National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims

Today is the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims - I would like everyone to know that Morgan will be represented during this presentation.  My sincere thanks to FOHVAMP and COVA for including her, even though Steve and I can not be present.

COVA
This year we observe our nation’s 8th Annual Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. We are planning a commemorative ceremony on Thursday, September 25th.Mistress of Ceremonies: Michelle Adams

Special Guest Speakers: Phil Clark, Leader of the Front Range Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children (POMC), Mark Reichert, Board President, Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons (FOHVAMP)

Time: 11AM – 1PM

Location: Plaza in front of the Denver Crime Laboratory, 1371 Cherokee Street, Denver.  For a map of parking lots in the area with rates please click here.

Families of murder victims are encouraged to bring a picture of their loved one to display. A representative from each family may present the name of their loved one, date of birth, and date of death at the microphone.

September 25th was chosen to honor POMC founders Robert and Charlotte Hullinger of Cincinnati, Ohio, whose daughter was murdered on that date in 1978.

THE ANNUAL EVENT IS CO-SPONSORED BY:  The Front Range Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, Voices of Victims, Denver Police Department Victim Assistance Unit, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons, Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center, Denver District Attorney’s Office, Attorney General’s Office, Division of Criminal Justice, and COVA.

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Morgan Is A Very Bright Light…

Morganwyoungtessi

Morgan with Tessi as a puppy – granted she was a big puppy, but she was very young at the time this picture was taken.  Morgan loved children and animals – they always made her smile.

Morgan was a gentle and sweet soul, existing as one with the earth.  Loved by all, and who’s bright light attracted everyone, and everything – including both light and darkness, people that were good, and people that were evil.

I really miss listening to her play her keyboard and sing.  One of the song that she used to sing almost every day was Hallelujah.  You may think it is just a coincidence, or a sign, or a whisper from an angel, but whatever you may believe in my heart every time I walk into a room and this song is playing or just goes on I “feel” like Morgan is reminding me that she is right there with me.  I “feel” a warm surge go through my back and all the sadness and longing I have to see her again becomes less because I “feel” like she is right there with me.  So on that note I would like to share with you the song below.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMNRXQuvl64

The most beautiful word: Hallelujah.

The most beautiful song, originally written and sung by none other than Buddhist, and Ladies’ Man, Leonard Cohen.  This song has different meanings to a lot of people but it is a beautiful song and one that makes me feel happy inside.

“And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand right here before the Lord of song, with nothing on my tongue but ‘Hallelujah’.”

It’s, as I say, a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion…It’s a rather joyous song. I wanted to write something in the tradition of the hallelujah choruses but from a different point of view…It’s the notion that there is no perfection—that this is a broken world and we live with broken hearts and broken lives but still that is no alibi for anything.

On the contrary, you have to stand up and say hallelujah under those circumstances.

~ Leonard Cohen

And most famously, by Rufus Wainwright, a version that made it into Shrek, the blockbuster children’s fave movie.

I heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do ya?
Well it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to her kitchen chair
And she broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who out drew ya
It’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not someone whos seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hello to Fall 2014 – Tonight is the Autumn Equinox

fallmorgantessiAt 10:29 pm EDT tonight the Earth will have equal amounts of light and darkness – day and night are balanced to nearly 12 hours each all over the world, tonight is called the beginning of Fall and the Autumn Equinox.  Meteorologically speaking, Autumn began on Sept. 1st, but the Autumnal Equinox marks the astronomical start to the Fall season.

In some places like Colorado the leaves are starting to change, there is a briskness in the air, and I must admit this always was my favorite time of the year, and I know Morgan loved it as well.  Now nightfall will come sooner – in 2011 that was not a good thing for us.

Today is a day of reflection for me.  I have been thinking back to the Fall of 2011 when Morgan’s stalking had been ongoing since August 2nd, but that Fall we had no idea that her stalking would end her life in just a few short months.  I remember at that time Morgan was determined not to let the actions of her stalker keep her from the things she loved.  She was frightened, and cautious, but determined not to allow anyone to take her love of life away.  She was enjoying school, ballet, photography and being with her friends.  At that time her stalking terror was confined to our house – she felt much safer away from home.  With nightfall coming earlier her bright days of feeling safe were now being cut shorter with the Fall Equinox.

My days of beating myself up for not being able to protect my daughter are over.  They were very painful days, but I now realize that it was something that I needed to go through in order to finally come to the realization that it wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t her father’s fault, or her siblings fault, or her friends fault that we couldn’t protect her – it was the fault of the person that took her life.  We all wanted to protect her – we all loved Morgan so much.

I now realize that we all make choices in our lives, and when someone chooses to do evil things to another, that is their choice and they are the ones, the only ones, that should carry that burden.  The night Morgan was murdered it was the perfect storm…everything went wrong for Morgan.  She didn’t want to sleep at home, she was scared.  She tried to sleep at a friends house, and when that didn’t work she tried to have another friend sleep over, and when that didn’t work she came home alone.

Steve and I were so exhausted we both made huge mistakes. Earlier in the evening we were all gone out of the house between 6:00 – 8:00 pm.  I shut the dogs up in the laundry room, so it was possible that a person could have come into our home while we were away, and hid out until all were asleep (we didn’t leave the dogs loose like we usually did, because Morgan’s puppy had just ripped up a stuffed animal), and when we returned home Steve turned off the driveway motion alarm, because every time the sheriff’s cruisers drove by it would go off and scare everyone awake in the middle of the night.

After Morgan went to sleep that night we closed the door to our room instead of leaving it open – we always left it open so our dog could guard the whole house (even though she wasn’t much of a guard dog, at least we hoped she could alert us if anything happened.)  Steve and I both took sleeping pills to insure a good nights sleep – normally we took turns, so one of us could be on alert.  Steve was always moving around the location of various motion detectors, and that day he had taken the detector from the back patio to the garage in order to paint it, so it would be more concealed…unfortunately this left the back of our house more accessible that night. And that night Morgan hadn’t managed to get a friend to sleep over, so she was now sleeping in her room alone, on the the other end of our house, approximately 55 feet away from us…much too far away, with both doors closed we couldn’t hear anything.  We thought because she had a panic/alarm button on her nightstand, as well as her cell phone in bed with her, that she could alert us if anything was wrong – she had used both many times.  This was not a good plan because obviously if she were asleep and someone came in her room they could have easily overpowered her in her before she could send a text from her phone of push her panic button…and that night someone tore her panic button off it’s mount and tossed it on the floor away from her bed, and as for her cell phone it was found the next morning under her bathroom door…I now wish we had had cameras inside our home, along with motion alarms inside our home, among so many other regrets.  I just really want others to know what went wrong for us – it may help them somewhere down the line to be more aware than we were of what could possibly happen.  A stalker is always watching – that’s what they do, and they can always wait for that one perfect moment to strike, while you on the other hand have to be hyper-vigilent 24/7.

fallredleavesSo again I will repeat that Fall is a beautiful time of the year, and nature has absolutely nothing to do with Morgan’s murder – only the person that made the choice to kill her, and steal her from this world.  I believe someday there will be justice for Morgan, and her murderer will receive his punishment, along with anyone who assisted or covered for him…just like Morgan’s murderer made a choice, anyone that knows what he did, and doesn’t come forward is just as responsible, and that is a choice that they are making.  It’s not too late for people that have information to come forward…it’s just too late for the one responsible for taking Morgan’s life.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

 

Is there Danger in the Roaring Fork Valley?

peoniasThere is beauty everywhere you look in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado.  Nature is all around, but nature is not the cause of the danger.  The danger is caused by the lack of communication between victims and law enforcement.  Danger because things are not shared with the community.  Danger because of the lack of proper stalking protocol, danger to innocent people because stalking is not being taken seriously.  I would think after what happened to our 20 year old daughter Morgan, that the Garfield County Sheriff would rethink his policies and protocol, but it doesn’t seem like that has happened.  Nothing has changed, we are no longer living there, but I am still being contacted by people that do live there, are currently being stalked, and their cases are being treated the same way as Morgan’s case was treated.

Your elected officials need to know that you’re expecting them to protect, and defend your families and homes, they are supposed to work for you.  They need to know that their job is more than having their officers hand out tickets and fines.  When there is serious crime they need to have officers on their force that have been trained to deal with these situations, situations like kidnapping, rape, sexual assaults against children, stalking, and murder.  And yes, these things do happen in Garfield County, but people usually just don’t get to hear about them.  These are serious situations that happen there, and if there isn’t enough trained officers then they need to bring in another agency to assist, but DO NOT ignore serious crime, DO NOT sweep it under the rug and pretend it is not happening, DO NOT tell the victims and co-victims that there is not enough evidence – have trained law enforcement agents that know how to do an interview, know how to look for evidence, DO NOT just collect salaries to protect and serve and then just do the very least possible, leaving the citizens of your town or county to fend for themselves…there is a reason this is no longer the wild west, there is a reason we have law enforcement – law enforcement is supposed to serve and protect.

Morgan’s felony stalking detective came over for about an hour, once a week, most weeks, and would discuss tactics going forward that he wanted to implement in order to catch her stalker and make an arrest, but then those tactics were never employed – why?  Over and over again he would tell us he could not get approval for any additional hours, so instead of bringing in the dogs to track the stalker in the middle of the night as discussed, instead of doing a stake-out for more than an hour and a half on only one night in 4 months, instead of having batteries in their cameras that actually worked, instead of finding out where their suspect really lived and going there to interview him, instead of putting the suspect under surveillance (and I could go on and on, but won’t), why are they able to afford to put an officer less than a 1/2 mile from our house for 6 hours straight to catch speeders, but could not allocate time for a felony stalking that ultimately ended in a death…someone please tell me how this is even remotely sane, or logical?  Stalking protocol in places like Garfield County need to change, and they need to change now for everyone’s sake!

Right at this very moment there is a victim of stalking in the Roaring Fork Valley (yes, right where Morgan was stalked and killed).  She is scared for her life, and the life of her child.  Her stalker has done this before, he has stalked and kidnapped a former girlfriend, he did jail time for that, and has now been bonded out on this current stalking charge. These are repeat offenders.  They do not stop – the most they do is move on to another target.  At least this victim has a protection order, and if he is caught he should go back to jail.  But the key here is the word “caught” in order to be “caught” there needs to be something in place that will work, and currently there is nothing.

We need law enforcement to have early and effective risk identification, assessment and management to keep victims safe, and hold perpetrators accountable.  Take stalking seriously, speak with the victims, help implement protection orders, and inform the victims of their rights.

Change can, and will be made, and it will come about through the efforts of everyday people who love their families, want them to live a safe life, these are the people that will make this a better world, they will be the ones to change everything…everyday people like you and I.

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For indeed, that’s all who ever have – Margaret Mead

 

 

Morgan skating with her brother – remembering fun birthdays…

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