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A Visual Memorial of People Who Lost Their Lives Due to Domestic Violence in Virginia. Created by: Bedford Domestic Violence Services July 2008. `. Leah Moore Ferguson Appomattox, VA Murdered: January 21, 1955 Age: 32

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a visual memorial of people who lost their lives due to domestic violence in virginia

A Visual Memorial of People Who Lost Their Lives Due to Domestic Violence in Virginia

Created by:

Bedford Domestic Violence Services

July 2008


Leah Moore Ferguson

Appomattox, VA

Murdered: January 21, 1955

Age: 32

After years of abuse, my mother was shot in the back and died 20 minutes later. She was trying to get out of the marriage. He turned the gun on himself, but lived. She left three small children. She was a good, loving person.

Karen Sue Johnson

Lynchburg, VA

Murdered: April 15, 1983

Age: 25

I am a victim of domestic violence homicide along with my friend. We were shot repeatedly by my ex-boyfriend. My last breath was used to say the words, “Help me!” Please do not let our deaths be in vain. Please help put a stop to the violence.

Aurelia Farr, “Puddin”

Orange County, VA

Murdered: October 27, 1984

Age: 45

I was a victim of violent murder, along with one of my two sisters. Since our parents died in a car accident 37 years ago, my surviving sister had only our seven children left of our family. My sister, son, and niece had to fight to keep my killer in jail. Remember me, but pray for the ones I left behind.

Wilma Bowman, “PeeWee”

Madison, VA

Murdered: October 27, 1984

Age: 35

I was a victim of murder, along with my older sister. She was gunned down as she came to my aid. I can no longer speak for myself. My sister, niece, and nephew had to fight to keep my killer in jail. Remember me and remember the loved ones who fought for justice so that I didn’t die in vain.


Debra Annette Baker

Fairfax County, VA

Murdered: July 21, 1989

Age: 25

Debra was stabbed multiple times. Her husband of five months was charged with first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. This caring, gentle, and devoted spirit should be remembered as a rainbow of love and compassion – the opposite of the evil that took her life away.

Vickie Wright

Bedford, VA

Murdered: April 25, 1990

Age: 23

Vickie’s former boyfriend had chased her around her home before brutally slashing her and nearly cutting her head off. Her body was found in her bedroom near her unharmed, but bloody, infant.


Jayne Marie Leebrick

Alexandria, VA

Murdered: September 15, 1991

Age: 33

Jayne was murdered while starting her car to get away from her abusive husband. Using a 9mm handgun, he shot her seven times on the driver’s side and walked around to the passenger side and shot her again before a witness took the gun from him. PLEASE REMEMBER MY NAME.

Christopher Montgomery Sanders

Amherst, VA

Murdered: November 4, 1991

Age: 8

I was 8 years old when my life was ended. I should be in college now, but instead I am in my grave. I was murdered in my bed by my mother, the person who should have been protecting me. She stabbed me many times with an ax and then set me on fire. Please remember me and make sure that she is never released from prison to harm anyone else.

Marybeth Ann Sahnow

Emporia, VA

Murdered: April 1, 1994

Age: 23

Marybeth’s ex-boyfriend carried a rifle into the store where she worked. He shot her twice after she ran from the store to protect her customers’ safety. Marybeth always put others ahead of herself. She died alone in an alley. Four children now go through every day without their mother.

Loria Sluder

Bedford, VA

Murdered: June 4, 1995

Age: 31

Her estranged husband shot her in the head at close range

while she was sitting on the floor.


Elizabeth Claire Strother, “Beth”

Ashland, VA

Murdered: March 14, 1995

Age: 22

Beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend.

I am a victim of domestic violence homicide. I can no longer speak for myself. Please do not let my death be in vain. If you are angry or sad, stand up and speak for those of us who are screaming from our graves. Help put a stop to the violence and please, REMEMBER MY NAME.

Sylvia Gregory

Richmond, VA

Murdered: June 9, 1997

Age: 21

Hollow words: I love you, I’m sorry, I will never hurt you. Yet he destroyed you with verbal and physical abuse. You kept silent, thinking no one could help you. It was not love. It was control. If it was love, he would not have killed you.

Beverly Wells

Bedford, VA

Murdered: May 15, 1998

Age: 36

Earlier on this month, Beverly had a protective order

served against her estranged husband.

On this date her estranged husband entered her home and told her five children to leave the residence and then shot her with a rifle which resulted in her death.

Sadie Trent

Farmville, VA

Murdered: June 25, 1998

Age: 64

Sadie was shot several times by her husband. She died in her bedroom on the floor. Her husband was charged with first degree murder.

Cynthia Brinn

Bedford, VA

Murdered: August 1, 1999

Age: 32

Cynthia was shot twice with a 12 gauge shot gun by her estranged husband. She left behind a 6 year old son.


Gwen Lee Beyer Kaull

Chesterfield, VA

Murdered: January 10, 1999

Age: 42

I am a victim of domestic violence homicide. I was not ready to die and leave my young son to grieve for me. The night a gun was placed to my head, my murderer did not care about the pain he inflicted on my son, mother, and family as he proceeded to take my life. Please remember me.

Andrea Faith Carter

Goochland, VA

Murdered: July 8, 1999

Age: 33

Beloved mother, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, and friend. Andrea was shot several times in the chest while sitting in her car at work. She died at the scene.


Valerie Anne Baker, “Bubbe”

Wise County, VA

Murdered: November 6, 1999

Age: 20

Beloved daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend.

I was murdered on my 20th birthday by someone I only knew for 75 days and dated briefly. He was very possessive. Don’t think this cannot happen to you. Please don’t let my death be in vain. Speak up because we cannot and please, REMEMBER MY NAME.

Ruby Farley

Bedford, VA

Murdered: May 19, 2000


A few weeks before her murder, she obtained a protective order against her husband. She was beaten to death in her chest by her husband with his cane.

Ernestine Green Puryear, “Tina”

Richmond, VA

Murdered: March 11, 2000

Age: 42

Tina was shot once in the head while she crouched down hiding in a closet in her home. She died in the closet where she was discovered by the police. Tina’s boyfriend was charged with her murder. We love you Tina.


Suzanne McCoy Arena

Rice, VA

Murdered: July 5, 2000

Age: 78

Owner of the vintage clothing store “Suzi’s Antiques” and loved by all who knew her. Devoted Wife, Mother, and Grandmother. A great lady whose life came to a tragic end when she was murdered along with her daughter by her daughter’s ex-husband.

Susan Brockert Varner, “Suzi”

Farmville, VA

Murdered: July 5, 2000

Age: 50

This amazing woman who was so full of life and smiles and love for those around her was brutally murdered in her home by her ex-husband. The man then drove to the home of Suzi’s mother and murdered her as well. These were senseless killings that could have been prevented.

Hope Allen Johnson

New Kent County, VA

Murdered: September 21, 2000

Age: 22

In an act of bravery, I decided to no longer be a victim of domestic violence. I wanted to be happy and enjoy life with my two children. My husband hired his friends and together they ended my life and stole my children’s joy. For me and my children – help put a stop to this violence.

Brenda Fay Moore

Lee County, VA

Murdered: September 22, 2000

Age: 33

Beloved daughter, sister, mother, niece, sister-in-law, cousin, and friend. I am a victim of domestic violence homicide. After ten years of abuse, I was shot

to death just as I prepared to start a new life. I can no longer warn those of you

who are in an abusive situation, but if I could I would tell you to fear for your life.

Do not let your life be destroyed as mine was. Always remember what happened

that day and remember my name.


Thomas Ezell, “Edwin”

Mecklenburg County, VA

Murdered: October 28, 2000

Age: 56

Our loss was great and tragic. Edwin was a dear brother, loved and respected. He was killed by a gunshot. With prayers for peace his brothers and sisters, children of the late Vela and Dewey Ezell, will remember him always.


Carolyn Miller

Chesterfield, VA

Murdered: December 5, 2000

Age: 57

I was the mother of two daughters, grandmother of five. Many called me a loving, gentle soul. I was brutally beaten and left to die. Please do not let my death be in vain. I WAS important. I WAS worthy. Please remember my name.

Tonya Marie Brown

Tazewell County, VA

Murdered: January 5, 2001

Age: 36

Tonya was shot in the back while trying to run away from her husband’s violence. She was a loving mother who lived for her children. Now she will never see them grow up.

Michelle Yvette Woods

Bassett, VA

Murdered: January 20, 2001

Age: 33

Michelle died from multiple gunshot wounds to her chest. She was shot by an ex-boyfriend (her children’s father) who had only been released about a year before on a malicious wounding charge against her. We need stricter laws for perpetrators. Let us remember the victims.

Amanda Christine Addair Franklin

Boydton, VA

Murdered: February 18, 2001

Age: 22

I was murdered by my husband. Please let this shield stand as a memorial to the love I have for my daughters, so they will know the truth and remember why I’m gone but never forgotten.

Nancy Lee Bland

Cartersville, VA

Murdered: March 3, 2001

Age: 41

Nancy loved life and would always lend a hand to those less fortunate than herself. She was shot by a “close” friend who said he loved her. He committed this horrible act in front of his young teenage daughter. He was a convicted felon who said he had “turned his life around,” yet he possessed a handgun, another felony in the City of Richmond. Help put a stop to this violence.

Gracie Yvette Dillard

Lynchburg, VA

Murdered: March 6, 2001

Age: 28

Our very much loved daughter, sister, mother, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend was shot to death in front of her children, just eleven days before her 29th birthday. She died on an apartment floor after fleeing for help. Her former boyfriend was charged with first-degree murder, but was sentenced to only 21 years.


Tameka M. Bond

Richmond, VA

Murdered: March 26, 2001

Age: 23

Beloved daughter, mother, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend.Killed by her boyfriend, father of her two children. “You were called away so suddenly without a last goodbye only God, in His loving mercy

knows the reason why. The flowers we lay upon your grave may wither and decay. But the love we have for you will never fade away.”

Karen Williams East

Lynchburg, VA

Murdered: April 28, 2001

Age: 45

Karen was brutally murdered by her ex-husband as she lay sleeping in her home with her two youngest daughters. Her memory will remain in the hearts of all the friends and family she left behind. Don’t let her death be in vain. Help stop domestic violence.

Jack Tunstal Gowen

Nelson County, VA

Murdered: August 17, 2001

Age: 63

Jack was shot and left to bleed to death on the floor of his family room. His second wife of only 3 years was charged with first-degree murder in his death.


Candace Renee Gibson, “Ramey”

Wise County, VA

Murdered: October 15, 2001

Age: 26

Shot four times by her husband.

“Your trials are over, You made the crossing,

Rest my sweet child, Spread your wings and fly.

Your pain is over, Your earthly light was snuffed out,

Your heavenly light will shine forever.”

We love you.

Sigrid Carmen Salinas

Chesterfield, VA

Murdered: November 2, 2001

Age: 32

I was the mother of two and I was a dental student. I left behind my parents, my sister, and many wonderful, true friends. Please take action so my being murdered along with my two innocent children will not be in vain.

Stefan Gabriel Salinas

Chesterfield, VA

Murdered: November 2, 2001

Age: 13

I was a rascal of a boy who wanted to go to Duke University. I left behind my grandparents, an aunt and uncle, and all my buddies. Please create programs on all levels to prevent this from happening to another family.

Erika Blair Salinas

Chesterfield, VA

Murdered: November 2, 2001

Age: 11

I was in the gifted program at school. My ambition was to be a Harvard attorney because I wanted to defend innocent people. I left behind my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, and many good friends. Please allow the law to protect innocent victims, rather than allowing sociopaths to prey on the innocent.


Gloucester, VA

Murdered: December 3, 2001

Age: 67

Loving mother of four, grandmother of nine, and great-grandmother of two. We were married seven years. He gradually changed. First the verbal abuse began, then the physical abuse. I suffered in silence with fear and love for my family. He strangled me when I said I wanted a divorce. I didn’t ask for help. Please don’t let anyone suffer in silence. Tell them “Jeannie said to ask for help.” Stop the violence! Enjoy life and your family.

Brensia Elizabeth Champ

Richmond, VA

Murdered: December 20, 2001

Age: 38

Brensia, also known as “Tuss,” was a good and loving mother with a million dollar smile and a heart of gold. The oldest of five sisters, she was known for helping everyone she met. Brensia was shot to death in her sleep by her boyfriend of nine years, just days after she told him of her plans to end the relationship. He said that if he couldn’t have her, no one would. Brensia’s teenage daughter was also shot, but she miraculously survived.


Maya LaJuan Davidson-Cooper

Arlington, VA

Murdered: January 20, 2002

Age: 21

Beloved mother, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend.

I was shot to death by my estranged husband. I cannot speak for myself anymore. Don’t be afraid to talk to the ones that love you and want to help you! I wish I would have!!


Marguerite Diggs Harcum

Mathews County, VA

Murdered: February 21, 2002

Age: 60

Marguerite was shot by her husband on January 29, 2002 and died 23 days later. Beloved Daughter, Sister, and Sister-in-Law. Special Aunt, Cousin, and Friend.

Latoria L. Smith

Roanoke, VA

Murdered: January 7, 2005

Age: 21

Latoria was murdered by her boyfriend who then committed suicide.

Desiree Jennings

Roanoke, VA

Murdered: February 4, 2005

Age: 20

Desiree was murdered by her boyfriend.

Wendy Mills

Roanoke, VA

Murdered: March 6, 2005

Age: 29

Wendy was murdered by her husband who later committed suicide.

Diana Lynn Blaney

Roanoke, VA

Murdered: April 9, 2005

Age: 43

Diana was murdered by her son’s ex-girlfriend.

Ashley Black

Roanoke, VA

Murdered: April 23, 2005

Age: 28

Ashley was murdered by her husband who then committed suicide.

Sabrina Reed

Roanoke, VA

Murdered: September 2, 2005


Sabrina was shot and killed by her estranged husband while

exchanging their daughter for visitation.


Donald Moon

Campbell County, VA

Murdered: April 17, 2006

Age: 35

Donald was stabbed to death by his wife. He was a good son, brother, a great father, husband and a role model for other young men. He was always looking for bigger and better things in life.

Sherri Conner

Bedford, VA

Murdered: September 14, 2007

Age: 43

Sherri was shot multiple times in the chest by a former

boyfriend while her 11 year old son was in the home.

Jocelyn Earnest

Bedford, VA

Murdered: December 19, 2007

Age: 38

Jocelyn was shot to death in her home with a .357 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver and her husband has been indicted for her murder.

Every 3 to 4 days in 2005, a Virginian was killed by an intimate partner

(Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, July 2008).

Each year an estimated 3 to 10 million children are exposed to domestic violence

(American Psychology Association, May 2008)


This power point was created by

Bedford Domestic Violence Services

to pay tribute to those who paid the

ultimate price with their lives and

so that their memory will

continue to live on.