BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - After losing their loved ones to domestic violence, several local families are working together to prevent others from feeling their pain.
De’Asia Sims and Shelly Miller, who was also known as Michelle Henry, did not know each other before they died, but their families are now connected in a way they never expected to be due to domestic violence.
Seletta Easterling lost her daughter, Sims, in December 2014. Police said she was murdered by her boyfriend in Fairfield. Easterling said the family did not see it coming.
“He lured her to ravine area, and she thought everything was okay, and she went and met him, and this is what he had planned," Easterling said. "He shot and killed her, and there were no warning signs.”
Sims' mother described her daughter as a sweet soul who worked with children and the elderly.
“She was just awesome to me, ya know," Easterling said. "We miss her a lot, and she will be missed.”
Four years after Sims' death, in 2018, tragedy struck again in Butler County when Raymond Miller found out that his daughter, Shelly Miller, had been killed in yet another deadly act of domestic violence.
“[She] was stabbed by her boyfriend 53 times at a condo in Fairfield, and then the police shot and killed him while he was trying to stab her the 54th time," Miller said.
Miller said his daughter was incredibly kind and giving.
“She was actually being matched with a kidney for a person that needed a kidney, for a stranger, and she was going to donate her kidney to a stranger," Miller said.
In honor of Shelly, Miller said he now works to help those who are still stuck in dangerous domestic violence situations, and he has created wristbands that feature motivational sayings which he sends all over the world.
Both Miller’s and Sims' family members are now part of a support system made up of advocates and survivors.
On Saturday, September 26, they will come together for the sixth annual “Light the Night Purple” at Calgary Baptist Church in Middletown. They hope to spread hope to those who need it most.
At Saturday’s event, Miller said they will also be honoring Jill Sexton, a Hamilton woman who was murdered in Tennessee.
“I can’t bring Shelly back. We can’t bring De’Asia back. There’s another girl, Jill Sexton, we can’t bring any of these people back," Miller said. “Unfortunately, they were all taken from us, but one of the things we can do is try to prevent it happening from another family.”
“Light the Night Purple” will begin with a self-defense class from 5 to 5:30 p.m. at the church at 1601 Jackson Avenue in Middletown. After that, from 6 to 8 p.m., there will be speakers, giveaways, singing, a ceremonial balloon event and more.
Anyone who is currently experiencing domestic violence can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help at 1−800−799−7233.