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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July 18th:
Meredith Jessie and Mark Weekly
died on July 18th, 2015

6yo Meredith and her 50yo grandpa were killed on or around July 18th, 2015. "She was a little tomboy," the girl's teacher said. "She would dress like a girl, but she was a tough girl." According to the police and relatives, Meredith was "a handful", kept getting in trouble with mom, and the grandpa loved his granddaughter. Meredith's mom was indicted in their deaths, though claimed self-defense. "The question is," said the police detective investigating the case, "did (Meredith) first witness the vicious murder of her grandfather…"


Posted by Manya on March 7th, 2016
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July 19th:
Teghan Skiba
died on July 19th, 2010

The wounds that covered the 40-pound body of four yo Teghan Skiba were so severe that they were "textbook examples" of torture, a forensic pediatrician testified. A jury found her mother's boyfriend guilty of torturing and murdering Teghan.


Posted by Jane on August 19th, 2018
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July 24th:
Robert Manwill
died on July 24th, 2009

Robert was an 8yo boy from Idaho, USA, who was killed by his mom's boyfriend. It was a part of an overall pattern of domestic violence in the house. The boy was beaten for weeks, sometimes with wooden planks, the man "dropped a knee" on his chest, causing internal bleeding (the family referred to this form of "discipline" as "dead bugging"), and made to sit in a closet when DHS visited the house (so that DHS wouldn't see his bruises). On July 23rd the man broke the apartment wall with Robert's head. The next day Robert complained of headache and other pains, and had trouble keeping balance. Mom just went to work. When she found him dead, she and her boyfriend dropped Robert's body in an irrigation canal nearby and reported him missing.

Robert had a father and grandparents. They would have taken him if his mom called them. She said she didn't protect Robert from her violent boyfriend or ask for help because she was scared that both Robert and his younger brother would be taken from her, if DHS found out Robert was being abused. The jury convicted both her and her boyfriend of murder.


Posted by Manya on February 10th, 2016
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Riley Ann Sawyers
died on July 24th, 2007

Riley Ann was a 2yo girl from Ohio, USA, whose parents were teenagers. They stayed with Riley's grandma, her dad's mom, until he moved out, pressing domestic violence charges against Riley's mom. She moved out half a year later as well, and married another man, in Texas. That man believed in discipline and expected 2yo Riley to address adults as "Sir" and "M'am". When she failed to do so, the couple beat her with belts, threw her across the room, and held her head underwater in a bathtub. Just two months later Riley died during one such "discipline session" - she couldn't stand up when told to.

Riley is also known as "Baby Grace" because her mom and stepdad dumped her body in the ocean, and when fishermen found it and the police investigation began, her real name wasn't known yet.


Posted by Manya on March 18th, 2016
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July 25th:
Jonathan James
died on July 25th, 2011

Twin brothers Jonathan and Joseph from Texas, USA, were having a court-ordered visit with their father and stepmother. The boys' grandma described Jonathan as a friendly, cheerful child who never held a grudge. "Jonathan could forgive you no matter what you did," she said. "You could ground him and he would say, 'I love you, Mimi.'" Prior to the visit with his father, Jonathan asked grandma, "Can I come to your house instead? I know I'm going to be in trouble while I'm there because I always am." During the visit, the boy wet his bed, and was punished by not being allowed water or any other liquid for five days. He was forced to stand on a spot marked with an "X" on the kitchen floor, and hold a sack of potatoes over his head. The kitchen had no air conditioning. The stepmother explained the situation as follows, "He always said he was thirsty. He was in time out, and every two minutes he would say, ‘I need a drink…I need to go to the bathroom." His brother Joseph explained that Jonathan tried to get to the bathroom to drink water from the faucet. Jonathan died of dehydration.


Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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July 29th:
Avery Lee Hobbs
died on July 29th, 2016

4yo Avery from Ohio, USA, was "a little jokester who would just laugh whole-heartedly," according to her grandparents. When Avery was 4 weeks old, her mom fractured her skull, and spent six months in jail on child endangerment charges. Avery stayed with her grandparents. Once out of jail, mom regained custody of Avery, but just one months later grandma complained to CPS that mom "does not provide for the infant...does not have a stable home or relationship. Barely visited the infant. (Avery's) half-sister was also removed from (mom's) custody for suspected abuse." What followed was a couple of years of custody disputes, foster care, and parenting classes. In March 2015 Avery was permanently placed in her mom's care. And in July 2015 Avery was killed by blunt force trauma to the head; mom is pending trial on murder charges. "This could've been stopped," Avery's grandma said "This could've been prevented if people would've listened."


Posted by Manya on September 13th, 2017
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July 30th:
Owen Barker
died on July 30th, 2012

3yo Owen from Ohio, USA, liked Batman and enjoyed playing outdoors. He lived with his mom and her boyfriend, who physically abused and eventually murdered him. The boyfriend was sentenced to life, and Owen's mom was sentenced to 11 years for permitting child abuse. "Danielle is the product of a broken home," her lawyer said. "She grew up never knowing what a stable, loving home was like. All she wanted for her son was what she lacked as a child. Danielle was a working mother, trying to provide for her son and unfortunately trusted the wrong person to care for her son while she was away."


Posted by Manya on June 16th, 2018
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July 31st:
Alex Hill
died on July 31st, 2013

2yo Alex from Texas, USA, was removed from her parents home because her dad used to smoke pot at night. The girl was placed with a foster family that also had issues with pot - as well as crack cocaine and other problems, over a 100 violations total. Biological parents were going to get Alex back, but four months prior to that she was killed by her foster mom. According to her, Alex got up too early that morning, which frustrated the woman, and then they played a game, at the end of which Alex's head was slammed into the floor. Alex had bruising all over her body.


Posted by Manya on July 29th, 2016
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August 1st:
Emanuel Jaques
died on August 1st, 1977

Emanuel Jaques was a Canadian 12-year-old boy who was murdered in Toronto in August 1977. The sexual assault and murder of Jaques sparked outrage in Toronto, resulting in the conviction of three men. Emanuel was often seen shining the shoes of passersby with his brother Luciano. The brothers used their collective earnings to help their parents support them and the five siblings with whom they'd left Portugal 3 1/2 years earlier. Emanuel thought he could earn a little more on July 28, 1977, when Saul David Betesh offered him $35 to move photography equipment. Instead, Betesh, Robert Kribs and Joseph Woods were involved in tying Emanuel up, sexually assaulting him and then drowning him in a sink at Charlie's Angels massage parlour, according to evidence presented in court in the winter of 1978. Emanuel's body was found on the roof of 245 Yonge St. on Aug. 1, 1977, one of roughly 40 massage parlours running between Bloor and Richmond streets at the time. Their emergence had become a "huge political issue" in postwar Toronto, urban historian Daniel Ross said. "Here you have a 12-year-old boy dying, being murdered by the very city of opportunity, the so-called city that works, the so-called Toronto the Good," Fernandes said. "Parents are willing to take very high personal tolls and go through quite a lot just so that their children don't have to" said Gilberto Fernandes, the director of the Portuguese Canadian History Project. Note: 8.1.1977 was the date Emanuel's murder was discovered not necessarily the date of his death


Posted by Jane on June 30th, 2018
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August 3rd:
Katelynn Sampson
died on August 3rd, 2008

Katelynn was a 7yo girl from Toronto, Canada, whose mom was a drug addict. She gave Katelynn to another drug addict, hoping her daughter would have a better life with them. All three (the mother and the couple who cared for Katelynn) had a long history with Child Protective Services, and there were multiple reports from school and neighbors, with concerns about Katelynn's welfare. Those reports weren't followed up. Katelynn died of septic shock from over 70 wounds. Police found her blood in every room of the apartment, and a note written by her, that said 62 times "I am A awful girl that's why know one wants me."


Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2016
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Nia Marie Glassie
died on August 3rd, 2007

Nia was a 3yo Maori girl abused and eventually killed by her family in Rotorua, New Zealand. She was the youngest of six children her mom had. Mom was 34yo, and frequently left Nia with her 16yo boyfriend, his brother, and the brother's girlfriend. The three have been abusing Nia for months, in front of her older siblings.

Nia had been kicked, beaten, slapped, jumped on, held over a burning fire, had wrestling moves copied from a computer game practiced on her, spit on, placed into a clothes dryer spinning at top heat for up to 30 minutes, folded into a sofa and sat on, shoved into piles of rubbish, dragged through a sandpit half-naked, flung against a wall, dropped from a height onto the floor, and whirled rapidly on an outdoor rotary clothes line until thrown off.

When Nia lapsed into coma, her family didn't take her to hospital for 36hrs (they were having a party, and continued it while she was in hospital). During the trial, a doctor told the court that if Nia had been taken to hospital as soon as she was unconscious, she would have likely survived.


Posted by Manya on April 17th, 2011
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August 5th:
Chaitanya Balpande
died on August 5th, 2015

13yo Chaitanya from Pune, India, was born disabled. His parents loved him very much, he enjoyed bird watching and playing cricket with them. Things went downhill when he was around ten; parents split up, and mom didn't let his dad and paternal grandma to see him anymore. Three years later Chaitanya's mom beat him to death with a cricket bat.


Posted by Manya on July 29th, 2016
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Mason Rhinehart
died on August 5th, 2014

6yo Mason from Florida, USA, lived with his mom, dad, and 8yo brother Aden. "They were two peas in a pod, they were best friends, they were inseparable," his godmother said. "When you saw Mason, you saw Aden." Mason was on the honor roll in school, loved swimming and playing Minecraft with his brother, started weightlifting with his dad, and played for a youth football team.

The boys' parents worked full time, and grandma babysat the kids twice a week. One Tuesday, two days before Mason's 7th birthday, the parents were at work, the boys were playing computer games, and grandma told them she had a surprise for them. She took Mason to the bathroom, locked the door, and stabbed him to death. 8yo Aden heard his brother cry and say, "I don't want to die, please don't kill me." Aden tried to get into the bathroom but couldnt, so he called his dad and hid. He wasn't physically injured, but, before leaving the house, grandma told him she had a surprise for him too.

The grandma eventually pled no contest to murder charges, explained that she did it because she was "fed up" with her daughter-in-law, and was sentenced to life without parole. "I feel really sorry for him because not only did he lose a son, he lost a mother," Mason's godmother said about his dad. "He says he's done with her and never wants to see her again."


Posted by Manya on July 29th, 2016
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