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SILENT WITNESS INITIATIVE

In 1990, the Silent Witness Initiative began promoting and educating to support an end to domestic violence through community based exhibits.  It started with a small group of volunteers in one state and grew into an international presence, with projects in all 50 states and 23 countries.

Silent Witness International is the leading voice that honors the lives of domestic violence homicide victims through family support, community connections, and advocacy for change.

Each silhouette has a story of a domestic violence murder that has happened in Michigan since 2020.  We recognize the emotional weight this project carries while also recognizing the reality for many victims and their families in the State of Michigan.

Below are the stories that were used on the silhouettes in the community and links to their original news article.

 

BRIANNA BATES, AGE 31
ZENZIA BATES, AGE 6   
PORTAGE,  MI

Brianna and Zenzia were shot and killed by Brianna’s husband and Zenzia’s father, Henry Lee Bates Jr., age 39, on August 30, 2022. Henry Lee Bates Jr. then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. Police responded twice within two weeks earlier in the year to reports of domestic violence. Henry Bates was violating a Personal Protection Order at the time of the 2nd incident. Misdemeanor charges were filed in both incidents and later dismissed. Their 3 other children, ages 13, 11, and 3 managed to flee the home during the shooting. Brianna was known to be a hard worker as she worked and attended school full-time. Her mother commented that she worked hard to make sure her kids needed nothing. She loved taking care of her children more than anything.


Wife reported domestic violence twice in months before Portage murder-suicide, records say - mlive.com

TIRANY L. SAVAGE, AGE 35 
DAYTON COWDREY, AGE 13     
KIM L. EBRIGHT, AGE 58
HOUGHTON LAKE, MI

Tirany, her son, Dayton and her mother, Kim, were all shot and killed by Tirany’s husband, Bo E. Savage, age 35. He then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. All 4 people were found on July 10, 2022. Police were previously called multiple times, but were unable to arrest her husband. Tirany filed for a Personal Protection Order, but it was denied on June 27, 2022. Tirany filed for divorce on July 7, 2022.  Within weeks of filing for the Personal Protection Order and days of filing for a divorce; Tirany, her son and her mother were all murdered. Tirany had a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing and worked as a Manager of Case Care Management at Mid-Michigan Community Health Services of Houghton Lake. She was known to be an overachiever who was involved in her community. She had a way to always make those around her feel special. It was said from a friend that “Tirany’s infectious smile could light up any room and she never met a stranger.”


Michigan mother killed by husband along with son, and mother called 911 twice after filing for protection order - mlive.com

 QUINN HALLACY, AGE 32

 HOLLAND,  MI

Quinn was repeatedly stabbed and killed with a large kitchen knife by her husband, Matthew Richard Hallacy, age 45, on July 11, 2022. Their 3 children were in the home at the time, but none were physically harmed. Two of their children ran to a neighbor’s house saying that “their father had just killed their mother.” Matthew Richard Hallacy is being charged with one count of open murder. Quinn was working towards her bachelor’s degree in social work. She loved painting and crafting. She had a huge heart and loved taking care of animals, especially her ducks. Her friends said she had a beautiful soul and her incredible personality will truly be missed by all who knew her.


https://www.woodtv.com/news/ottawa-county/man-charged-with-murder-of-wife-near-holland/

DAWN GILLARD, AGE 40   
KATELYNN GILLARD, AGE 6     
RONALD GILLARD, AGE 4      
JOSHUA GILLARD, AGE 3
AUSTIN TOWNSHIP,  MI

Dawn, Katelynn, Ronald, and Joshua were all shot and killed by Dawn’s husband, Charles Robert Gillard, Sr., age 51, on May 27, 2022. He also shot himself, but survived. He has since been charged with felony murder. Dawn’s parents reflected that their daughter had an effervescent smile, she enjoyed honing her skills in the kitchen, cooking up fabulous meals, relishing in the joy it brought others. Dawn spent her free time keeping connections with friends where she was active on social media and frequenting local football games.
Becoming a mom was a pinnacle of Dawn's life. Her children quickly became the focus of her drive and making their world a place of joy. Dawn was an active mom, keeping involved with all aspects of the children's lives. She loved to take them out in nature for long walks and fostering their wonder of the world. She and her three youngest children will forever be tied together in life and in death.


‘Hug your kids,’ school leader says after 3 children, woman killed in domestic situation - mlive.com

DYLAN THEBO, AGE 3
LOWELL,  MI

Dylan was fatally shot by his father, Derek Thebo, age 32, who then fatally shot himself and committed suicide. Their bodies were found by police on September 1, 2021. Dylan’s mother and Derek Thebo’s wife, Katlyn Hall, was in the process of getting a divorce when the murder-suicide happened. In March 2021, she obtained a Personal Protection Order, but was encouraged to enter into a mutual restraining order. Because there was no protection order, Derek Thebo was able to purchase firearms. He had threatened to kill his family in January 2021. He violated the mutual restraining order in April/May 2021, Katlynn filed a complaint with the court. He had supervised parenting time with Dylan, but on August 13, 2021, he was granted unsupervised visits. In later August 2021, Derek Thebo used one of the firearms he purchased and murdered his son, Dylan. Katlynn is working with the Kent County Domestic Violence Coalition to help create changes in the handling of domestic violence cases.

Dylan had a very creative and imaginative mind, always wanting to build things and figure out how they worked. He loved cars, big trucks, trains and especially excavators. He had a large personality for such a small person and will always be remembered for the comical and sweet things he would say and do. One of his most favorite things in the world was spending time with his family. He loved to sing and dance with them to what he called "Dylan's songs". Even though he is no longer with his family, his life and light will be carried in their hearts forever.


Mother whose son, 3, died in murder-suicide works to change handling of domestic violence cases - mlive.com 

SARAH GRANT, AGE 45
WESTLAND, MI

Sarah was stabbed to death with a pair of scissors on May 3, 2022 by her husband, William Scott Grant, age 49. He was charged with murder and torture. Sarah leaves behind two daughters. Days after Sarah’s death, loved ones posted tributes in honor of Mother’s Day. One description read, “Sarah was such a kind-hearted person and she will never be forgotten!” “She had a vibrant personality and was kind, caring and beautiful.”


https://people.com/crime/michigan-husband-charged-with-murder-torture-after-he-allegedly-kills-wife-with-scissors/

TINA LANIS, AGE 56
WALLED LAKE,  MI

Igor Lanis, age 53, fatally shot his wife, Tina, and their family dog on September 11,2022. Tina was shot at least 4 times in the back while trying to escape the family home. The family dog was shot multiple times. He also shot their 25-year-old daughter in the back and legs. The daughter called 911 and was attempting to crawl out of the house when officers assisted her and took her to safety. Igor Lanis then walked out the front door with a shotgun and fired at the officers. The officers shot back and fatally wounded him.

Tina worked as an Occupancy Specialist at Jewish Senior Life of Metropolitan Detroit. The CEO of Jewish Senior Life said “Tina was a much-beloved employee. Her professionalism, compassion and warmth were appreciated by all her co-workers and residents, who considered her a trusted friend and essential support.” She will be sorely missed by all.


https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/questions-remain-in-walled-lake-fatal-shooting-after-husband-kills-wife-and-shoot-daughter

NICOLE ALLISON, AGE 27
LENAWEE COUNTY, MI

Nicole was found fatally shot at least once on July 4, 2022. Her husband, Michael Allison, age 44, was outside the home when officers who were called to the scene, talked him into putting down a shotgun. There was a domestic violence dispute inside the home. Nicole attempted to flee the area, but her husband confronted her outside of the home where she was killed. Michael Allison was taken into police custody and is being charged with open murder. Nicole was a graduate of Adrian High School, Class of 2013. She then went on to graduate from Siena Heights University. Nicole was a Star Wars & Harry Potter enthusiast. She loved spending time with her children doing crafts & teaching them how to play sports. 


https://www.wtol.com/article/news/crime/woman-killed-husband-in-custody-following-lenawee-county-shooting/512-85664f00-2167-4b19-8661-592234ddc1b4

TERESA SANCHEZ, AGE 42
CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP,  MI

Teresa died of injuries at a reported car crash on February 13, 2022. After an investigation, it was determined this was not consistent with a traffic crash. Her death was the result of a violent domestic relationship. Ex-convict, John Robert Galvan, age 42, was charged with one count of reckless driving causing death, one count of manslaughter with a motor vehicle, one count of failure to stop at the scene of an accident when at fault, causing death; and one count of driving on a suspended license, causing death. Teresa was the mother of 3 children.


Man charged in death of woman found in intersection - mlive.com

HAYLEY SMITH, AGE 27
SAULT STE MARIE, MI

Hayley was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, Jacob Mckerchie, age 28 on August 10, 2021. Hayley’s throat was severely lacerated. He was charged with open murder. In July 2022, Mckerchie was sentenced up to 50 years in prison for her murder. He will be eligible for parole after 22 years and 6 months. Hayley graduated from Soo High School, Class of 2011. While in school, she enjoyed art and photography and carried these passions until her death. She also loved animals, especially dogs. She was known to have a radiating smile, a helpful spirit and a delightful soul.


U.P. man gets up to 50 years for murder of ex-girlfriend by cutting her throat - mlive.com

COURTNEY NEELY, AGE 30
YPSILANTI, MI

Courtney was shot in the head and killed by her ex-boyfriend, Michael Duane Taylor, and the father of their 4-month-old daughter on July 15, 2020. He then shot and killed himself. Their 4-month-old daughter survived. Previously, Michael Taylor was arrested on April 15, 2020 for assaulting Courtney, but was released on a personal recognizance bond on April 17, 2020.  Courtney left the relationship, sought help, safety, and a new life for her and her infant daughter.


‘I told her he would kill her one day,’ sister of woman killed in murder-suicide says - mlive.com 

AMBER GUICHELAAR, AGE 32
KENTWOOD,  MI

Amber was strangled and killed at her home on November 16, 2020. Her husband James Richard Guichelaar, age 36, was charged with open murder. In April 2022, he was found guilty and sentenced to at least 33 years in prison. They had 2 young children and Amber was pregnant with their third child at the time her husband killed her. “You intentionally killed her,” said Kent County Judge Mark Trusock at sentencing. “There’s just no justification for this brutal and senseless murder. There’s none whatsoever.” Amber was a well-liked teacher in the Grand Rapids area. Amber had a huge heart and a love for Jesus.


https://www.wzzm13.com/article/news/local/kentwood/kentwood-man-sentenced-to-prison-for-killing-wife/69-9973aa57-a10f-4b94-a3a1-20316a2d77c7