Remembering the names of the women carved in stone at Ottawa's Women's Monument


When a monument honouring women who were abused and murdered by men was created in Minto Park on Elgin Street 25 years ago, space was left to add more small stones etched with the names of new victims.

But no new stones have been added since 2000.

That’s partly because the organizing group drifted apart after being forced to remove one name under a legal threat.

But there is also no more room, says Mary Faught, who designed the space. “We didn’t realize that many more people would be killed, I guess,” says Faught. “We never envisioned that we would use (the space) all up, and we did.”

The words inscribed on the Women’s Monument ask people to “envision a world without violence where women are respected and free.”

The message – and the monument – is no less important today, says Faught.

The monument was a “cry out” of anguish after the Montreal Massacre, when 14 women were shot to death at Montreal’s l’ École Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989, says Faught.

It remains as a reminder of violence against women, she says. “And if someone does die, it’s a place to go and grieve.”

cj fleury, the artist who designed the monument, says she considers it the most important work she has created.

The monument helps encourage public conversation about a topic that was once taboo, she says. “It’s a great huge thing, carved in stone and set in a public place.

“It’s a thing that stands there, regardless of all the women who have been pushed aside, shut up or killed.”

The monument is also an important gathering place for marches, walks, or just private ruminations, she notes. “It’s a safe place for people to go to.”

People still tuck roses, letters, trinkets and notes in between the 37 small stones that surround the main monument.

It’s similar to both a graveyard and a war memorial, says fleury. “It’s a different kind of war, you know?”

Wednesday marks the 28th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre and a vigil will be held at the monument at 6 p.m.

The names on the monument’s stones include:

Sherri Lee Guy, 20

Sherri Lee Guy, 20, was shot to death in April 1995 as she fled her former common-law husband, who arrived at her mother’s Gloucester home armed with a shotgun. She’d called Ottawa police three times that day to say she was being threatened. She’d left Joseph Ghosn, 31, taking her baby, two weeks earlier. The jury didn’t hear about Ghosn’s abuse and threats because it was ruled “prejudicial,” but he was convicted of first-degree murder.

Lori Heath, 34.

Lori Heath, 34, was in the process of separating from Claude Gaudreault in September 1993 but he refused to leave the Sandy Hill apartment they shared with her two teenage daughters. Instead, he slashed her throat and her 13-year-old daughter was wakened by her mother’s screams. Gaudreault, 31, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was ordered to serve a minimum of 12 years before being eligible for parole.

Cornelia Wyss, 23.

Cornelia Wyss, 23, was raised on a dairy farm in Marionville but died in Switzerland in 1998, strangled by her Turkish husband after she left him, planning to return to Canada with their two sons. Seref Yuce was convicted in absentia of charges including murder, attempted rape and living off the avails of prostitution but was living in Romania, a free man, at the time of the last reported sighting. Her parents raised her children in Canada.

Sophie Filion, 23.

Sophie Filion, 23, was an occasional sex worker whose body was stuffed into two garbage bags and left in a Westboro parking lot in early December of 1993. The mother of two young children was strangled. She had been missing for more than two weeks and was last seen getting into a white delivery van downtown. Police later said they narrowed the investigation to a single suspect, but no arrest has been made. In 1994, her unmarked grave was given a headstone, and 40 people came out to remember her.

Karina Janveau, 24.

Karina Janveau was 24 when her boyfriend killed her and cut up her body in their Gatineau apartment, in 1999. At first Khaled Farhan tried to conceal her body in the basement, but it began to smell and he instead tried to cut it up with a kitchen knife and carry it away in garbage bags. He reported that she was missing, and posed for news photographers with his girlfriend’s dog, pleading for the public to help find Janveau. Police arrested him hours later. He denied killing her but admitted to the jury that he spent two hours dismembering her, claiming he was afraid and wanted to hide her body. When the jury convicted him of second-degree murder he tried to strangle himself in court with his tie. He appealed the conviction but lost.

Carrie Mancuso, 32.

Carrie Mancuso, 32, was found in her apartment on Lafontaine Street in Vanier in September 1995. She had been strangled in her bed with her own cross necklace in a killing that’s still unsolved. Friends said that while it was reported that she was an addict and worked in the sex trade, they remembered her as a devoted daughter who wrote poetry. Years later, Mancuso’s mother, Carol-Ann Johnson, still hoped for answers but wasn’t holding out hope for an arrest. “The best I can hope for is to keep people talking about it,” she said.

Vanessa Ritchie, 24.

Vanessa Ritchie, 24, was shot and killed by her husband, Ian Brown, in 1995. Brown then killed their two young children, Todd and Fatima, before killing himself. The bodies were found in the family’s apartment on Meadowlands Drive on Boxing Day. Friends said Brown had kept the family isolated from others, especially his wife’s family, and this isolation increased after the family converted to Islam. Friends said his behaviour had been getting strange, and he left a sheet of paper at the murder scene covered with strange religious notes, including one reference to the “last days.”

Louise Ellis, 46, vanished in April 1995 from the Old Ottawa South home she shared with Brett Morgan, who appealed to the media for help to find “my sweetheart.” They met when Ellis, a writer, lobbied for Morgan’s early release from prison on robbery and fraud charges. Morgan was arrested when he went to the police station in July to report that he had found her remains in a forest. Morgan was convicted of first-degree murder and died in prison in 1998.

Tammy Proulx, 34, was found by hunters in a farmer’s field near Franktown in November 1997. Dennie Mitchell Whalen, a 27-year-old with whom the mother-of-two had had a “stormy” relationship, pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He claimed Proulx, who suffered from depression, wanted to die but the judge called it “an act that defies comprehension.”

Thelma Fokuhl, 66, died after a severe beating by her common-law partner in December 1992, a year after Carleton Place-area neighbours told a women’s advocate they were afraid that he would kill her. The coroner said it was the worst beating he’d ever seen but a specific cause of death couldn’t be determined. Oliver Baptiste, 53, was sentenced to eight years for aggravated assault.

Carmen Jeannot, 43, was shot and killed by her husband, Josiah Jeannot, 68. The killing happened in June of 1995 when Jeannot, a retired teacher in Gatineau, phoned friends in a panic and asked them to hurry over to his home because he had done something terrible. Jeannot had killed Carmen and their daughter Josiane, 12. Then he killed himself before the friends and police arrived. Police never found a motive. Friends and neighbours knew of no trouble within the family and said Josiah was quiet and gentle.

Mary-Ann Paquette, 39.

Marianne Paquette, 39, was strangled on Christmas Day of 1995 by her husband, John. Marianne was a clerk at Bell Pastry and Delicatessen on Elgin Street; and John, 40, was an unemployed construction worker who was on medication for depression and back pain. Evidence at his trial showed he had repeatedly tried to commit suicide in the weeks before he killed his wife. The court heard that Marianne had been planning to leave her husband because she had lost weight and felt ”stressed out” from coping with her husband’s depression. He said he did not intend to kill her and was convicted of second-degree murder.

Melanie Desroches, 13.

Melanie Desroches, 13, was beaten to death by a 14-year-old boy who pleaded guilty but never told anyone why he did it. During the summer holidays of 1993, Melanie, from Oxford Station, had been driven to Kemptville where she babysat two children. As she waited for the children to finish their swimming lesson, the boy approached her, and took her to a more secluded part of the park. She knew him from school. For no known reason, he pulled out a wrench that he sometimes carried and hit her 68 times. Then he left her. She died the next day in hospital. The boy confessed and was found guilty of second-degree murder. A psychiatrist said he was immature and prone to uncontrolled bursts of anger and violence whenever he did not get his own way.

Angela Tong, 22.

Angela Tong, 22, was stabbed to death, and her body stuffed in a hockey bag and left in a snowbank behind the former Embassy West Hotel in 1997. The Carleton University student was buried on her 23rd birthday. Steven Bugden, a 24-year-old who grew up with Tong in Bridlewood and who became obsessed with her, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He’d lured her to a hotel to propose but, as the prosecutor said, ‘things didn’t go well and he lost it.”

Barbara Teske, 38.

Barbara Teske, 38, was killed in 1998 by her husband, who then went to extreme lengths to destroy her body and hide the evidence. Peter Teske struck his wife in their Alfred-Plantagenet home and let her bleed to death on the basement floor. But instead of leaving her body to be found by police, ”the accused concocted an elaborate scheme to destroy all evidence and avoid any criminal liability for what he had done,’’ the court later ruled. He burned his wife’s body at night in the family’s backyard, the same place where they had been married, and then scattered her ashes in ditches alongside a nearby road. He repainted parts of the house to hide the bloodstains. He then reported his wife missing, going so far as to suggest to police that she may have taken off with a male friend. He was convicted of second-degree murder.

Esther Carlisle, 80, was found lifeless on her St. Laurent Boulevard apartment kitchen floor in August 1997, her head partially severed by multiple stab wounds. Police believed that the frail woman who had struggled to walk was the victim of a murder-suicide. The body of her neighbour and close friend, 57-year-old William Rogowsky, was pulled from the Ottawa River the same day.

Bernita Herron, 36.

Bernita Herron, 36, was found dead inside a duffle bag that had been placed in a shopping cart and left in a Gloucester Street parking garage. Herron had head trauma and high levels of drugs and alcohol in her body and may have died choking on her own vomit but an autopsy was inconclusive on her cause of death. Police had been called to remove her boyfriend from her apartment before she died but no arrests were made.

Lillian Pilon, 42, was stabbed to death by her husband, Roland Alexandre St. Denis, in their Overbrook apartment in July 1990 during what friends said was a drunken argument over money. Roland St. Denis, who had been convicted of assaulting both Lillian and a former girlfriend, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to nine years in prison. Her 24-year-old son was too heartbroken to attend St. Denis’ sentencing.

Sylvie Boucher, 38, had left her husband Ron Fleury a week before he killed her, their 12-year-old son Francis and himself when she returned to their former Gatineau home to visit the boy in November 1996. Fleury called 911 and told police he’d killed his wife and son and planned to kill himself. Neighbours said the couple, married 20 years, “seemed like a happy family.”

Lori Goodfellow of Gloucester was stabbed to death in the Kingston townhouse where she lived with her husband, Waldemar Ben Lesniewski, in September 1992. Lesniewski, who was still on parole for the 1977 murder of his second wife, then committed suicide by jumping into the St. Lawrence River. “She always put people ahead of herself,” a cousin said.

Reva Bowers, 30, was shot and killed by her estranged husband, 37-year-old Paul Douglas in April 1991. He chased her from her Gloucester home with a shotgun then, in front of more than a dozen children waiting for the school bus, shot himself dead. Bowers had a restraining order against him which Douglas had already been jailed for violating.

Pamella Behrendt, a 55-year-old nurse and mother of three, was killed by her husband, Stefan, in their Old Ottawa South home in June 1990. She had wanted to divorce her husband, who was “psychologically unstable.” Instead, she was killed with a chainsaw before her husband turned a hunting knife on himself.

Charmaine Thompson, 23, was only visiting friends in Ottawa from Jamaica when she was stabbed to death during an argument with her boyfriend Robert Escallieres. She was pregnant at the time. Escallieres, 26, had emotionally and physically abused her for years. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to a total of four years behind bars. He was to be deported to Jamaica when he completed his sentence.

Rachel Favreau, 20.

Rachel Favreau, 20, was shot to death by her common-law husband and “high school sweetheart” Sylvan Cleroux, 21. Hours later the Cumberland man called police to report that he’d killed her. The couple had a baby daughter and had recently got engaged. Cleroux pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years.

Patricia Allen, 31.

Patricia Allen, 31, was shot with a crossbow by her estranged husband, Colin McGregor, on a downtown Ottawa street in November 1991. The successful young Revenue Canada lawyer had left her husband but McGregor harassed and stalked her. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years when a judge rejected his defence of insanity.

Sharon Mohamed, 14.

Sharon Mohamed, 14, died after Alton Royer threw boiling water on her and her mother, before them both with a kitchen knife in their Alta Vista Drive apartment in June 1991. Shadikan Mohamed, Sharon’s mother, had refused to loan Royer money and spent months in the hospital recovering from the attack. Royer, 43, was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Joan St. Jean, 53, was found dead in her Kanata townhouse in April 1998, the victim of what police believe was a murder-suicide perpetrated by Glen Richard Kiely, whose body was found next to nearby railway tracks. The active volunteer had taken Kiely, who suffered from schizophrenia, into her home because, as her son said, “her heart was so big she wanted to help.”

Melinda Sheppit, 16.

Melinda Sheppit, 16, had worked as a sex worker for only three weeks when she was killed. Her body was found in a ByWard Market parking lot in September of 1990. She had been strangled. Melinda, a student at St. Patrick’s High School, was pregnant at the time of her death. Friends and family said she was confused and unhappy, and a woman who knew her said she was living with her pimp who wouldn’t let her come home each night unless she has earned $600. Police interviewed one man for 10 hours but released him.

Micheline Cuerrier, 26.

Micheline Cuerrier, 26, was a Hull teacher who died on a highway near Wakefield in 1998 after her ex-boyfriend slashed her throat and left her to die on the side of the road. Gilles Lemieux, was sentenced to 15 years. A plea-bargain had reduced his charge from second-degree murder to manslaughter. Judge Jean-Pierre Plouffe said the court accepted the plea-bargain because Lemieux was ”provoked” to slaughter Cuerrier after she laughed at him for threatening to commit suicide. ”He was deprived of all power to control himself and turned the weapon on the victim,” Judge Plouffe told the court. Lemieux, who had a history of depression after he was sexually abused as a teenager, manipulated his girlfriend emotionally during the relationship, the court heard. ”Our relationship was going badly,” Lemieux told police. “She said she wanted to leave me. I said I’d kill myself. She started laughing at me and I killed her.”

Carole Begley, 51, was stabbed 14 times in her Gatineau home on March 24, 1996. Five or six of the wounds pierced her heart. She died in hospital less than an hour later. Her husband, Clifford, was convicted of first-degree murder. Neighbours said Begley’s face sometimes looked beaten and bruised, and they noticed yelling and screaming from the house. At the time, Gatineau police said they could not have prevented Begley’s slaying. Police were regularly called to the Begleys’ Lafrance Street home, but most of the calls indicated only that the couple was “eccentric,” police said, such as complaints about snow on the lawn or dogs barking. Of nine calls to police in the two years before Begley’s death, three involved domestic abuse, including one in which Clifford Begley called to say his wife was abusing him.

Barbara Lanthier, 46.

Barbara Lanthier, 46, was a hairdresser from Carleton Place who was found floating in the Mississippi River in 1994 in the cab of the pickup truck belonging to Garry Samuels, her common-law husband. Samuels was convicted of first-degree murder. The pair were driving when Samuels said an out-of-control vehicle forced his truck off the road and into the Mississippi River. Samuels said he escaped as the truck filled with water, and he later tried to free Lanthier from the truck but failed. The vehicle that he said ran him off the road was never found. Lanthier’s son discovered a briefcase filled with insurance policies and a note: “If Barb or Garry dies, look for the $2.2 million.”

Marie Fernande Levesque, 70, was killed with two gunshot blasts to the head by her husband of 40 years, Gerard Levesque, in Clarence Creek in 1994. Gerard, 72, then shot himself in the head with a rifle. The murder-suicide shocked the rural community south of Rockland, where the couple had lived for decades. Gerard farmed occasionally and worked as a carpenter and school-bus driver until he retired. At the time, one neighbour speculated that failing health and worry drove Gerard Levesque to kill his wife and himself. He had gangrene in his legs, was in pain, but did not want to have parts of his legs amputated, neighbours said.

Victoria Debes, 58, died after her husband stabbed her with a knife and bludgeoned her with a rolling pin during a drunken attack at their home in 1995. Debes, who was only four feet, 10 inches tall, struggled to stay alive after the vicious attack, crawling toward a staircase to try to escape. Her husband Fouad Ghazal pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to nine years in prison. Ghazal, 58, was also given a four-year sentence for aggravated assault for repeatedly stabbing his son, Elie, the same night. Her husband showed no remorse over killing his wife, the judge noted. After being told by police that his wife was dead, he said, ”I don’t care,” but he cried when told of his son’s injuries.

Kelli Davis, 33, and Roman Rezanowicz. Rezanowicz was found guilty in the murder of Davis.

Kelli Davis, 33, was strangled to death in the bedroom of her Orleans home in 1996. Her husband Roman Rezanowicz was found guilty of first-degree murder. Davis’s well-to-do family had warned her they feared the tall, good-looking dentist seven years her senior was a gold digger more interested in money than love. They even hired a private investigator who discovered that Rezanowicz had been married twice before. Rezanowicz stood to receive $750,000 from his wife’s life insurance policies. He claimed that he was in the throes of a psychotic episode when he strangled Davis. Rezanowicz, who had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, pleaded not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder.

Fengzhi Huang, 36, was found slain in her Kanata home in 2000.

Anne Laurin, 32, was shot and killed on a remote road in Ste-Cecile-de-Masham in 1997.