True Story: I Lost My Sister to Domestic Violence

This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting/challenging/amazing things. This is the story of Tracy and her sister Larson, who she lost to domestic violence.Can you tell us about your sister?
Larson was 25 and worked at Tampa General Hospital as a NICU Nurse. She loved her work and loved that she was doing something worthwhile. As a single mother, she devoted her life to finding a cure for her autistic son, Aidric. She spent countless hours doing research, taking him to doctors and therapy. She had him on a gluten-free casein-free diet. Her dream was that Aidric would grow up to be a functioning adult. In fact, her drive to be a nurse stemmed from chis autism and the hope to go into a specialized field to not only help her son but others.

She was an amazing person. She was a force of nature that drew you in and drove you crazy! She was incredibly beautiful, kind, funny…she had a contagious personality. She could make me laugh like no other person on the face of this earth. She was my best friend and confidant. I never had to worry about doing or saying the right thing, I could just be when I was with her. She supported me and always wanted the best for me. She had a very special relationship with both of my children and they absolutely adored their Aunt Lar-Lar. She had a ton of friends and people just wanted her around because she could light up the room. She has touched more people’s lives in her 25 years that most people ever will…she was special and way too perfect for this world.

Can you tell us about the man who did this?
He owned a barber shop where my sister took her son to get his hair cut. He wooed my sister for a good 6 months before she agreed to go on a date. They were only together about 7 months and the very first time he became violent with her, she grabbed her son, left and never looked back. She filed for a protective injunction immediately after and got it. During the injunction process, his background came out. It turns out that two other women had restraining orders against him and he had a list of charges against him, including cocaine trafficking.

Were you aware that she was having trouble with him?
The relationship wasn’t like that. He was a con artist. We had him around our family, we met his on many occasions. He was a little shy and stand off-ish but he was great with the kids and Larsen seemed happy.

What lead to her death?
We are not sure of all the details and probably never will be. She had a restraining order against him and had no contact for about a month. He had been stalking her and she filed reports with the police but they couldn’t prove it was him. She was a strong, smart woman and did everything within her power to protect herself and her son. She did everything right, but you can’t stop a deranged man with just a piece of paper.

Your sister left behind an autistic son. Where will he live now? How is he handling all of this?
Aidric is in custody of my parents (his grandparents) right now and they are hoping to start the adoption process.They have helped my sister raise and care for Aidric since he was born and he loves them as much as they love him. No one really knows what Aidric understands but he does ask for his mommy.

What we do know is that he is now, and will continue to be, surrounded by all the love we can give him. Our family has set up a trust fund (or assistance fund) for Aidric so that my parents can continue to give him everything he needs, more than my sister could even think of giving him. He still needs the special food and therapy. One hour with a DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctor is $300/hr, and they don’t take insurance. I made a small grocery run for him the other day, just to get a few snack ans the bill was over $50. I say this to make everyone aware of the costs my family, and my sister, deals with on a daily basis. We need help and are not afraid to ask for it.

What has happen to this man?
This man is a coward of the worst kind. His murder of my sister was preplanned. He intended to run but only got one city away. He was running from the police, lost control of his car and crashed it. The vehicle exploded and he burned to death. I know I speak for my family when I say we are grateful that he died. We are barely getting through this without the thought of having to meet that man face to face again. We can at least begin to heal and focus on Aidric.

I can only imagine how you and your family feel. How are you dealing with this?
Lots and lots of prayer. We are a large, very close and loving family. We have all been leaning on each other and our many, many close friends that have shown so much love and support. We seem to work in cycles, so when one person loses it, someone is there to pick them up and then we switch. If it wasn’t for the strength of my family, I don’t know if I could deal with this. We try to remember how much we loved her and laughed with her and we are holding onto those memories…i think that is the best we can do.

What advice would you give to someone who has a friend or family member who is experiencing domestic violence?
Get in their business. WAY IN. Tell them the truth, hurt their feelings, get angry with them. Be real with them. I think the situation my sister was very different than most domestic violence cases so it is hard for me to compare what she did to what others may be going through. All I know is that we knew something was off with that man and we let it slide because he was full of excuses that Larsen believed. No one ever thinks that someone they know or love will kill them, but it happens ALL THE TIME.

My family is now ‘those people’ and as cliche’ as it is, if it can happen to us, it can happen to you. Think about a little boy who no longer has his mother, think about your sister or daughter or best friend being murdered because you wanted to “support” their decision to stay. And please, follow your instincts. You don’t need to stay with anyone that is violent or abusive. Don’t let shame or pride keep you in a bad situation or keep you from talking to someone who is. Our hope by sharing this story is that someone will learn from our tragedy.

If you’d like to help Aidric and his family, please consider donating:

Have you or anyone you know been affected by domestic violence?

8 Comments

Anonymous

Heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing your story and I hope some peace comes to your family in knowing that he can't hurt anyone again.

Our family lost my mother's sister to domestic violence when I was a child, and while I was too young to remember I understand how something like this can change a family. Sickeningly, the man who did it walked free after serving the maximum sentence for murder in my country (14 years).

My thoughts and best wishes go out to little Aidric and may the support and love you have for each other help you through.

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Kate

Such a sad story and I am so sorry that this happened. I also want to say THANK YOU for sharing, and for giving such a great answer to the last question!

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Vanessa

Thank you for sharing this. My boyfriend's mother is a victim of domestic violence, and I am in total agreement with the advice here. I can't tell you how frustrating and tiring it is to deal with a domestic violence survivor. My boyfriend's mother believes all the things her (soon-to-be ex) husband tells her, including "I love you," "I didn't mean it," "everyone else is just crazy," and "you make me hit you" and "you're the reason I'm an alcoholic" and "you can't make it without me." She's working on the divorce now, which is great, but the most awful thing is to talk with her and see how much she can't see through this man. Abusers are manipulative, and the survivors of these relationships live on a completely different planet at times– and it's not their fault. I think the one thing I've learned through bearing witness to all this is that what you see in the media with women going back to the men who beat them is true. In only a few months she went from having a very restrictive restraining order to loosening it to the point that this man lives in the in-law apartment at their house. She still wants him to come to my boyfriend's graduation with her because she can't understand why my boyfriend doesn't want to see him. She always makes excuses. It makes you want to scream, and as much as she pushes back, we have to keep pushing forward. For now, yes, she thinks we're all being unreasonable and babying her and being too hard on the abuser, but she needs every bit of help she can get.

So I know that was long-winded, but anyone who ever knows someone who's in this kind of situation needs to know that lives are at stake, and if you love someone, you'll go to any length to get them out of this kind of relationship. They can't do it alone.

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Dee

My aunt was constantly verbally (and maybe even physically, can't remember the details) by her husband. She was terrified of him and turned their entire circle of friends against her, making her look like she was crazy. She was in a different country, with only one or two close friends. I can't remember the details (or maybe I blocked them out?) but she ended up killing herself. Her "husband" kept the daughter, and hates our family (especially my mother) with a passion. He hasn't let us see her since she was about 5, and she's about 13 now. I think the worst part is knowing that she must have felt so alone, hopeless and powerless. This man had the entire town believing his lies, and she knew she had no chance of keeping her daughter and leaving. The only hope my family has of seeing her is that maybe when she's old enough she will want to meet us.
This was (and still is) a very painful chapter in our family's life, but it's important to not forget how one man could break my aunt's spirit in such a cruel manner. Thank you for posting this.

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Nubby Tongue

My best friend was shot and killed by her boyfriend when she was 17. No one knows if it was an accident or on purpose. He was only in jail for seven months of his one year sentence, which absolutely enrages me.

There's a weird sense of kindredness in hearing that other people have gone through a similar loss. Thanks for sharing. <3

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Cassandra Lynn

Sarah,
I am so happy to see how great this story turned out! Thank you so much for featuring Larsen and her son in one of your posts. It helps knowing her story can do some good.
Thanks again!

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