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When tragedies happen, we have to make a choice. We can crumble. Or we can persevere. Bobbi Sudberry decided to persevere.
It wasn’t easy. She suffered one of the worst tragedies imaginable.
In 2008, Sudberry’s 17 year old daughter, Kaity, was murdered by an out of control ex-boyfriend.
At first, the Sudberrys thought Kaity’s new boyfriend, someone she knew from high school, seemed very nice. But things quickly escalated as he became angry and jealous. Her family urged Kaity to break up with him and, finally, she did.
But things escalated from there into an act of violence the family could never have imagined.
Katie’s ex-boyfriend wasn’t willing to let her go. He waited outside the family’s home with a shotgun in his duffle bag and, as Kaity walked home from school, he confronted her. She tried to escape, running down the street to a neighbor’s house, but he pulled her down off their fence, shot and killed her and then turned the gun on himself. It was 12:30 in the afternoon.
Bobby Sudberry got the call at work that there was a police situation on her street. Unable to reach her daughter, she rushed home. A short time later, detectives came knocking at the door. They were trying identify the victims.
“That’s when my world started crumbling and I knew things weren’t right at that point, so I gave the detective a picture. We didn’t know what the circumstances were. About an hour later they told us.”
Kaity is described by her family as a compassionate young woman with a loving heart. She was a high school senior just about to begin her next chapter in life at NAU — where she was planning to study wildlife sciences.
“Our lives literally shattered at that moment,” Sudberry says.
Determined to keep Kaity’s memory alive, and to help create awareness about teen dating violence, the Sudberry’s created Kaity’s Way, a non-profit that works to educate the community and students about what verbal, psychological and physical abuse looks like and how to protect yourself before it is too late. They also teach teenagers the importance of healthy relationships.
Bobbi Sudbury was shocked to learn that 81% of parents had no idea teen dating violence was even an issue.
Kaity Sudberry tried to escape the abusive relationship, but was not able to get away. Even though they tried to help, there is regret and sadness that her family will have to live with for the rest of their days. But they work to honor Kaity by spreading her compassion and love to the world.
For more on Kaity’s Way visit www.kaitysway.org