Chris Miller

Photo of Chris Miller, a blond, curly-haired young man holding up a superhero comic book; he is wearing a black shirt and turquoise bow tie.Name: Chris Miller.
Died: February 12, 2021.
Age at death: 19.
Cause of death: Head injury from being thrown off the back of a pickup truck.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Chris was bullied at school due to his autism to the point that, at 12 years old, he attempted suicide. He survived the attempt and went on to become an autism and anti-bullying advocate. He was known for his comic book character, “Captain Spectrum”.

At 15, Chris made this Facebook post, explaining what it was like to have autism, sharing his love of his puppy, cooking, Legos, and drawing, and saying, “I am glad so many people like my character Captain Spectrum, I hope he gets to make a movie one day. Mom says to keep my dreams open to all possibilities, anything can happen.”

Chris fell from the back of a pickup truck while helping empty trash into a dumpster, and was brought to the hospital with a shattered skull that ultimately proved fatal. His family donated his organs, so that their son could save lives even in death.

At first, Chris’s death was thought to be an accident; but his mother was worried that Chris’s fall from the truck had not been accidental. Prosecutors now suspect that the driver of the truck, engaging in yet more bullying, had hit the accelerator while Chris was in the back of the truck, causing Chris’s fatal fall. The driver has been charged with homicide.

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Guadalupe Martinez

Photo: A heavyset woman wearing a red sweater and red lipstick. Her chin-length straight black hair contrasts with her fair skin.Name: Guadalupe “Lupita” Martinez.
Died: January 28, 2021.
Age at death: 30.
Cause of death: Stabbing.
Location: Othello, Washington, USA.

Guadalupe, called “Lupita” by her family, lived with her mother, Dora Martinez, and her mother’s boyfriend.

From her obituary:
Lupe loved life. Her social calendar was always full of birthday parties, weddings, dances, and free Tuesday movies. For years we had to sing happy birthday to her at all of our family birthday parties. She loved dressing up for Sunday mass and having lunch with her mom and grandma. She always made weekend plans on the Sunday before the weekend occurred, she had plans and it was of the utmost importance to stick to those plans.

Lupe loved nail polish, costume jewelry and music. She was most proud of her retail work at Experienced Merchandise.

Many close family members received daily phone calls from Lupe. She didn’t have much to say, only a few quick questions and then she ended the call, whether you wanted it to end or not. If she knew you she would never forget your name and probably knew your mom’s name and who cut your hair. When we forgot someone’s name Lupe always remembered.

When her mother and her mother’s boyfriend got into an argument, her mother’s boyfriend lured her into the garage and stabbed her to death. While he was doing so, Guadalupe walked into the garage, perhaps trying to defend her mother or simply wondering what was happening; so he killed Guadalupe too.

After pleading guilty to murder, the killer was sentenced to 43 years.

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Paul Gladwell

Gladwell, PaulName: Paul Gladwell.
Died: February 16, 2017.
Age at death: 38.
Cause of death: Death in restraint.
Location: Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, UK.

Paul was a father to three children, ages 8, 2, and 1. The two-year-old boy had Asperger’s, like his father.

When his son was bullied, Paul went to a bar and confronted the parent of the child who had been bullying his son. The other man headbutted Paul, starting a fight. Police arrived and restrained Paul, one of them kneeling on his neck. When they took him away in a police van, Paul was already unconscious; by the time they called an ambulance, he was brain dead.

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James Ecford

Photo of James Ecford, a large young African-American man. He's wearing a baseball cap and T-shirt.Name: James Weldon Ecford Jr.
Died: April 12, 2016
Age at death: 25.
Cause of death: Gunshot.
Location: Houston, Texas, USA.

James’s family was told that he wouldn’t walk or talk, but his family decided that instead of writing him off, they would raise him just like they would any other child, free and independent. And they were right. James was an ambitious, energetic boy who went on to play football in high school. That gained him a college scholarship, which he used to get his BFA in graphic design. He played college football until he quit to focus on his art, and got his degree in six years.

At 25 years old, James lived in the apartment next door to his parents so that he could get help when he needed it.

James was scheduled for a job interview the next day when he heard his mother returning home. In the parking lot, a mugger attacked her. When she yelled for help, James ran to her and grabbed the man around the waist. The man pulled a gun and shot him in the head, then got into a car with three others and drove away.

James died later that night in the hospital. His mother was unhurt.

James’s family has this to say about him:
There is so much good about James that cannot be expressed on paper. He had the purest heart. Perhaps too pure a heart for this tainted world. Anyone who took the time to get to know him knows that he was the gentle illumination of life [in] any room. He was 6’4″, and he was gentle. Not “but gentle”, “and gentle”; for his stature was not a contradiction to his character, but a magnification of it. He was the perfect example of an unconditional love that asks for nothing in return. He was full of gentle, honest, pure love. Intellect, drive, ability, courage, and inner freedom.

The man who killed James has not been caught. Anyone with information is asked to call the Houston PD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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Makayla Pickett

Photo: A girl with brown hair and brown skin, protruding ears, and short nose, face upturned and smiling. She is wearing a blue shirt with a white collar.Name: Makayla Pickett
Died: December 24, 2014
Age at death: 14
Cause of death: Fire (Arson)
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina, USA

Other victims: Pamela Pickett, 51

Makayla’s family describes her this way:

Makayla was an inspiring 14 year old girl, who was blind and diagnosed with autism. She had a smile and laugh that would light up a room. Her love for life was infectious and everyone who met her became an instant friend. She touched so many lives during her 14 years…. There was no stranger to Makayla.

Makayla lived with her family, including her great-aunt Pamela. Pamela was an introverted homebody who spent much of her time caring for Makayla and her sister Beverly; Makayla was an extrovert who seemed to love everyone she met.

The family’s house was set on fire deliberately, with fires set at the front and back doors to prevent escape. At the time, five people were in the house–Pamela, Makayla, and three others. When Makayla realized what was happening, she got up and woke her family, probably saving their lives.

Pamela helped three family members escape the house before she stumbled out of the house and collapsed in the yard; she was so injured that she died in the hospital. Makayla never got out; though she had helped save her family, she died in the fire.

The arsonist was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, and one count of first-degree arson and sentenced to life without parole.

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