Wyoming Silent Witness Story 2011

In Uncategorized on October 4, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I’ve spent the last forty-five minutes reading through the Wyoming Silent Witness Story 2011, a compilation of dramatic and devastating stories of domestic violence victims around the state. And I am devastated and speechless after reading them.

The Silent Witness Initiative was founded in 1990 and now has efforts in all 50 states and several countries.  The movement seeks to “promote peace, healing, and responsibility in adult relationships in order to eliminate domestic violence murders in the United States.”

As many of you may know, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Here are some statistics for you to ponder:

  • 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 3 women will experience sexual coercion/abuse in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 5 college relationships are abusive.
  • 11% of UW students admitted to being involved in an abusive relationship over the past 12 months.

This week’s blog is dedicated to those victims of domestic violence.  I will share with you snippets of some of the stories I read today.  If you would like the complete book, please stop by the SAFE Project table in the Union this week or send me an email ( and I will get you a copy.

Warning: These stories are difficult to read and/or triggering.  I’ve only taken snippets from their complete stories in the Wyoming Silent Witness Story 2011 booklet.  Each of these women was deeply loved and is sorely missed every day.

Sherry Barela, age 21, Albany County —
Sherry was stabbed with a screwdriver bit in her temple by her husband, Stephen Richard Barela, in front of her two children.  Barela then kidnapped the children and took them from the state.

Laura Bossa, age 20, Green River —
Laura was nursing her 19 day-old infant daughter when she saw her husband, Grant, was pointing a gun at her.  She quickly bent over to protect their child and was shot in the top of her head.

Berry Bryant, age 18, Powell —
After disappearing from a party she was attending, Berry was found raped and her throat cut by an acquaintance, Levi Collen.

Jamie Lynn Ciminelli, age 18, Mountain View —
Jamie was beat severely by her boyfriend Roman Sanchez in front of four other male friends and not one of them tried to intervene to save Jamie’s life.  Roman left Jamie at her parent’s home knowing she lay dying.  The next morning he asked his mother to check on her “because Jamie isn’t feeling well.”

Brandy Jo Imhoff, age 5, Cheyenne —
Brandy was murdered when she intervened in a physical altercation between her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, Mark Barnes.  Mark severely beat Brandy and threw her out into the yard.  Brandy was later brought into the house and died sometime that night.  Brandy’s body was hidden in the home for a week.  Mark then placed Brandy’s body into a kitchen cabinet and started the house on fire.

Sharon Pulver Johnson, age 43, Wheatland —
After an argument while driving, Sharon got out of the vehicle to walk and Dan ran her over, and then backed over her to finish the job.

Kary McKinney, age 35, Cheyenne–
Kary was shot to death at work by her former husband, Larry Voss, age 44.  Larry had been stalking her for over a year.  He was not charged with the crime because he committed suicide.

Rebecca Potter, age 35, Mills —
Becky was brutally beaten unconscious by the fist of her husband.  She never regained consciousness and died two days later.  The attack occurred during a birthday party for her 12-year-old daughter in the presence of seven other children – including two of her own.

Daphne K Sulk, age 14, Albany County —
Daphne’s frozen body was found in Medicine Bow Forest.  The autopsy revealed she had been stabbed in excess of 15 times.  Daphne had become involved in an intimate relationship with 38-year-old Kevin Robinson.  She was in the ninth grade and pregnant with Robinson’s child.

Cheryl Varner, age 35, Newcastle —
Cheryl met Dan Harris on a date.  He raped her, then beat her to death and left her to die in the snow.

If you or someone you know is involved in an abusive relationship, please contact the UW STOP Violence Program ( or 307-766-3296) or the Albany County SAFE Project ( or 1-800-230-3556) for assistance.

A Candlelight Vigil will be held by the Albany County SAFE Project on Wednesday, Oct. 26.  For more details, please contact Becca Fisher (

To learn more about domestic violence, please visit:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: