Dear Mrs. Obama:
I am writing to you today because I respect you very much, and I know how important both the issues of Domestic Violence and the right of everyone to have Affordable Health Care are to you.
I want to introduce you to an amazing woman and advocate Susan Murphy- Milano. Susan is currently dying of Cancer due to the lack of Health Insurance. Everywhere she applied for help turned her down and she was informed that she did not qualify for their services. I know you agree that there is something terribly wrong when a country as great as ours can let this happen to anyone, yet alone someone who has devoted her entire life to saving the lives of others and without once thinking about what it could mean to her own.
Susan grew up in Chicago, the daughter of a 30-year veteran Chicago Police Detective and Violent Crimes Investigator Phillip Murphy. Susan’s father murdered her mother in 1989 and then turned the gun on himself committing suicide. His intent was to kill his daughter as well. On the way to the house to try to save her mother something made her take an unexpected turn on the way. This decision is the only reason Susan is alive today. Had she taken her normal route Susan would not be with us now! Susan lived a life of trying to keep her mother alive her entire life and after her mother was murdered she devoted her entire life to saving others.
This most amazing woman is now on her last days after putting up a good fight. I am writing you today because I know you care. I know you care about the women and children in this country, the state of our health care, and every person’s God given human right. It is not just women and children that Susan has saved; there is no gender bias when it comes to abuses towards another.
Susan is the leading expert on Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence, and at the time when she discovered she had Cancer she was already in stage 4. This all happened just as her lifelong dreams were coming true. Susan is the women who mentored Rev. Neil Schori , Stacy Peterson’s Pastor and taught him everything he knows about Intimate Partner violence. Together they created The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit which is a legal document that can be used in court as legal testimony even if the victim is murdered or missing.
This tragic news about Susan came just as her lifelong work was getting known. Susan was getting invitations from law enforcement agencies all over the country to come and train Law Enforcement and first responders what to look for when they answer a call, or respond to a crime scene. She was preparing to start working at a University where she was given Carte Blanche and offered full use of the Universities resources to help her with her work. She did not apply to work at this University they came to her asking her to please come and head this project. Susan was offered her own Television Show which was scheduled to air this winter. Again she was approached by the producers she did not seek them they sought Susan. These are just a few of the triumphs that have a major impact in the field of Intimate Partner Violence! Susan was now in high demand all over the country. But her work was suddenly halted in its prime due to her health.
Susan had a good chance to recover had she had the treatment she needed. This is a disgrace and an embarrassment for this Country which I know you and the President both agree. I am so sorry that the President’s Health plan has been fought against and has not been put into place. This is something that may have saved not only the life of this amazing woman but could have saved countless other people both through Susan’s work and the health plan combined.
This is what Susan said when she made the announcement about her Cancer:
“My dreams and hard work are now becoming reality.
In early fall there will be a national announcement about the Intimate Partner Violence Institute with two major universities.
A national conference and training hosted by the Naperville Christian Church is scheduled for the first week of October on the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit for law enforcement, prosecutors and first responders.
The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit APP will be at the Apple Store on Monday July, 2, 2012.
Holding My Hand Through Hell will be released nationwide October 1, 2012.
Everything will still happen as scheduled”.
Susan Murphy Milano June 27 2012
Please check out these links and Google her name for more on Susan. I know you will love her as much as I do and as the countless women she has saved
Susan’s Cancer blog Conquering Cancer which she started to try to change the way society looks and Cancer treatment
Susan’s Main Blog Susan Murphy Milano’s Journal to educate the public on Intimate Partner Violence
Document the Abuse website for the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit
Susan’s latest book “Holding My Hand Through Hell” is about her life and what it was like for her growing up in an abusive home. She wrote this book for the purpose of helping others who are living the same hell that Susan grew up living in. After reading this book people will know why Susan is the who she is.
Chicago Tribune article and interview with The Rev. Neil Schori.
Listen here to Rev. Schori interview after the trial of Drew Peterson
Susan Murphy Milano and her work in Chicago. Please watch this video and you will see the great work she has done in the past!
Thank you for taking the time to read this and listen to the interviews.
I would like to invite you to the Facebook prayer page for Susan. You will be in awe of the outpouring of prayers and thoughts of people whose lives were changed just by knowing her.
God Bless you and The President for all the work that has been done and is being done to make our lives better.
Amy J. Matthews
- Paperback: 286 pages
- Publisher: Ice Cube Press
- ISBN#: 978-1888160673
- Foreword by Diane Fanning, Award winning true crime author of Mommy’s Little Girl
This poignant well-written book tells the story of a police officer’s family and a daughter’s quest for justice long after the heart-wrenching murder of her mother. Susan Murphy Milano embraces a legacy of unconditional love and faith to triumph over a life plagued with unspeakable abuse and pain.
Based on a true story, told with the flow of a novel, spiced with frank wisdom and with, Holding My Hand Through Hell encourages the reader to immerse themselves into this family s life and is an inspiration to become an advocate for change in this world we all share.
Holding My Hand Through Hell will incite discussion, debate, and heightened awareness about hope, survival, abuse, murder, and its impact on our society. In the end, it will leave readers both applauding this woman as well as wondering how she escaped, sometimes at the eleventh hour. Twenty years later, she has realized that God must have been holding her hand through hell, delivering her from the evils of her life in order to save others.
“Raw and riveting Holding My Hand Through Hell starts fast and never lets up. In this powerful memoir, author Susan Murphy Milano throws open her personal closet so that we see what drives this woman to tirelessly champion voiceless victims and the people who love them”…… Steve Jackson, NY Times best-selling author.
About Susan Murphy-Milano
SUSAN MURPHY MILANO is a specialist in intimate partner violence and works nationally with domestic violence programs, law enforcement and prosecutors providing technical and consulting services in “high risk” domestic violence and stalking related cases. Her principal objective is to intervene before a victim is seriously injured or killed. Utilizing a procedure which she devised, the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit© Murphy Milano’s clients are all still alive.
SUSAN MURPHY MILANO is the author of DEFENDING OUR LIVES (Doubleday 1996), MOVING OUT, MOVING ON (Kind Living Press 2008), and TIME’S UP (Dog Ear Publishing 2010) which guide those in abusive relationships to a place of freedom and safety.
Susan’s quest for justice was instrumental in the passage of the Illinois Stalking Law and the Lauternberg Act. She has been prominently featured in newspapers, magazines, radio and television including: The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Radio, ABC’S 20/20, Justice Files, E-True Hollywood, CNN, Sunday Today Show Profile, Women’s Day, Family Circle, US News and World Report to name only a few. She has frequently participated in guest media commentary panels on major news programs.
To learn more about Susan and her work, please visit the following sites:
Holding My Hand Through Hell
Book Tour Stops:
Thursday, October 4: Official Launch from Heartland Fall Forum with Jillian Maas Backman and Ice Cube Press Publisher, Steve Semken on radio show, Change Already!
Friday, October 5: Writing is a Crime, Diane Fanning (wrote the foreword)
Saturday, October 6: Shattered Lives with Donna R. Gore LISTEN LIVE
Monday, October 8: Truth, Justice, and All-American Allergen-Free Apple Pie, Heidi Hiatt
Tuesday, October 9: NeilSchori.Com Pastor Neil Schori
Wednesday, October 10: Losing Austin, Finding Myself, Anita Sullivan
Thursday, October 11: Safe Relationships Magazine, Sandra L. Brown, MA
Friday, October 12: Statement Analysis: Peter Hyatt
Tuesday, October 16: Crime Wire with Dennis Griffin LISTEN LIVE
Wednesday, October 17: Justice Cafe
Thursday, October 18: Danielle Pierre
Friday, October 19: Washington Times, Paula Carrasquillo
Monday, October 22: PamelaChapman.Biz Pamela Chapman
Tuesday, October 23: The Roth Show Blog, Dr. Laurie Roth
Wednesday, October 24: AnnyJacoby.Com, Anny Jacoby
Friday, October 26: Doc Bonn Blog, Dr. Scott Bonn
Monday, October 29: Cynthia Caron
Tuesday, October 30: DonnaGore.Com, Donna R. Gore “LadyJustice”
Thursday, November 1: Crime, She Writes, Cathy Scott
Friday, November 2: BurlBarer.Net, Burl Barer
Monday, November 5: Survivors Justice, Patricia McKnight
They did all the things that siblings do when they get together after having been months and miles apart. They went shopping for slippers and chatted about hairdos. They visited their grandmother for Christmas. They sat up late watching movies and eating cookies.
“You know, being sisters.”
Deena Barnes stresses that point in interviews, including her most recent on an Internet radio program, trying to dispel stories swirling about strange men and alcohol in her Northwest Baltimore apartment in the days before her younger half-sister, Phylicia, disappeared on the afternoon of Dec. 28.
More than a month after the 16-year-old from North Carolina went missing wearing her new white slipper-boots, Baltimore police say they have no idea what happened to the track star and honors student who had planned to graduate early from high school and attend Towson University.
As promising leads fizzle, and searches turn up nothing, the baffling case has taken a toll not only on Phylicia’s family but on police as well.
“This is a young girl who was well-liked in high school,” said the lead investigator, Detective Daniel T. Nicholson IV of the homicide unit. “She was doing what any young person would do, visiting her family . . . and she vanished from the face of the earth. That’s hard to believe.”
Nicholson, a 17-year police veteran who has two daughters, said he’s in daily contact with Phylicia’s father, who travels between Baltimore and his home in Atlanta, and with her mother in Monroe, N.C. His biggest fear, he says, is that “it’s not going to be a happy ending.”
Authorities have repeatedly questioned a dozen people who they said had access to Deena Barnes’s basement apartment, including Deena’s ex-boyfriend, the last known person to see Phylicia alive.
Police searched more than three dozen locations, put up billboards, sought national media attention, staffed a round-the-clock hotline and drained sewer water from an old well in a shed. Not a single credible clue or sighting has emerged, they said.
Detectives have said there is no history of family trouble that would cause the teen to run away, no history of drug or alcohol use or abuse, no emotional issues.
Even more troubling, they say, is that no one has reported seeing her since her sister’s ex-boyfriend reported her asleep on the living room couch. The ex-boyfriend now has an attorney; police said several of the people they’ve talked to have retained legal representation.
Phylicia Barnes’s relatives are torn. They want media attention but are reluctant to grant interviews.
Phylicia’s mother, Janice Sallis, has accused 27-year-old Deena of condoning alcohol use and allowing men to come and go from her apartment when Phylicia visited.
The missing girl’s father, Russell Barnes, has denounced Sallis.
The day Phylicia disappeared, Deena said she left for work and texted and talked with Phylicia several times during the morning. Another sister, Kelly Barnes, had planned to pick up Phylicia that afternoon.
Deena said in the radio interview that she spoke to her ex-boyfriend, who said Phylicia was sleeping on the couch when he left. Kelly said she repeatedly tried to contact Phylicia between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., but got no answer.
Deena returned to the apartment about 6 p.m., she told the radio interviewer, and found her sister missing. She called Kelly first, thinking the two were together, then called her father, other relatives, her ex-boyfriend and friends.
At 7:30 p.m., she called police.
Anyone with information on the disappearance of 16-year-old Phylicia Simone Barnes is urged to call Baltimore police at 855-223-0033. The toll-free number is staffed 24 hours a day. Phylicia is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs about 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing a blue pea coat with a hood, a turquoise thermal shirt, blue jeans and white slipper boots and was carrying a caramel-colored purse. Police urge anyone who thinks they have seen Phylicia Barnes to call 911.
Respectfully submitted via The Washingtonpost.com; By Peter Hermann
Baltimore MD. Last week authorities in Baltimore were at a loss for tips and leads in the case of missing Phylicia Barnes. They had made reference to the fact that the case had not gotten national attention. That has changed now.
The Nancy Grace Show featured the case last night and will be covering it again tonite. CNN’s Headline News has also been running spots today about the case. A public outcry for coverage by people online has been ongoing. This service contacted several of the major news channels requesting coverage as a part of that online campaign. But is it too little too late?
Reportedly Baltimore Police Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said “I feel like we missed our golden window in trying to find her, not that we don’t appreciate the efforts, but it would have been great if we had gotten a little more exposure when this was one or two days fresh”. He also said he was grateful for the coverage that the case has now been receiving.
Authorities believe Phylicia has been abducted. They are hoping that someone will see her photo and remember seeing something.
She has been missing over 2 weeks now and today is Phylicia’s birthday. She turned 17 years old today and her whereabouts remain unknown. This must be an especially hard day for her family emotionally. Our thoughts and prayers, along with 10s of thousands of others across the nation, are with them and Phylicia. We all hope for her safe return. There has been Facebook site set up for Phylicia here Pray For Phylicia Barnes.
Authorities have set up a special tip line. Anyone with information on Phylicia Barnes’ disappearance should call 855-223-0033.
Radio Amber Alert Video – Phylicia Barnes
Respectfully submitted via Internet Radio Amber Alerts News Service
HICKORY, N.C. — Kristie Pope decided to create an organization to help fight child abuse after hearing about a 10-year-old disabled girl whose remains were found weeks after she was reported missing.
The Hickory Daily News reported Sunday that Pope started The Zahra Project in memory of Zahra Baker who needed hearing aids and had a prosthetic leg after a battle with cancer. Police are investigating her death as a homicide and no one has been charged with killing her.
Zahra Baker’s stepmother has been charged with obstruction, accused of faking a ransom note to mislead investigators. Elisa Baker also told authorities that Zahra’s body was dismembered after she died. No cause of death has been publicly revealed.
Pope, a 40-year-old mother of three, says 6,000 people are following The Zahra Project that she started on Facebook in October.Neighbors and relatives have said that Elisa Baker had a short temper and was abusive toward her stepdaughter. Caldwell County Department of Social Services investigated the family because Zahra went to school with bruises and a teacher alerted school officials, who have said they are prohibited by law from discussing the case.
“I wanted to get people together who were sick of watching how DSS has failed kids,” Pope said.Pope, a dog trainer who lives in Greensboro, was in Hickory for a dog show when Zahra was reported missing.”It was the closeness of it. It was just up the street from me,” she said. “Here I was, showing my dog and I wondered if I could have made better use of my time.“Part of the goal of The Zahra Project is to get legislation written to try to prevent the deaths of children from abuse.”I think there were a lot of people thinking like I was, wishing we could make a change,” Pope said. “There are strengths in numbers, and we can make a change. We just have to get all our resources together.”As Pope envisions it, “Zahra’s Bill” would create tougher penalties for people who abuse children and would punish parents or legal guardians if they are present when someone else abuses their child among other things.
HICKORY, NC — A North Carolina newspaper is reporting that 10-year-old Zahra Baker’s dismembered body was concealed in a bed comforter and a car cover before being discarded in a dumpster behind a Hudson grocery store, according to court documents.
The Charlotte Observer reports that several warrants were released Tuesday by order of Superior Court Judge Nathaniel Poovey.
Prosecutors wanted them to remain secret, saying their release could jeopardize the investigation.
Zahra Baker, who had used a prosthetic leg and hearing aids after a bout with cancer, was reported missing in October and police say they found her remains earlier this month.
Eleven warrants detail the account of the girl’s stepmother, Elisa Baker, whose lawyers say she led police to the girl’s remains. The warrants say a polygraph test showed deception when police asked if she hurt the girl.
The warrants don’t say how Zahra died. No one has been charged in her death. Elisa Baker is jailed on charges of obstructing the investigation. Zahra’s father, Adam Baker, is free on bond after being arrested on unrelated charges.
According to documents released Tuesday, Elisa Baker –through her attorney– admitted that she and her husband wrapped the girl’s prosthetic leg in a white trash bag and threw it in the apartment dumpster.
The documents also show, Elisa Baker said she and Adam Baker dumped a mattress and box springs at a trash dump.
Meanwhile, a memorial service for Zahra Baker has been postponed.
Her family had planned a public memorial service on Thursday, but Drum Funeral Home in Hickory says it has decided to make the service private and hold it at a later date.
The funeral home will allow guests to stop by and sign a register book and view a tribute with photographs of the girl Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Burial plans for Baker have not been determined. Adam Baker has said in a televised interview that after the case is over, he would like to return to Australia with his daughter’s remains. Adam Baker met his wife on the Internet while he was living in Australia.
More than 1,000 people attended a vigil in downtown Hickory on Nov. 16 — what would have been the girl’s 11th birthday.
Respectfully submitted via ABC11
Chapel Hill, NC Police Searching for Missing Teen, Rosa Morrow
The Chapel Hill Police Department released a report Wednesday that states a 14-year-old girl is missing.
Rosa Morrow was last seen at her residence on Bynum Street at around 10:30 p.m. last Friday, October 22nd. Authorities say Rosa left her residence to meet with friends on Franklin Street and did not return. She is also known to visit the Durham area, where she has friends. Chapel Hill Police say they are currently considering Rosa a runaway.
Rosa is a 14-year-old African American female with brown eyes and short, black hair. She is approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall. If you have any information of the whereabouts of Rosa Morrow, contact the Chapel Hill Police Department at 968-2760.
My only question is……..Rosa was last seen LAST Friday, 10/22; why wasn’t she reported missing way prior to yesterday, an Amber Alert issued, media all over her disappearance? An immediate alert should have been issued AND AS OF THE TIME OF THIS POST ONLY TWO media outlets have reported Rosa missing, 1360WCHL and The Daily Tar Heel. I have not received any missing persons alerts on my cell nor in my emails.
If I have missed something I apologize……….if I haven’t then what the hell is wrong with this picture. Just the possibility of finding her with communities being alerted may have been able to jump in to help and assist.
Isn’t there something wrong here?
A CHILD IS MISSING!
Announcement respectfully submitted via 1360WCHL
Zahra Baker: Her Tragic Demise
Zahra Baker is a little girl who lived with her father and step-mother in Hickory, North Carolina. She is the picture of innocence, freckle-faced and smiling in every photo. She is a cancer survivor, loved by her friends and classmates. She is the proverbial “girl next door.”
Thirteen days ago Zahra Baker was reported missing. No one knows what has happened to Zahra these past two weeks. But what we do know is that she has been for many months a victim of domestic abuse.
The headlines tell the tale of her disappearance and the search for clues for her abductor. It is a tragedy. It is tragic not only because the inquiry into her disappearance quickly became a homicide investigation; it is also tragic because of how she was treated while we know she was alive, and how we reacted.
Nearly every account given by members of her family and by her friends described a life of suffering at the hands of her stepmother. Locked in her room, beaten and bruised, Zahra is like a character found in some fable written long ago. We hope and pray that Zahra’s story will have a miraculous and happy ending. Its beginning, however, has been told and retold in articles and interviews of friends and relatives… and it is a tragedy — a saga that began long before Zahra was reported missing.
The real shame is in the way Zahra was treated by her family and in the tacit acceptance with which we — her friends, neighbors and community — allowed her plight to unfold in our view, in our midst and in our silence.
How many beautiful, bright-eyed little girls must die or go missing before we are willing to reveal domestic violence for the scourge that it is in America?
How many hundreds of thousands of hours must police officers, sheriffs and federal agents spend sifting through garbage containers, mulch piles and ponds before it is too late and a child or a neighbor has gone missing?
How many social workers must open files and police officers respond to complaints, only to leave in despair when family members and friends protect the abusers from prosecution, before we are willing to stand together for what is right without pressure or shame?
How many prosecutors will go to court unprepared or leave frustrated because they or their judges do not consider domestic assaults on loved ones to be “real” crimes, before we can believe that the system works?
How many times will each of us defend someone by asking “what did she do to deserve it?”, before we realize that we have become part of the culture that has to change?
What did little Zahra Baker do to deserve her abuse? What did she do? She faced down cancer with a smile and overcame physical challenges with an irrepressible spirit… that is what she did.
But even this joyful little angel could not overcome or escape the ravaging of what has been described by friends and family as domestic abuse. How many Zahra’s have we watched in silent acceptance of the horrors that have been recounted as her daily life? Whether Zahra Baker is ever found and her abductor or killer brought to justice, her treatment — before her disappearance — is an indictment of us all.
It is not enough for victims to speak out, if we are not willing to listen and to speak with them!
It is not enough for victims to stand up, if we are not willing to help them up and to stand with them!
It is not enough for victims to walk away, unless we are willing to show them a path and to walk with them!
Domestic violence affects one in every three women in America. Who is that one in your life? And, what are you doing today to protect her?
Break the silence; end domestic violence!! ©
Written by David Moretti, Board Member for Becky’s Fund, a national nonprofit organization focused on domestic violence prevention and education.
Learn more about Becky’s Fund and how you can get involved.