Memorial Wall

Filter results:

Add an entry:

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.
Add an entry

Embed:

Embed a memorial on your site or blog:
Copy-paste the code below to your site to display a name and a photo of someone who died through abuse on today's date; you can click on the photo to read their story. The widget is transparent, uses no javascript, and can be resized to fit your layout; proportions are 3:5.

<iframe style=\"width:210px;height:350px;border:none;\" src=\"http://www.fortrefuge.com/widgets/memorials.php\"></iframe>
December 31st:
Laura Aceves
died on December 31st, 2012

Laura was a 21yo mother from Arkansas, USA. She worked at a Tyson Foods plant, deboning chicken. Her apartment complex manager describes her as a "very, very sweet girl". "She went to work, and came home, and took care of her son," he said, "I don't think I ever saw her without a smile."

Laura had a violent ex, Victor Acuna-Sanchez, the father of her 4 months old son. He was out on bail, awaiting trial for previous attacks on Laura, including a felony for aggravated assault. Victor was under court order to have no contact with Laura and to check in with probation by phone twice week. He followed neither order, kept threatening to kill Laura, physically assaulting her, and damaging her property. She kept calling the police, but somehow they were unable to protect her. Laura's body was found in her apartment, with a gunshot wound to her head, and her 4 months old son covered in her blood. Victor was arrested the same evening in his mom's house, hiding in the shower with a .22-caliber handgun.


Posted by Manya on February 2nd, 2016
Back to top
Virginia
died on December 31st, 2008

She was the most courageous and outgoing person I knew, and I wish I had been there more for her. She took her own life two days after my birthday.


Posted by Casey on July 17th, 2009
Back to top
January 1st:
Noelle Paquette
died on January 1st, 2013

27yo Noelle from Canada was a kindergarten teacher, a tutor, and a volunteer with the Sunshine Foundation (organization dedicated to fulfilling custom-made dreams for Canadian kids living with severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses). On January 1st Noelle was at a New Year's Eve party with her boyfriend. They had a fight, and she decided to walk home, about 12 miles, at 2AM. During that walk Noelle was abducted, raped, and murdered by a couple (a 34yo woman and a 22yo man) who met online at a sex fetish site and frequently fantasized about raping and killing someone. Noelle happened to be "in the wrong place at the wrong time," as was stated in court.


Posted by Manya on June 25th, 2018
Back to top
Jeffrey Fehr
died on January 1st, 2012

18yo Jeffrey from California, USA, committed suicide because he was bullied for being gay. The bullying started as early as 3rd grade and continued till his death. "Jeff loved everyone with everything he had," said his friend. "He always wanted everyone to get along, without drama. He was a leader." Jeffrey's parents supported him, signed him up for counseling for depression, and encouraged him to pursue art, theater, dance, and cheerleading. He hung himself on New Year's day. "So many people gained strength from Jeff," his father said. "The unfortunate part is that Jeff didn't realize it."


Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2017
Back to top
January 2nd:
Arisa Vana David
died on January 2nd, 2018

25yo Vana was involved in an on-and-off abusive relationship for the past seven years. "Many times she would write on Facebook that she and the man done and then people seeing them hugging up and walking the road," Vana's mom said. "The next thing people seeing the man beating her all over the place. She could not have talked to anyone, the man would feel offended. She got a little job in the parlour right here and he going there and abusing she. He always sticking up on her. Over a year ago, he pelt her with a cellphone and her eye got damaged, she always had to go to the doctor." Vana was choked to death in front of her two daughters, aged 7 and 2.


Posted by Manya on February 11th, 2018
Back to top
January 3rd:
Lena (Elaine) Smith
died on January 3rd, 2014

45yo Elaine from Virgina, USA, turned her life around four months prior to her death. She quit drugs, started taking medications for her schizophrenia, gained custody of her grand daughter, started going to church. She also kicked out her boyfriend, whom they had a violent history with; Elaine was convicted of stabbing him during a domestic dispute. On January 3rd he came over and stabbed her in the back six times. He claimed self-defense, referencing her prior history of violence, drugs, and mental illness. However, he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 31 years in prison.


Posted by Jane on June 14th, 2018
Back to top
Alexa Linboom
died on January 3rd, 2012

5yo Alexa from Tennessee, USA, stole a sip of grape soda from her stepmom on New Year's Day. For that, her dad and stepmom forced her to drink two and a half liters of soda and water over one-to-two hours. Alexa went unconscious and died in the hospital two days later. Both adults pled guilty to murder.


Posted by Manya on July 29th, 2016
Back to top
T.M.
died on January 3rd, 1999

May you rest in peace.


Posted by secretsouls on May 9th, 2008
Back to top
January 4th:
Zainab Ansari
died on January 4th, 2018

7yo Zainab from Pakistan was staying with her uncle while her parents were performing Umrah (pilgrimage to Mecca). Zainab went missing on her way to a Quran tuition class, which was very close to her house. She was kidnapped by a 24yo mechanic who tortured, raped, and strangled Zainab to death. He was arrested nineteen days later, confessed, and his DNA matched with the samples of at least eight minor girls who were raped and murdered within the same neighborhood.

Zainab's death resulted in mass protests across Pakistan; Punjab chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif said, "Those societies that cannot protect its children are eternally condemned."


Posted by Manya on February 11th, 2018
Back to top
Junko Furuta
died on January 4th, 1989

Junko was a 16yo highschool student from Tokyo, Japan. She was walking home from school when abducted by four boys roughly her age (all under 18), that she didn't know, and was raped, tortured, and mutilated for six weeks, before they killed her and disposed of the body by placing it in a 55 gallon drum filled with concrete.

They never met her before and had no grudge against her - they picked her at random, just because they could. What they did to her during those 44 days is too graphic to post here (click on her name if you want to read about it), but another disturbing part of the story is that this was happening in the home of one of the boys, with his parents present at least some of the time. They said they thought Junko was his girlfriend, and/or they were too scared of their son to say anything.



Posted by Zoe on July 28th, 2009
Back to top
January 5th:
Ryder Vercoglio
died on January 5th, 2015

Ryder Vercoglio, died at a hospital of blunt force trauma to the head. Authorities say he had suffered abuse at his home.Paramedics had been called to his two days earlier to a report of a child having a seizure. Ryder was taken to Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis, where staff called police to report that they suspected child abuse. The boy died at the hospital. William Bolin, was charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter and aggravated battery to a child. Authorities say he was the boyfriend of Ryder's mother and living with her at the time the boy was injured. Ryder's mother who was at work when paramedics were called.


Posted by Jane on June 16th, 2018
Back to top
Esther Anuhya
died on January 5th, 2014

24yo Anu from India worked as a software engineer and enjoyed singing, reading Manga, and watching Korean films. Anu spent Christmas with her family and was returning home. Her train arrived to Mumbai at 5AM; normally she would have waited till daylight at the station, and then taken a bus home. Instead, Anu accepted a ride from a stranger. According to witnesses, "she must have refused to ride on the motorcycle, but he took her stating he too was going towards Andheri and would drop her for a meager amount and under duress, as he put her bag on the motorcycle, she must have ridden the bike." When Anu protested that he was taking her in the wrong direction, he robbed, raped, and murdered her, burnt her body, and left it in a ditch.


Posted by Manya on December 28th, 2017
Back to top
January 6th:
Maria Colwell
died on January 6th, 1973

Maria Colwell, seven, died in Brighton after being starved and beaten by her stepfather, William Kepple. She had suffered brain damage, a fractured rib, black eyes, extensive external bruising and internal injuries. Maria had been fostered by her aunt and uncle because her mother, Pauline, could not cope with bringing up five children on her own. Five years later Pauline decided she wanted her daughter back. But an inquiry by the Department of Health found that East Sussex county council had insufficient evidence to return the girl. There were 50 official visits to the family, including from social workers, health visitors, police and housing officers. All agencies involved in the case were criticised.


Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
Back to top
January 7th:
Joileen Garcia
died on January 7th, 2013

Joileen Garcia died after being fed chili powder as a punishment At the time, Amanda Sorensen - who was the carer of the toddler and her boyfriend's three other children on the day of the incident - tried to discipline Joileen for defecating in her pants by giving her chili powder. Joileen was being potty trained and had, had several accidents throughout the day. At one point Sorensen asked the girl if she had gone 'potty' to which the child responded 'no'. Soreson then placed chili powder into the girl's mouth as punishment, ordering her to swallow it. She was not aware of how much she had placed in her mouth, but knew it was a lot as the bottle was light, the report said. Sorensen cupped her hand over the child's mouth to prevent her from spitting it out. Joileen began coughing uncontrollably, expelling powder from her mouth and turned blue at which Sorensen attempted to perform rescue breathing and chest compressions. Sorenson then called 911. The toddler had a seizure and was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead. Sorenson has been charged with second degree murder.


Posted by Jane on June 19th, 2018
Back to top
January 8th:
Phoebe Jonchuck
died on January 8th, 2015

Phoebe Jonchuck, a 5-year-old girl was dropped off the side of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge by her father John Jonchuck Jr last January. Despite numerous calls to child welfare officials due to her father’s history of violence, drug use, and mental illness, Phoebe was allowed to remain in his care


Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
Back to top
Dakota Burke
died on January 8th, 2015

Dakota Burke died on 01/08/2015 If a prisoner of war had been subjected to what this child went through, there would be an international investigation." District Judge Bob Sherling said after listening to testimony about the nearly six weeks of alleged abuses that led to the death of 20-month-old DaKota Burke on Jan. 8. Her injuries - as noted by medical personnel at Providence Hospital and, later, USA Children's and Women's Hospital - included a right skull fracture, intracranial and retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes, swelling, a broken clavicle on both sides, arm fractures and severe burns to her left ear and both palms. Dakota's biological mother, Summer Everett is charged with murder and aggregated child abuse, along with her husband, Chrisopher Knapp.


Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
Back to top
Maximillian Kolbe - Franciscan Priest and Martyr
died on January 8th, 1894

After the outbreak of World War II, Maximillian Kolb born on January 8th 1894 was one of the few brothers who remained at his monastery after the town was captured by the Germans. He and his colleagues provided shelter to refugees from Greater Poland, including 1,000–2,000 Jews whom they hid in their friary. On 17th February 1941, the friary was shut down by the Nazi authorities and Kolbe and four others were arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned. A couple of months later he was transferred to Auschwitz where he was subjected to violence. At the end of July 1941, following the escape of 3 prisoners the camp deputy commander, picked 10 men to be starved to death in an underground bunker to deter further escape attempts. When one of the selected men cried out, "My wife! My children!", Kolbe volunteered to take his place. According to an eye witness, an assistant janitor Kolbe led the prisoners in prayer. Each time the guards checked he was kneeling in the middle of the cell and looking calmly at those who entered. After two weeks of dehydration and starvation, Kolbe remained alive, so they gave him a lethal injection of carbolic acid. Kolbe was declared venerable by Pope Paul VI on 30 January 1969, beatified as a Confessor of the Faith by the same Pope in 1971 and canonized as a saint by Pope John Paul II on 10 October 1982. He is one of ten 20th-century martyrs who are depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, London.


Posted by Jane on July 15th, 2018
Back to top
January 9th:
Nikita Chawla
died on January 9th, 2015

Ms Chawla, a dancer and choreographer who had just completed her final exams for her performing arts degree at the end of 2014, was savagely murdered on January 9, 2015. Her family paid tribute to her in court as vivacious, brave and creative. 'Nikita was achieving her dreams,' mother Sunila Chawla said in her victim impact statement. 'My light and joy has been snatched away from me.' Ms Chawla had secretly married Mr Singh in September 2011, but by January this year their relationship had deteriorated. While Mr Singh was in India in January 2015, Ms Chawla told friends she was planning on ending her marriage and had started looking for somewhere else to live. Crown Prosecutor Peter Rose QC said 'It appears at some stage the accused had accessed the deceased's phone. Singh last month pleaded guilty to murdering Ms Chawla.


Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
Back to top