Daniel with bruises and other marks, and not one of them contacted law enforcement. Daniel's death resulted in public outrage and the Australian laws regarding child abuse have been changed as a result. Now reporting suspected child abuse is mandatory for those who work with children: doctors, teachers, social workers, etc.


Posted by Manya on February 12th, 2016
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September 9th:
Willow Long
died on September 9th, 2013

7yo Willow from Illinois, USA, lived with her mom, 3yo brother, grandma and grandpa, and a 22yo uncle. One day her grandparents were away at work, mom was at a bar, and the uncle was babysitting Willow and her brother. Two days later her body was found with a slashed throat, five stabs to the heart, and defensive wounds on her hands. The uncle said that Willow impaled herself on a stick so he killed her to put her out of her misery.


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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Coral Ellen Burrows
died on September 9th, 2003

Coral was a 6yo girl from New Zealand whose stepdad used meth. He's been smoking it for five days straight, not sleeping and barely eating, when on September 9th he fed Coral Ellen and her 8yo brother breakfast, got them ready for school, and drove them there. It was raining, and while the man and the boy ran from the car to the school, Coral refused to and got cheeky. That's when he "lost the plot", according to him. He returned to the car and beat her unconscious, right there in the school parking lot; broke her jaw, and she bled a lot. He then drove around looking for a place to hide her body, and when he discovered she was still alive he broke her skull. "I didn't want her to suffer," he told police.

Coral's family released a public statement saying "Our plea to all New Zealander is to treasure your children and help keep safe."


Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2016
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Alexander, Juan and Luis Fuentes
died on September 9th, 2015

Three brothers - Alexander, eight, Juan, nine, and Luis, 10 - were allegedly stabbed to death by their father who then tried to kill himself At a vigil for the children on Wednesday evening, grieving family members placed pictures, candles and toys at the site where their bodies had been found earlier that day. Their cousin Rene Chanquin told KTLA: ‘What can prepare you for three little kids that you spent every Christmas with, being killed that way.’‘We will miss them so very much and it hurts us to know that they will never live to see another Christmas or celebrate another birthday.’


Posted by Jane on July 1st, 2018
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September 10th:
Meredith Emily Hight
died on September 10th, 2017

Meredith filed for divorce in July. It was then that she told her mother Lane that her husband Spencer had been violent at least twice — including a time last fall when he slammed her face against a wall. But Lane said her daughter hadn't reported the incidents to police. It is reported that the couple's marriage unraveled long before Spenser her ex husband shot and killed Meredith and a number of her friends.


Posted by Jane on July 1st, 2018
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Lamar Hawkins III
died on September 10th, 2014

14yo Lamar from Brooklyn, NY, had a loving family: mom, dad, brothers, and sisters. He had medical problems at birth, and doctors said he only had a 20% chance of surviving infancy. "He fought through everything - everything - and he made it," his father said. However, he was small in statue, and that made him an easier target for bullies at school. The family moved to Florida, to help their son by changing the environment - but the bullying continued, and on September 10th Lamar shot himself in the bathroom on campus.


Posted by Manya on March 23rd, 2017
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September 11th:
Amanda Ross
died on September 11th, 2009

29yo Amanda from Kentucky, USA, was a warm and vivacious woman, according to her friends; she liked animals, soccer, Ernest Hemingway, and keeping up with her highschool friends. "She was cheerful and peppy and lots of fun, a very integral part of that class," her school headmaster said. After Amanda graduated from Boston university with a degree in business administration and finance, she went to work for her father's company. State Rep. Bob Damron, who works for that firm, said Amanda "had a good mathematical mind and a good business mind." She was also elected to the board of the local Humane Society, and was excited to start her term in December.

Amanda was dating a former Kentucky state legislator who championed laws protecting the victims domestic violence. Unfortunately, he was violent towards Amanda, to the point that she received an order of protection against him in February of 2009. He continued stalking her for months, and finally on September 11th he shot her in a parking lot as she was leaving work.

Amanda's mother advocates for a legislation called Amanda's law, that would require perpetrators of domestic violence to wear GPS tracking devices while there's an order of protection against them, that would notify the police and the victim if they are somewhere they shouldn't be. She said, "It will definitely save lives if you know that person. You have a fighting chance if you know that person is in your area - you can at least do something to protect yourself. Amanda, she would have never walked out the door that morning. She would have known that he was out there because she also could have worn a bracelet that would have warned her, rather than a phone call. She would have been warned that he was out there in her area."


Posted by Manya on July 18th, 2016
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Jacob Grabe
died on September 11th, 2008

13yo Jacob from Colorado, USA, loved his two dogs, Holly and Cinnamon, and his cat, Buttercup, and was learning to ride horses. He was top seller for the school fund-raisers, played the French horn in band, and was just elected equipment manager. He was also in track, learning to master the triple jump. Jacob attended church, and used to help his mom with her Avon deliveries and his dad with his window washing business.

Jacob had Asperger's and died because his dad shot him nine times in the head. "I had to kill him because you were ruining him," the man explained to his wife. "I believe that his intent was to save his son from irreparable harm, saving him by sending him home to Jesus," his psychiatrist testified at trial. The jury rejected insanity plea and the man was sentenced to life without parole.


Posted by Manya on September 13th, 2017
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Shafilea Ahmed
died on September 11th, 2003

Shafi was a 17yo Pakistani girl from UK, who was murdered by her parents for refusing an arranged marriage. She lived in Yorkshire, went to school, wanted to be a lawyer, and wrote poetry.

Shortly before her disappearance Shafi and her parents had traveled to Pakistan where she rejected an arranged marriage partner and had swallowed bleach, badly scarring her throat. Her parents felt that she brought shame on their family, murdered her, dismembered the body, and dumped it in a river.

Here's a quote from Shafi's poem "I'm trapped" that she wrote before she was killed:

Desire to live is burning
My stomach is turning
But all they think about is honour
I was like a normal teenage kid
Didn't ask 2 much
I jus wanted to fit in
But my culture was different




Posted by Manya on October 16th, 2012
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Jimmy Ryce
died on September 11th, 1995

According to his parents, 9yo Jimmy from Florida, USA, "had an IQ of over 130. Loved to read. Hated stories with sad endings. Cried when he saw Les Miserable. Wanted be a major league baseball player when he grew up or if he couldn't do that he wanted to find a cure for a disease". One day Jimmy got off his school bus and was walking home, four houses down on the same side of the street. The man pulled a truck in front of Jimmy, blocking his way, pointed a gun at him, grabbed him by the shirt, and pulled him into the truck. He then took Jimmy to his trailer and raped and tortured him for four hours. Jimmy heard helicopters and ran to the door, hoping to escape, when the man shot him in the back. He then decapitated and dismembered Jimmy's body and hid it in cement in three plastic planters near his trailer.

The man was sentenced to death and executed. Jimmy's parents created the Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction to raise awareness about the plight of missing children, victims' rights and violence.


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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