Wednesday, April 10, 2019

  

Orange County’s crime victims remembered

CHESTER – Orange County held its annual Crime Victims Vigil Tuesday evening to recognize those lost and provide families of victims a place of solace.

This year’s theme was “Honoring our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.” In keeping with that sentiment, many victims’ families and friends shared fond memories of those who died due to senseless violence, and how they are keeping those individuals’ spirits alive to inspire those who never had the opportunity to meet them.

One of those who was remembered was Marie Giannone, a worker in the Note Room of the Orange County Clerk’s office. Many of her co-workers, who were also friends, came to speak on her behalf.

Giannone was murdered by a jealous ex-boyfriend in November of 2015 on the way to visit her autistic son.

Gina Marie Bonfiglio, a friend and co-worker who spoke, said Giannone was such a presence within the workplace, she made it a point to make sure all employees who never had the chance to know her, get to see memorabilia and exploits from her life there.

“When I walk in, in the morning, I turn the copier on and I’m like, ‘Hi, Marie.’ I have a conversation with her every day. So, she’s there,” said Bonfiglio. The new people that have come behind, that don’t know Marie, I make sure she’s known about. I tell them, ‘This is Marie and she was a special lady and everybody knows Marie.’ She’s always going to be there.”

Orange County Clerk Annie Rabbit shut down the clerk’s office for two days for all employees to honor and grieve Giannone.  

This year was special because a young woman, Courtney Sahler, niece of Joanne O’Brien who was murdered by a disgruntled employee at her business for being fired, found some closure – or rather, hope for the future.

Sahler said O’Brien was a gem of a human being, in all ways; but, even 14 years after her murder, Sahler and her family were still looking for closure. By coincidence, Sahler met a police office that finally gave her the closure she been looking for all that time.

“Tonight I had the police officer who escorted my aunt’s body out of the factory come up to me after and I had never met him before,” Sahlere said. “I never really believed the doctors because they had told us that the minute that it happened, there was nothing they would have been able to do to save her, and he actually verified that for us tonight because he was the very first person to find my aunt. He said that she was not conscious and she wasn’t suffering.”

Believing her aunt could have been suffering, or possibly saved, had weighed on Sahler.

Condolences go out to all the victims’ families and those affected by these tragedies on behalf of Orange County and all others with a capacity to empathize with others in their times of distress.  

 

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