Candlelight vigil to honor victims of domestic violence, family of David Heisler

Stock image | Photo by ThamKC/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Those wanting to honor victims of domestic violence and sexual assault or find resources in the Southern Utah community will have the chance to Wednesday during a candlelight vigil.

The Washington County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault will host its annual candlelight vigil “Shine a light on domestic violence” as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and in an effort to not only raise awareness but also remember victims and celebrate survivors.

Alissa Urzi, a victim’s advocate who works for the St. George Police Department, said domestic violence is a highly underreported issue.

“Even the statistics that we do have, we can assume that they’re much higher,” Urzi said. “Everyone knows someone who is suffering, even if you don’t know it.”

The coalition honors the family of a victim of domestic violence at the vigil each year. Last year it honored the family of Kristy Manzanares, who was allegedly killed by her husband on a cruise ship in 2017.

Read more: St. George man indicted in death of Kristy Manzanares on Alaska cruise

For this year’s vigil, the coalition will be honoring Debbie Heisler, who lost her stepson David Heisler after he was assaulted, kidnapped and left to die in the desert in June 2016. Debbie will also be providing remarks at the vigil.

L-R: Debbie Heisler and Suzun Abbott discuss opening the Blue Butterfly House in St. George, Utah, Wednesday, May 9, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

“She’s a really powerful woman,” Urzi said. “She has taken this tragedy and done so much good for the community.”

Debbie Heisler, along with Suzan Abbott, created the Blue Butterfly House in St. George to allow children in court custody cases to have a safe, neutral place for court-ordered supervised visits with parents.

Read more: In David Heisler’s memory, new St. George nonprofit aims to help reunify families

Besides hearing from Heisler, those in attendance will hear from area advocates, as well as music by John Houston’s Gospel Choir. A community prayer will also be led during the vigil.

“We want (victims) to come out of the darkness and share and get help.”

Event details

  • What: Shine a light on domestic violence: A candlelight vigil.
  • When: Wednesday, Oct. 10, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the lower parking lot of the Dixie State University Testing Center, on the corner of 100 South and 1000 East.
  • All are welcome to attend.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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