COURTESY MICHAEL FAY
Josiah Fay, son of abuse victim Sarah Fay, is shown in a recent photo. He was born after his mother was declared brain-dead.
Life after violence
Denise Brown honors sister
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Today, Josiah, the son of Sarah Fay, is approaching his second birthday. The murder trial of Fay's boyfriend, Marwan Jackson, is slated to be held sometime early next year.
While relatives anguish over Fay's death, her memory lives on in her children and as her family battles domestic violence.
Meanwhile, Denise Brown, sister of the late Nicole Brown Simpson, is in town to attend two events as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
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Baby of brain-dead, abused mom inspires remaining family
Nearly two years ago a brutally beaten 34-year-old woman, declared brain dead, was kept on life support to save her unborn son.
About 2 1/2 weeks later, Josiah Darcy Fay was delivered by doctors at the Queen's Medical Center, and his mother, Sarah Fay, was taken off life support.
Fay's memory lives on in her children and as her family members battle domestic violence.
The resemblance between Fay and Josiah is undeniable. "He looks a lot like Sarah," said Fay's sister, Stacey Fay, during a phone interview from Springfield, Ore.
Josiah, nicknamed "Jo," turns 2 on Dec. 12 and is starting to talk a lot, said his uncle, Michael Fay, during a phone interview from Denver.
Family members say they see so much of Sarah in Josiah when he wrinkles his nose. "Every time he smiles, his nose wrinkles up. My sister did that when she was little," said her brother.
"He's really into music and dancing, which is so cool because my sister was like that," said Fay's sister. Michael and his wife, Carie, also enjoy listening to music and dancing, so it must be genetic and environmental, she added.
Fay, 34, was found unconscious in a house in the Fern Acres subdivision on the Big Island a day after Thanksgiving two years ago. Doctors declared her brain-dead.
She moved to the Big Island during the early 1990s. Family members said she was spiritual and loved nature. She enjoyed swimming with dolphins and playing African drums.
She was kept on life support at Queen's so Josiah had a higher chance of survival. Doctors waited until Dec. 12, the day Fay reached her eighth month in her pregnancy, to deliver Josiah at 3 pounds, 5 ounces. Now he weighs 26 pounds.
"He's perfectly healthy," said Fay's brother.
Fay's boyfriend, Marwan Jackson, was charged in her murder. His trial is slated to begin sometime early next year. Fay's siblings plan to attend the trial.
Fay's brother said Josiah is an independent child. At a nearby park, "he climbs up on a slide and slides down on his own," he said.
Josiah also loves books, he added, noting that he constantly carries books to them so they can read to him. He enjoys eating all kinds of fruit, especially avocados. Lately, his favorite food has been cinnamon apple sauce, Fay's brother said. He and his wife are near the final stages of adopting Josiah.
Sarah Fay's two other children -- son Adahy and daughter Wahliya -- have moved back to the Big Island from Pasadena, Calif., with their father, Brian "Forest" Kessell.
The family's matriarch, Frances Fay, died on Sept. 19, 2006, after a long battle with ovarian cancer.
The Fay family held services and a celebration of life for both Sarah and Frances Fay in their hometown of Champaign, Ill., following Frances' death. All plan to head to Illinois for Thanksgiving to spend time with their father and relatives.
Stacey Fay said she plans to scatter a small portion of her sister's ashes -- kept in a tiny dolphin-decorated urn -- on the Big Island sometime in the future.
2007 Hawaii victims of domestic violence
Fatal domestic violence cases that occurred in Hawaii this year to date:
» Sept. 10: Maria Victoria Schuette, 49, died from asphyxiation allegedly by her estranged husband, Michael, at their Ewa Beach home. Michael Schuette was charged with second-degree murder.
» June 13: Liwliwa Barayuga, 63, was stabbed allegedly by her husband, Victorio, at their Kalihi home. An Oahu grand jury indicted Victorio Barayuga on a charge of second--degree murder.
» June 11: Tyran Vesperas-Saniatan, 14, was stabbed allegedly by his father, Tyrone Vesperas, while he was trying to protect his mother, Cheryl-Lyn Saniatan, at her home in Ainaloa on the Big Island. He told 911 dispatchers that his father stabbed him in the neck. Cheryl-Lyn Saniatan survived the attack but her unborn child did not. Tyrone Vesperas was charged with second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.
» May 30: Lisa Weidman, 55, was strangled and stabbed multiple times allegedly by her daughter, Carol Weidman, 25, at a Halawa Heights home. Carol Weidman was indicted on a charge of second-degree murder in her mother's death.
» May 10: Marie "Annette" Mundon, 65, was kicked in the chest by Shane Duncan, 27, at a Kapaa home in Kauai. Mundon died after she suffered two heart attacks caused by blunt force trauma to her chest. Duncan was charged on suspicion of manslaughter, family abuse, third-degree assault and second-degree unlawful imprisonment.
» Feb. 17: Ingeborg Jandura, 82, of Edmonton, Canada, was stabbed more than a hundred times allegedly by her husband, Tadeusz "Ted" Jandura, while they were on vacation at the Ilikai Waikiki Hotel. He was charged with second-degree murder in his wife's death. The couple, together for almost 60 years, had marital troubles.
Source: Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Denise Brown honors sister
The sibling of the slain wife of O.J. Simpson comes to Hawaii to raise awareness
It was not until the trial following Nicole Brown Simpson's death in June 1994 that her older sister realized the depth of abuse she endured from her ex-husband, football star O.J. Simpson.
Letters and diary entries disclosed in O.J. Simpson's criminal trial were Denise Brown's first glimpse at a pattern of abuse, she said yesterday.
Family members established the Sarah Fay Memorial Fund for her three children. The SARAH Foundation was also created to provide a hot line for battered women in Hawaii. For information on the memorial fund and hot line, go to www.sarahmariefay.com.
The 13th annual Men's March Against Violence is to be held at noon today around the state Capitol from the Father Damien Statue to the Queen Liliu- okalani Statue. A rally will follow.
DEADLY ISLE CASES
Statistics on domestic violence-related deaths in Hawaii, from the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
2007 (to date): 6
Note: Figures might not be conclusive, as officials are finding that there could be cases not on the current list.
Since the deaths of Simpson and Ron Goldman 13 years ago, Brown has traveled around the nation to educate the public about domestic violence.
She was invited by the Domestic Violence Action Center (formerly the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline) to attend two events as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. A community session called "Stop Domestic Violence: Working Together for Island Families" will be held from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. today at the Queen's Medical Center. The event fee is $30 per person.
Brown was to attend a cocktail reception event at the Pacific Club last night for the public awareness campaign called "Hiding in Plain Sight."
Brown educates people about the cycle of domestic violence that includes verbal attacks and physical abuse after a honeymoon phase when things might appear normal. She urges abuse victims to seek help and reminds them they are not alone.
"There is help out there for you," she said.
What drives Brown to speak on domestic violence, she said, are the abused women and children in shelters. She said she senses her sister is guiding her as she travels around the nation.
"I know she's with me," she said.
Meanwhile, in Hawaii a domestic violence fatality review team comprised of police officers, prosecutors, medical examiners, advocates, personnel from Child Welfare Services, Emergency Medical Services and the Department of Health meet monthly to review cases in the hope of finding ways to prevent domestic violence.
The review team was established by the Department of Health after a bill passed in last year's legislative session to review cases between 2000 and 2005.
This is the first time Hawaii is doing such a review, said Carol Lee, executive director of the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Along with the review team, the state Health Department, coalition members and various state agencies are working to implement a five-year domestic violence strategic plan for Hawaii. To obtain a copy of the plan, go to www.hawaii.gov/health/about/legrpts2007/sec321-1.3dv-rpt.pdf.
Nanci Kreidman, executive director of the Domestic Violence Action Center, said there is still more work to be done on the issue.
"We have to maintain all of our efforts and keep sharpening our tools so we're continuing to reach everybody," she said.
Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence can seek help by calling the Domestic Violence Action Center Hotline at 531-3771.