Memorial Wall : victims of child abuse

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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 21st:
Asunta Fong Yang Basterra Porto
died on September 21st, 2013

12yo Asunta was adopted from China as a baby by a well off couple from Spain, who raised her to be a prodigy: she studied English, French, Chinese, and German (aside from native Spanish and Galician), took private classes in ballet, violin, and piano, and skipped an academic year. However, many things went wrong in one year when Asunta turned 12: both of mom's parents passed away within months of each other, mom had an affair which resulted in divorce, and had a nervous breakdown. The parents needed space and sent Asunta to spend the summer with her nanny and godmother. However, that didn't help, and they planned to murder her. Mom drugged Asunta and strangled her, and then they left the body at the side of the road. Both were convicted of murder and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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Allison Newman
died on September 21st, 2006

Mom of 2yo Allison from Michigan, USA, struggled with crack cocaine addiction, asked a friend to care for her temporarily, and when CPS found out about it, Allison was taken to foster care. Her foster parents couldn't have children and were hoping to adopt Allison, but the custody was placed on hold till Allison's biomom completes her rehab treatment. On September 21st, Allison died of fractured skull, brain swelling, and bleeding. Her foster mother told four different stories as to how it happened, the last story being that she played "whirlybird" with the baby and accidentally dropped her off a second floor balcony. After that, however, she didn't seek medical help for Allison. The foster mother was convicted of murder.

Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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September 23rd:
Jyniah Mary Te Awa
died on September 23rd, 2007

Jyniah Mary Te Awa, 10 months old, was tortured to death by her babysitter. On the span of six weeks she was kicked, shaken, thrown, swung by the hair, put in a closed freezer, hung from a washing line and smothered. Jyniah died of a brain injury. The babysitter pleaded guilty to Jyniah's murder.

Posted by Jane on July 4th, 2018
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September 24th:
Zahra Baker
died on September 24th, 2010

10yo Zahra from Australia was killed by her stepmom. Zahra's biological mom gave the sole custody to Zahra's dad because she suffered from postpartum depression and couldn't cope with the baby. Zahra survived lung and bone cancer, though lost some of her hearing and had to have one leg amputated. When Zahra was nine, her dad met an American woman online, whom he soon married, and the whole family moved to North Carolina.There were multiple reports of child abuse from neighbors and school teachers, but the family kept moving from county to county, and switched Zahra to homeschooling, so the case fell through the cracks.

It's unknown how Zahra died. Her stepmom was discussing "doing a murder with chainsaws" online two days prior, neither she nor Zahra's dad reported her missing till over a week later, and did a whole scheme trying to mislead the police into thinking she was kidnapped. Zahra's body parts and her prosthetic leg were scattered across two counties. Stepmom eventually pleaded guilty to murder. The police found no credible evidence against her dad.

Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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September 25th:
Alexis Morris
died on September 25th, 2009

6yo Alexis from Oklahoma, USA, loved to read, dress up, dance, and be rocked. She and her younger brother were staying with their dad and stepmom, and stepmom's kids. Stepmom used to abuse Alexis and her brother, but never in front of their father, and threatened to hurt the kids if they told him. Still, DHS received 17 child abuse complaints about Alexis and her brother, that came from school teachers, counselors, and a pediatrician. Still the kids remained in the house somehow.

On Friday, September 25th, 2009, 12yo stepsister of Alexis walked in on her mom holding Alexis upside down by her ankles and slamming her head against the ground, moments before she stopped breathing.

Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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Chester Miller
died on September 25th, 2002

18yo Chester was "a sweet, kind boy who trusted people and touched so many lives with his personality," according to his dad. Chester's parents were divorced; his dad lived in Florida and his mom lived in Pennsylvania with her boyfriend. Dad sent Chester to live with his mom. "I couldn't provide him with a family," he explained. "I thought I was doing something good." According to the Pennsylvania police, Chester's mother and stepfather "hardly ever fed the boy anything but table scraps" and "made him stay in his locked room." Chester didn't attend school and told the police that he had "been beaten every day" and "not allowed to leave his house."

On September 19th Chester's mom put him on a bus to Florida. He "had begged for food and money" in bus stations along the route to Florida, but "people ignored his pleas." Three days later he knocked on a perfect stranger's door in Florida. He said he had been looking for his father, who he thought lived somewhere nearby, and asked if he could come inside and "rest a little" and perhaps take a shower. The teen could barely stand, had bruises on his arms, and couldn't hold down food or drink he was offered. Chester died in hospital four days later, weighing 62 pounds. Cause of death was chronic malnutrition and peritonitis caused by a ruptured stomach. His mom served 9 months for involuntary manslaughter, her boyfriend is serving 10-20 years for 3rd degree murder.

Posted by Manya on June 27th, 2018
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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 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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October 11th:
Kelsey Smith-Briggs
died on October 11th, 2005

Kelsey was a 2yo girl from Oklahoma whose parents were divorced, and each accused the other of abusing Kelsey. The first report was filed in January, and she was moved by CPS four times in six months, from one side of the family to the other, till the judge said it's unknown who's abusing her and moved her back to her mom's home. The case was monitored by CPS, yet during this year Kelsey had a broken collarbone, two broken legs, damage to her pancreas, multiple bruises and marks, and she was hurt in a car accident and sexually abused. On October 11th Kelsey was in the care of her mom's boyfriend, and died of blunt force trauma to her abdomen.

Posted by Manya on February 14th, 2016
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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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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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