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Sunday, January 11, 2009

[MI] Lori MEULMAN DeKleine remembered

Lori DeKleine remembered
Family and friends gather for service one year after murder of wife by officer

The Holland Sentinel
Posted Jan 10, 2009

In the months before her murder, Lori DeKleine began to “branch out.”

She started to confide in her sister and others about the abuse and manipulation she was subjected to by her husband, who at the time was a Holland police officer.

That’s why last summer, members of Holland Heights Christian Reformed Church decided that the best way to remember Lori, who loved gardening, would be to plant a tree outside the church.

On Saturday, Jan. 10, family and friends of Lori DeKleine gathered around that tree for a candlelight vigil — exactly one year after her murder.

The memorial took place just across the street from the Calvin Avenue home where Lori DeKleine, 43, was found dead in her basement on Jan. 10, 2008.

Her husband, Ken DeKleine, against whom Lori DeKleine had once filed a restraining order, was convicted of her murder in July and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

With a portrait of Lori positioned on a table behind him, senior pastor George DeJong led a group of about 40 people in attendance through prayer during the ceremony.

“I really don’t believe that Lori’s time on earth was over, but it was taken by Ken,” DeJong said. “It was received by God, no question. But it was robbed.”

Lori’s sister, Patti Ticknor, recalled Lori’s skill as a writer during the memorial service.

Ticknor remembered a book Lori composed for her parents called “My Heart,” inspired by her faith, for Christmas in 2007.

Material from that book would later be drawn for Lori’s funeral service.

“She actually wrote her own funeral,” Ticknor said.

That Christmas remains etched in Ticknor’s memory, because it was a time when she was just beginning to know Lori as a friend, she said. It was also the last time she would see Lori alive.

For years, the sisters were at odds — often due to Ken DeKleine’s manipulative behavior, she said.

Ken appeared to be one of the “nicest, gentlest” people, Ticknor said, often causing her to question Lori’s side of the story.

“He would give me information that built a case against Lori,” she said.

Ticknor’s relationship with Lori began to change when the sisters began working together, after Lori had separated from Ken. The improvement showed at that last Christmas together, Ticknor said.

“We were like long-lost friends,” she said. “My parents’ faces glowed.”

Since Lori’s murder, Ticknor said she’s received support from organizations such as Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence.

The organization helps women who are victims of domestic violence to find their voices.

Before her death, Lori may have felt that her voice had been silenced, friend Suzy Doyle said.

During the memorial, Doyle recalled walking Lori through the steps to apply for a personal protection order in January 2007, thinking it would help to keep Ken away from her.

“I was confident the criminal justice system would take this woman seriously,” Doyle said. “The judge assured her that while Ken was powerful, he (the judge) was powerful, too.”

Since Lori’s murder, several members of the Holland Police Department have apologized to her parents for not coming to Lori’s aid, Ticknor said.

As the service closed, DeJong reminded gatherers not to forget Lori’s murder — but also not to give Ken DeKleine the power to continue manipulating the emotions of those she loved.

“We must be conscious of the chaos that happened down this street, but not controlled by it,” he said.  [LINK]



1 comment:

  1. LETTER - Family reflects on anniversary of death of Lori DeKleine, MI - 6 hours ago
    By Jena and Paul Meulman, Patti and Steve Ticknor
    Posted Jan 09, 2009 @ 09:54 PM

    It was one year ago today, Jan. 10, 2008, that our daughter, Lori Meulman DeKleine, was brutally murdered by her husband, Holland police officer Ken DeKleine. It has been a very difficult year for our family as we learn to live our lives without our daughter, sister and mother to our grandchildren. Our hearts are broken and hurting but we can still say, "It is well with our souls," as God has poured out His love, grace and comfort in great abundance.

    We also know that there have been two other women murdered in Holland this past year at the hands of abusive husbands. If you or someone you know is being abused, please get help. There are agencies, like the Center for Women in Transition, that are waiting to help you get out of your situation. We also hope the Holland Police Department is learning to listen to abused women and will be ready to help when called upon and not turn away and ignore you, and make you feel you have no one to turn to for help. Lori felt that she had no one to protect her.

    We would like to thank the Holland Heights Christian Reformed Church and the greater Holland community for your prayers for our family this past year. We have felt every one of them.

    "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassion never fails. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness," Lamentations 3:21-22.

    Please continue to hold us in prayer as we move forward in our walk without Lori, but in a newer and closer walk with our Lord and Savior.


    Vigil in Holland to be held for victim of domestic violence
    by The Grand Rapids Press
    Friday January 09, 2009, 10:58 PM

    HOLLAND -- One year after her death, Lori DeKleine, who was killed in her Holland Heights home by her estranged husband, a police officer, will be remembered Saturday night in a memorial service and candlelight vigil.
    She was killed Jan. 10, 2008, by Ken DeKleine, a Holland Police officer now serving life in prison without parole.

    The DeKleines were in the midst of a divorce and custody fight when he strangled her.

    The service is at 6 p.m. at Holland Heights Christian Reformed Church, 836 E. Eighth St. Participants will gather around a tree planted in her honor and remember the 43-year-old mother of two.

    Her family hopes to create awareness about domestic violence.

    "She would want people to know that, in spite of what happened to her, there is help out there," said her sister, Patti Ticknor. "She would never want this to happen to anyone else."

    A representative of the Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence group is to discuss domestic-violence awareness.

    E-mail the author of this story:

    Lori is in this article too:

    Stalked to death
    Stalking memorial month takes on new meaning in wake of 3 local deaths, MI
    By Megan Schmidt
    Jan 8, 2009
    Last update Jan 09, 2009 @ 01:22 PM

    Holland, MI — For 20 years of her marriage, Marianne slept in bed each night with one foot on planted the floor.
    She lived, and slept, in constant fear of her abusive husband.

    “I would get hit, kicked or knocked out of bed every night,” she said.

    When Marianne (not her real name) gathered the courage to leave her 25-year marriage, she made what she thought would be a clean break, living in a shelter and quickly filing for divorce.

    “He moved to the other side of the state, which made me feel like I would be somewhat safe,” said Marianne, who divorced in 2005. “Then I found out he had been driving around (Holland).”
    After leaving her husband, much of Marianne’s behavior had to change as her ex continued to stalk her — even now, when she has since remarried.

    She has spotted his vehicle at least four times since their split. A friend captured a photo on her cell phone of his car passing through the area, she said.

    “He believes that God hates divorce,” she said. “To him I will always be his wife, and anyone else is an intruder.”

    One in 12 women and one in 45 men will be stalked sometime in their lives, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime, which defines stalking as a course of conduct directed at a specific person to cause fear.

    It can include phone calls, following, vandalism and even threats or harm directed at the person’s family or pets.

    Marianne’s ex-husband once attached a GPS tracking device to her vehicle.

    As part of January’s Stalking Awareness Month, the Center for Women in Transition will host a Jan. 27 ceremony for victims of domestic violence and stalking who have died in the past year.

    On Saturday, Jan. 10, a memorial and candlelight vigil will take place at Holland Heights Christian Reformed Church for Lori DeKleine, who was murdered in one fo the most high-profile cases of domestic abuse in recent years.

    Lori DeKleine, 43, was found dead in her home on Calvin Avenue on Jan. 10, 2008.

    Her husband, then-Holland police officer Ken DeKleine, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for her murder.

    Testimony during a jury trial in July showed that Lori planned to attend a stalking seminar before her murder.

    Lori DeKleine filed a restraining order against Ken DeKleine in January 2007, about a year before her murder. In it, she wrote, her husband was a “sexual and emotional bully” who stalked her by putting recording devices in her backpack and bedroom. He once broke into her locked bedroom through a window at night, leaving shattered glass and blood, she wrote.

    In the past four months, two other Holland women were murdered by former boyfriends with histories of stalking them.

    Of all women killed by their intimate partners, 76 percent were stalked by that partner before they were killed, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.

    Danica Flournoy, 23, was fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend, Robert Echols, 29, in a 16th Street apartment complex. Echols killed himself two hours later in Grand Rapids, on Oct. 27.

    Echols was searching for Flournoy before he shot her, Flournoy’s mother, Penny McCoy, said at the time. Flournoy had moved into her mother’s boyfriend’s apartment just hours before she was found and murdered.

    Esmeralda Aguilera, 31, was shot and killed by her former boyfriend, Reyes Renteria, 31, who also took his own life, on Dec. 7. She filed a restraining order against Renteria six days before her murder.

    In the court files, Aguilera described Renteria showing up uninvited at her home, workplace and at a Tulip City Rod & Gun Club dance.

    On Dec. 1, Aguilera wrote that she was seeking the restraining order because “Ray will not stop looking for me we broke off our relationship and he wants me to ‘give him another chance.’ I’ve told him no but he will not stop.”

    Marianne said she was too fearful to ever file for a personal protection order against her ex-husband.

    “The reason we don't want to do anything now is that you have to go to court for that,” she said. “I don't want him knowing my last name.”

    One thing Center for Women in Transition crisis intervention advocate Anna DeHaan wants stalking victims to know is that taking the issue to court does not have to mean revealing your location.

    “The victim is going to know their situation best, but there is an option to keep your address confidential (on a restraining order form),” she said. “However, the person will know your jurisdiction.”

    Victims should document each stalking incident, DeHaan said.

    “That’s usually the first thing I say (to a victim): ‘Are you writing this down?’,” DeHaan said. “Just keep a record of how you were contacted, what was communicated. It can be very general; someone leaving an object for you, an ex-partner leaving a song playing on your answering machine.”

    Even if the incidents do not constitute as criminal matters, a police officer can often give guidance to someone dealing with threats and harrassment.

    “We get pulled into a lot of domestic situations, and in domestic violence situations we give them an instructional pamphlet that gives them numbers for places such as CWIT,” said Capt. Rick Walters of the Holland police. “Sometimes what (a victim) is relaying is not a criminal violation, but it could lead us to say that even if no law has been broken here, it may be in their best interest to get an attorney or get a PPO.”

    She said that stalking is a subject that isn’t always taken seriously — “we joke that someone’s in love with someone, so they stalk them,” she said.

    With the recent rash of domestic violence murders, she hopes that will change.

    “I’m hoping that based on tragedies of past year, our community will become more aware of what stalking really is,” DeHaan said, “and that what we need to do is to hold perpetrators accountable.”


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