AUGUSTA — The microphone passed from person to person, each one saying the name of the son, daughter, sister, mother, brother, cousin and friend taken from them by murder.

The voices broke, and sometimes tears halted the words, but the name of almost everyone listed on the Maine Murder Victims’ Memorial Monument was heard Sunday at Holy Family Cemetery, Townsend Road, near the Marketplace at Augusta.

The black and red monument — repeating the colors of the black and red ribbon symbolizing the loss of a loved one to homicide — bears the names of 83 murder victims. The names were submitted to the organization by family members, and members of the Maine Chapter of the National Organization, Parents of Murdered Children, Inc., say more names will be added and unveiled at annual ceremonies. An estimated 400-500 names could be placed on the black granite tablets, many of them victims of domestic violence.

On Sunday scores of people crowded the monument area and then waited patiently in line for a close-up of the memorial.

Jacob Wakefield, 13, and Matthew Wakefield, 11, of Fairfield, found the name of their mother, Rhonda Jean Wakefield, on the ninth line from the top. She was murdered Jan. 13, 2007, by her estranged husband while the boys were in the home.

“I was the only one in my family to see my mom get murdered,” Jacob Wakefield said Sunday as he and his brother held longstem red roses that were presented to family members. They said they remembered their mother in memories and in pictures and that saying her name aloud felt good.


The boys were with their adoptive parents, Rhonda Wakefield’s brother Kempton Wakefield and his wife, Debra, as well as their grandparents.

John and Helen Leighton came from Scarborough in memory of their daughter, Dawn Carol Leighton, who was murdered May 1, 1998. “It’s been 16 years and it still seems like yesterday,” Helen Leighton said.

She said she appreciated the work of the people who helped organize the drive to get the monument, particularly Diane Gagnon, treasurer of the Maine Chapter.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Leighton said. “It’s a place you can come to if you need to.”

“This is where everyone can get together,” said Vicki Dill, of West Gardiner, who has been active with the Maine chapter and was recently elected to the board of directors. Her sister, Debra Dill, was murdered in 1973.

And if someone needs to rest, there are two black granite benches, one bearing the name “Sarah M. Cherry,” which is flanked by the outlines of a bicycle and a teddy bear.


“I think it’s very appropriate,” said Sarah Cherry’s mother, Debbie Crosman, of Bowdoin. Her daughter, age 12, was killed in 1988.

Some people placed roses at the base of the monument as others took rubbings of the names.

Sandra Miller read a message from John Bolduc, who lost an uncle, aunt and cousin, Christopher and Carol Bolduc, and their son, Joshua Bolduc, to murder on Feb. 20, 2008.

As Miller spoke, First Lady Ann LePage held the microphone for her. In October, Gov. Paul LePage sent $10,000 from a state contingency fund to help make the monument a reality.

The Maine Chapter, Parents of Murdered Children, has a website at, and the group meets at noon on the last Sunday of every month in conference room 1 at the Alfond Center for Health, MaineGeneral Medical Center, Augusta. Chapter leader is Arthur Jette, who directed Sunday’s dedication.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

Twitter: @betadams

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