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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May 7th:
Kaleib L Higgins
died on May 7th, 2011

2yo Kaileb from Tennessee, USA, was visiting with his dad (whom he only knew for 5 months) in Kentucky. Dad was out of the house, and Kaileb was left with dad's girlfriend and her three children (all under 10 years of age). Kaileb died of multiple blunt force trauma to his head and body. The woman pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter.


Posted by Manya on March 19th, 2017
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May 8th:
Sanam Navsarka
died on May 8th, 2008

2yo Sanam from UK was abused to death by her mom and mom's boyfriend. She was beaten, neglected, and locked in a cupboard if she cried. At the time of death, Sanam had 107 separate external injuries, including fractures of both legs and both arms. "Sanam had been in a great deal of pain and distress over a long period leading up to her death," prosecutor said. "Her pain and discomfort would have been obvious to anyone who saw her, let alone who lived with her. (...) No doubt Sanam, as a two-year-old child, looked to both defendants to help her and to protect her. Neither defendant did anything to assist or save Sanam from the horrific injuries that she received. Those injuries were not caused during a brief and singular episode of violence by an adult upon a small child."

Sanam's mother was convicted of manslaughter for failing to protect Sanam from abuse, and her boyfriend - of murder. "You did nothing, absolutely nothing," the judge said to Sanam's mother. "That is unbelievable. It is also incredibly cruel. This was a gross abuse of trust by you as a mother. You selfishly put yourself and relationship with [your boyfriend] before your child."


Posted by Manya on March 19th, 2017
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May 9th:
Brittany Legler
died on May 9th, 2004

Lisa M. Iarussi blamed Linda Fisher and a bike accident for the 200 bruises and scarred head, lip and ear that the coroner discovered during his autopsy of 15-year-old Brittany Legler, who died May 9 in Erie Pennsylvania. Brittany had over 200 bruises, it was discovered that around 82 of them were fresh while the rest were in various stages indicating that they appeared to be as old as three weeks. Brittany had a broken rib that was healed, what is called "cauliflower ear" which she got from being hit repeatedly and her lips were so bad that the muscles were starting to degenerate. Brittany's case was said to the be the worst case of child abuse they had seen up to that point. Iarussi, 35, told the Erie Times-News that she used physical punishment to discipline Legler, but never hit her with her fist. The teenager also easily bruised because she was anemic, Iarussi said. Iarussi adopted Brittany after child-welfare officials told the teenager's biological mother that she couldn't raise her six children on her own. According to prosecutors, school officials and court documents, Millcreek Township school officials made numerous reports of suspected abuse to police. Everybody failed her — her family, the system, this defendant," Sambroak said. "Nobody deserves what this child went through. "I am asking you, you are the only one left to give her any justice. It is a shame she has to get it after she is dead," he said.


Posted by weepingwillow on April 15th, 2019
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May 10th:
Olivia Faith Truax
died on May 10th, 2011

3-month-old Olivia from Michigan, USA, died after her mom's boyfriend dropped her on the floor head down, twice. The first time, on Thursday, it was unintentional, but the first fall made Olivia cranky, she continued crying and wiggling when held, so on Friday he dropped her again, this time intentionally, out of anger and frustration.


Posted by Manya on March 19th, 2017
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May 11th:
Ethan Stacy
died on May 11th, 2010

Ethan was a 4yo boy who had been sent to visit his mom in Utah, USA, for the summer, as part of a custody agreement. He arrived to her and her boyfriend's home on April 28th, and she felt that her ex has "destroyed my boy." She asked her boyfriend to "teach him (Ethan) to be a man" by beating him or "whatever it took to get her boy back." It's unclear how exactly they went about it, but, bottom line, Ethan died ten days later. He had no food in his stomach, was dehydrated, and had various drugs in his system, bruises, lacerations, aspiration pneumonia, and his skin was "falling off" (according to medical examiner) because of burns he couldn't have acquired by accident. Aspiration pneumonia is caused by an inhalation of foreign materials into the lungs, potentially vomit, or as prosecutors suggested, fecal matter that the boy allegedly was forced to eat, according to prior police testimony.

The couple disfigured Ethan's body, buried it in a shallow grave, and sprinkled dog food on it. Mother reported her son missing three days later.


Posted by Manya on February 4th, 2016
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May 12th:
Hana Williams
died on May 12th, 2011

Hana was a 13yo girl adopted from Ethiopia by a couple from Washington, USA. According to them, Hana "enjoyed knitting and crocheting, reading, drawing and various crafts, playing soccer and riding her bicycle." Aside from Hana, the couple had seven biological children and one more adopted son, also from Ethiopia. The children were home-schooled. The family had a copy of the controversial parenting book To Train Up a Child, and, according to witnesses, followed the book recommendations "to use a switch, cold baths, withhold food and force children outside in cold weather as punishment."

According to Hana's adoptive mother, on the evening of May 12th Hana was outside (it was raining), and started removing her clothes and throwing herself onto the ground, hitting her head. The mother and eight children watched Hana's agony from inside the house, and, according to one of the kids, laughed at it. When the mother finally called 911, she said, "I think my daughter just killed herself... She's really rebellious."

Hana weighed 76lbs in 2008, 108lbs in 2009, and only 78lbs in 2011 when she died of hypothermia, malnutrition, and gastritis. She had marks on her body, from previous beatings.


Posted by Manya on February 10th, 2016
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May 13th:
Logan Bruce Borchik
died on May 13th, 2014

1yo Logan from Colorado, USA, died of fatal brain injury that was caused by being shaken by his mom while his dad watched it. The woman explained that Logan was choking on a penny, but his injuries, which included broken ribs, were "not consistent with resuscitation or choking," according to the doctors."After the shaking incident," the District Attorney said, "neither [the mother] nor her boyfriend … despite both observing obvious signs of the child's medical distress, sought medical care for the infant for three days during the child's unresponsiveness, before summoning help." Both parents were found guilty of child abuse resulting in death. "There is nothing that will bring back Logan who was a beautiful young boy and while a modicum of justice is served through this conviction for a horrible crime, the primary lesson here is never, ever shake a child," said the District Attorney.


Posted by Manya on March 20th, 2017
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Carla Nicole Bone
died on May 13th, 2002

13-month-old Carla-Nicole from UK was killed by her mom's boyfriend because she wouldn't walk. For that, he smashed her head on the wall. "Your actions were a cruel and unnatural treatment of a young child," the judge told him during the trial. "When you became frustrated while she resisted your efforts to care for her, your temper got the better of you and you took it out on the child. You exploded into a level of violence and ferocity on the morning of the death which was altogether on a different scale. It seems you completely lost your temper and in that state of mind assaulted her so severely she died." Sentencing Carla-Nicole's mom, the judge said, "You woefully failed to protect your daughter when your partner assaulted her. You were under a legal obligation as Nicole's mother to do what was reasonable to protect her and, as the jury have found, you woefully failed in that obligation in a way that contributed to her death."


Posted by Manya on May 11th, 2017
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May 14th:
Carly and Sawyer Simpson
died on May 14th, 2013

7yo Carly and 5yo Sawyer from South Carolina, USA, lived with their dad and mentally ill mom. She suffered from hallucinations and delusions, where she felt the world was out to harm her and her family; medication used to help. On May 13th she called her mother five times and asked bizarre questions, e.g. if her mother really wanted her, or if her grandmother was better off in heaven. A family friend saw her that day because he came by to borrow her husband's truck. "At that time I couldn't tell that there was anything wrong with her as far that I would say would be something that would cause danger," he said. "I could tell she was highly agitated, you know typical of husband and wife arguing type of scenario." Later that night he received a puzzling text message from her, which read "Hell on Earth?" He replied "huh?" but did not get a response. When her husband and kids went to bed, the woman unlocked her husbands gun and shot both of the kids in the head, in their beds, because she "didn't want them to live in this awful world," as she later explained. She then shot her husband and tried to crash her car. The husband survived, though suffered a traumatic brain injury, which left him paralyzed and with a bullet stuck in the back of his eye, that the doctors couldn't remove.


Posted by Manya on March 20th, 2017
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May 17th:
Khyra Ishaq
died on May 17th, 2008

Khyra was a 7yo girl from Birmingham, UK, who was beaten and starved to death by her mom and stepfather. Two other children in the household were also abused in the same way, but survived. The family has been causing concern for years prior to Khyra's death. Children were emaciated and, until they were taken out of school, were constantly begging for food, searching for it, or stealing it from other children. Neighbors believe they saw Khyra eating out of a bird feeder. One of the children recalls, "Khyra stole bread from the kitchen or something from the cooker. Junaid (the stepfather) told her 'you've won a prize, you've got a nice treat'. He gave her a jar of chocolate and told her to eat it all. It made her feel really ill and it made her vomit."

There was plenty of food in the house. The court ruling said the following about the mother: "Food was an issue for her and she seemed unable to understand that whilst it may well have been appropriate for her to lose weight, it was certainly not appropriate for these growing children to do the same." The stepfather was punished by being deprived of meals as a child, and said his father beat his 3yo sister to death for failing to flush the toilet. The court ruling also mentioned his "strong belief" in evil spirits. Detective inspector who investigated Khyra's death, said the following:

"The defendants created a situation in which the children, who were being educated at home, had been kept away from their extended family, friends and the outside world. They were also prevented from doing the things that an ordinary child does. Khyra's untimely death was ultimately caused by an overwhelming infection brought on by severe malnutrition – a cause of death you don't expect to see in the western world, let alone Birmingham, in the 21st century."


Posted by Manya on February 4th, 2016
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May 19th:
Enna Isabel Barreto
died on May 19th, 2008

Mr and Mrs Barreto from Mississippi, USA, started adopting children from Guatemala in 2005. By 2008 they had a total of eight, most under the age of three, including 2yo Enna Isabel. The young children were kept in a separate mobile home, and locked at night. The children were fed cereal and bologna sandwiches, rarely bathed, forced to drink hot sauce as punishment and spent hours tied up with duct tape after they "were cutting up." One of the children was frequently locked overnight in a cage inside a closet. Another child was waterboarded on multiple occasions. The dwelling was littered with garbage, food, soiled diapers, dog feces, dirty laundry and spent needles Mrs Barreto used to administer diabetes medication; there was also a puppy mill in the backyard. Marainna, teen daughter of Mrs Barreto, had to drop out of high school in order to care for the children. According to her, adoption inspectors "just stayed in the living room or the dining room, dining room or the den, so nobody has ever, none of them has ever really been to the back trailer."

Enna died of physical abuse and neglect. 17yo Marainna served 5 years in prison. Mr and Mrs Barreto were on the U.S. Marshals Service's 15 Most Wanted Fugitives list for failure to appear on original charges of child neglect, child abuse, tampering with a witness, and manslaughter in the death of Enna and the abuse of six other children. They were on the run for six years, but eventually were caught. Mrs Barreto pleaded guilty and died in prison.


Posted by Manya on March 20th, 2017
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