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We Remember 2008

We Remember is a memorial to Minnesota’s victims of intimate partner homicide. Each of these victims is someone’s child, parent, sibling, family member, intimate partner, friend, neighbor, or co-worker. 


Sharon D. Chouinard


East Bethel

January 26, 2008

On the morning of January 26, Sharon’s teenage son discovered her body in her East Bethel Home. Sharon had been stabbed twice in the neck and had defensive wounds on her hands.  Later that day police arrested Raymond Robideau, Sharon’s boyfriend, after he attempted suicide by slitting his wrists and setting himself and the home he was staying in on fire.  Further investigation revealed that Sharon had been growing increasingly frustrated with Robideau and Sharon was planning to break up with him. Robideau had threatened Sharon in the past.  Sharon is survived by her son, mother, grandmother, and brother. Robideau was indicted for first degree premeditated murder.


Sonya Marie Hennagir


Park Rapids

January 29, 2008

Sonya had just invited her friend over to her home.  When her friend arrived she saw a car with Michigan plates at the house.  When she walked in, she found Sonya dead in a chair and began to worry about Sonya’s children.  When she went further into the house she saw Richard Derek Wright sexually assaulting Sonya’s six-year-old daughter.  Wright began to come after her as she ran from the home calling 911. Police arrived to find Wright choking Sonya’s friend and arrested Wright.  Wright, who was in Minnesota working on a pipeline and was dating Sonya, was from Michigan where he was married and had three children. Wright had previous violent felonies.  He was indicted on first degree murder, attempted murder of a witness, and sexual assault of Sonya’s daughter. Sonya is survived by her son and daughter, who are living with Sonya’s parents.


Susan Jean Schaefer



February 7, 2008

The Stearns County Sheriff's office was dispatched to the Schaefers’ home after an adult son, who had not heard from his parents for a few days, called his friends to check on them.  The friends became concerned after getting no answer at the home, so the Schaefers’ adult son called police. When the sheriff's deputies entered the home they found the bodies of Susan, who had been shot in the head, and her husband Donald Schaefer, who had died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound.  Friends and family stated that they were having marital problems and that the children were aware of previous incidents defined as ‘domestic’ in nature. Susan’s friends report several previous incidents of domestic abuse between Susan and her husband, who was also characterized as having a drinking problem.  Susan is survived by her son.


Katrin Rose Czeck



April 13, 2008

On April 13, McLeod County deputies responded to a residence and found the bodies of Katrin and her husband.  She had died from multiple stab wounds and he died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. They were in the middle of a divorce.  The father had sent the younger children outside to play, when they returned Katrin’s daughter found the bodies. Katrin is survived by an adult son, three minor children, one son and two daughters. 


Joquese Loyd



April 26, 2008

Joquese was shot by 29-year old, Shawnell Johnson, who is described as her “sexual partner.”  Witnesses report that Joquese was teasing Johnson by waving a knife in his face. Johnson responded by cocking a gun and pulling the trigger.  When nothing happened he pulled the trigger again and Joquese was shot in the chest. Johnson was arrested and charged with second degree murder.


Youa Her


Brooklyn Center

June 10, 2008

Police responded to a call regarding a suspicious death.  When police arrived two sons led police to their mother’s body.  Youa had been beaten to death with a hammer. Her husband, Ger Xiong, could not be found.  Law enforcement charged him with second degree murder as they continued to search for him. A week after the charges, Xiong’s  body was found hanging in a tree in Brooklyn Center’s Palmer Lake Park. Youa is survived by seven children, whose ages range from 4 to about 24.


Jewell Burnett



July 11, 2008

Jewell’s relationship with Christopher Jefferson had been violent in the past. Investigators believe that tensions over child support payments escalated to a murder-suicide.  Jewell had ended the relationship with Jefferson. Recently Jewell and Jefferson had been in and out of court regarding unpaid child support payments. Jewell was the mother of two of Jefferson’s children and had custody of Jefferson’s other child.  She recently relocated to a new apartment with her children. It was there that Jefferson confronted Jewell, shot her and then shot their six-year old son, critically wounding him, in front of his other two siblings. Jefferson then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.


Christine Rose Nguyen


New Brighton

July 17, 2008

Christine was fatally shot outside of her New Brighton townhouse by Corey Lee Gaustad (age 21), who had been stalking her 17-year old daughter.  Gaustad had made advances to Christine’s daughter, who was not interested. Angered, Gaustad developed an elaborate plan for violent revenge. Gaustad planned a shooting spree targeting Christine’s daughter’s friends and relatives.  The day before the shooting, the family had reported Gaustad’s threats to the police and they were encouraged to get a restraining order. Gaustad waited for Christine and her daughter to come home. When they did, he confronted them with a gun and shot Christine in the stomach, because he had heard “it is a more painful way to die.”  Gaustand shot at her daughter as she ran away. Gaustad fled to Rochester where he was arrested. Gaustad was charged with second degree murder. Christine is survived by her husband and daughter.


Sherrill R. Harnden


Columbia Heights

July 18

Sherrill’s husband, Arthur Torgesen, stabbed her to death.  Torgersen had a troubled past and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder following the Vietnam War.  Torgerson had a previous history of violence and anger and had threatened to kill himself in the past. After killing Sherill, Torgersen doused Sherill’s body and himself with a fire accelerant and lit it on fire in an attempt to kill himself.  However, the fire proved to be too painful and Torgerson came out of the house just as firefighters and emergency personnel were responding. Torgerson was treated for burns and then charged with second degree murder.


Anthonia E. Iheme


St. Louis Park

July 24, 2008

Anthonia was shot and killed by her estranged husband, Michael Iheme (age 50), as she left work at a metro assisted living center.  Anthonia had an active harassment restraining order against Iheme and there was a previous history of domestic violence and previous threats to kill Anthonia. Iheme had also been stalking Anthonia.  After shooting Anthonia, Iheme called 911 and said “I have killed the woman that messed my life up. . . a woman that destroyed me.” Anthonia is survived by her son (age 4) and her daughter (age 3). Iheme was convicted of second degree murder.


Deloris (DeDe) Heald



August 19, 2008

When Deloris did not show up for her shift as an on-call nurse, her co-workers became concerned and called the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office.  When deputies arrived at Deloris’ home, nothing seemed out of place. A few hours later police received a call from Deloris’ son who had found a note from his father, Gary Heald, that stated he had shot Deloris and another man.  When police arrived at the scene, they found Deloris and Gary dead from gunshot wounds. Upon further investigation they found that the other man was Rory Zitur, who allegedly had a relationship with Deloris. When they arrived at Rory’s home in St. Michael they found him dead from a gun shot wound as well.  She is survived by her three sons, daughter, three grandchildren, mother, brother, and sister.


Rory S. Zitur



August 19, 2008

Rory was discovered dead from a gun shot wound in his St. Michael home after officials became concerned when responding to the earlier murder suicide of Deloris Heald and her husband Gary.  Friends and family became suspicious when Deloris did not show up for her shift as an on-call nurse at the same time Deloris Heald’s son found a note from his father, Gary Heald, that he shot Deloris and another man.  When police arrived at the scene they found Deloris and Gary dead from gunshot wounds. Upon further investigation they found that the other man was Rory Zitur, who allegedly met Deloris online.


Jamie M. Gage


Big Sandy Lake

September 13, 2008

Jamie was ending her relationship with John Brightman.  He suspected Jamie was seeing someone else. Brightman was renting a home from Mark Root.  Brightman had witnessed an argument between Brightman and Root over Jamie earlier on the night of the killings.  Later, John Brightman shot Jamie and Mark with a .357 revolver, called 911 to report the killings, and then he shot himself.


Mark Root



September 12, 2008

Mark was shot after offering to rent a cabin to Jamie Gage, who was ending a relationship with John Brightman.  Brightman suspected Jamie was seeing someone else and became despondent when she wanted to break up with him. Brightman was renting a cabin from Mark.  Mark also offered a separate cabin, away from Brightman, to Jamie. On the evening of September 13th John Brightman shot Jamie and Mark with a .357 revolver and then he shot himself.


Natasha Waalen



September 18, 2008

Natasha’s body was found next to a crashed motorcycle.  Ryan Boland, Natasha’s boyfriend, and his brother, Timothy, were charged with her murder and with staging her death as a motorcycle accident.  Natasha had been seeking a protective order against Boland at the time of her death and had been previously abused by Boland. Boland was arrested on one occasion.  After that arrest, Timothy also harassed and assaulted Natasha. Natasha died of blunt force trauma as a result of multiple blows to the head. Boland and Natasha had one child together, who is now living with Natasha’s family.


Kelly Dahm


St. Croix County

September 20, 2008

Kelly was found shot dead in her ex-boyfriend’s car in the parking lot outside the St. Croix County Government Center in Hudson, Wisconsin.  Just a few days prior to the shooting, Kelly ended her relationship with Christopher Soriano Ledesma and moved out of the apartment she shared with him.  Ledesma has admitted to the murder. Ledesma had been abusive to Dahm and had served a six-year term for two counts of first degree reckless injury in 1996 after stabbing three people a the Apple River Hideaway campground.  First degree intentional homicide charges have been filed against Ledesma. Kelly is survived by her parents, siblings, grandparents, and great-grandparents.


Gabriela Romo


St. Paul

September 30, 2008

St. Paul Police were called to a home on the West Side of St. Paul and found Gabriela Romo dead from a sexual assault.  Michael Sontoya was charged with second degree murder in her death. The two had been drinking at a St. Paul bar and then went to Sontoya’s home.  Hours later, Gabriele was dead. Gabriela bled to death from internal injuries from a sexual assault. Sontoya and Gabriela grew up together and graduated from the same high school.  She is survived by four children.


Pam Sjogren



October 25, 2008

Pam Sjogren’s death was ruled a suicide by the Hennepin County medical examiner when she was found by her adult son hanging from a rope in her garage on October 25th.  Police believe that she had been dead for several days. The last time relatives had contact with her was October 21. On January 24, 2009, Pam’s boyfriend, John M. King (age 50), called from Texas to confess to having killed Pam.  He said that they had a fight.” He believes he broke her neck when he put her in a “full nelson” and held her for 40 seconds and she passed out. He claimed that she had poked him in the eye, which made him angry. He then proceeded to stage her killing as a suicide, according to the police report, by leaving her body hanging from a rope in her garage with a stepladder near her feet.  Family members indicated that the couple had argued regularly. King has been charged with second degree murder and is awaiting extradition to Minnesota from Texas. She is survived by a son, two daughters, and two granddaughters.


Angela Vigen


Mounds View

October 27, 2008


Jolyn Vigen


Mounds View

October 27, 2008


Jennifer Vigen


Mounds View

October 27, 2008

After not hearing from them for days, family members asked police to check on the Vigen family.  What they found was a violent scene. Angela was dead as was her mother and sister. Angela had died from multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma.  Johnny Lee Ellis, Angela’s boyfriend, was later charged in their homicides. Ellis, who occasionally lived with the Vigens, was arrested at a friend’s home.  Ellis has a previous history of domestic violence. He stated that he and Angela got in a fight and he killed them so that there would be no witnesses. Ellis tried to stab himself and was treated for self inflicted wounds.  He has been charged with 3 counts of second degree murder.


Teresa Bugarin


Dodge Center

November 8, 2008

Teresa had decided to move out of the house with her children and divorce her husband. Tensions were high when the family returned from an outing.  Ismael Bugarin became violent and pinned his wife on the floor. He stabbed her with a knife before shooting her and severing her spinal cord. During the attack, Teresa screamed for help and her children ran into the room.  When the children tried to flee, their father followed them. He slashed one of his daughters, stabbed the other one, and cut his son’s neck. Bugarin’s son, Nick, grabbed the knife and stabbed his father in the back before he and his sisters ran to a neighbors.  Nick bled to death. Bugarin took the knife and slit his wrists. The girls are recovering and Bugarin has been charged with murder.


Ismael “Nick” Bugarin

12 years old

Dodge City

November 8, 2008

Ismael, known as Nick, bravely fought to save his sisters after his father attacked his mother. Ismael Bugarin, Nick’s father, became violent and pinned his wife on the floor and stabbed her with a knife before shooting her and severing her spinal cord.  During the attack, Nick’s mother screamed for help and her children ran into the room. When the children tried to flee, their father followed them. He slashed one of his daughters, stabbed the other one and cut his son’s neck. Nick grabbed the knife and stabbed his father in the back before he and his sisters ran to a neighbor’s.  Nick bled to death. Bugarin took the knife and slit his wrists. The girls are recovering and Bugarin has been charged with murder.


Ruth Anne Lipka 


Prior Lake

November 12, 2008

Ruth Anne was a hard working and talented reporter for the Shakopee Valley News.  On the day her divorce was to become final, Ruth Anne was strangled to death by her estranged husband, Charles Maddox Jr.  Ruth Anne had married Maddox five years ago and soon after the marriage he began abusing Ruth Anne. Friends and family were concerned for Ruth Anne.  Ruth Anne had remained in the home because she did not want to leave her animals and didn’t want to be forced out of her home. An autopsy revealed that Maddox strangled Ruth Anne and that she also suffered blunt force trauma to the head.  Maddox has been charged with second degree murder.


Violet Jackson



December 3, 2008

Violet was trying to leave prostitution and the streets.  She was found dead in a northeast Minneapolis ally after years of struggle to move past a life of prostitution and drugs.  Although her autopsy was inconclusive as to her manner of death, investigators do believe she may have died elsewhere and her body was left in the alley.  “Violet was trying to get out of that life, and the reason she was killed is that she had no place to go,” says Suzanne Koepplinger from the MN Indian Women’s Resource Center. “This is a young woman full of life, and now she is dead because we live in a society where some people feel that other people don’t deserve our compassion, and that has got to stop.”


Annshalike Shanta Hamilton

15 years old


December 15, 2008

Annshalike’s close friends didn’t want to leave her out of their sight; Annshalike revealed to them that there were problems with her and her unborn child’s father and had indicated that she may die.  Annshalike was seven months pregnant by a man in his thirties who didn’t want her to have the child. Annshalike had broken off the relationship with her unborn child’s father, but was still concerned for her safety, as were her friends.  Annskalike’s frozen body was found in a garage. She was apparently beaten to death.


Susan Levoir


St. Louis Park

December 21, 2008

Susan was found shot to death in her home in St. Louis Park.  Susan had just ended her relationship with Clarence Henry. After killing Susan, Henry planned to flee to Illinois.  Prior to fleeing Henry went to the home of his ex-wife, Terri. Terri saw on her caller-id that Henry was trying to contact her and she instantly became fearful.  She remembered her years of abuse at the hands of Henry. Henry showed up at Terri’s house in the hopes to see his child, but she would not let him in. She found out later that he was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend.  Henry fled to Illinois where, after a short police chase, he shot himself.

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