Mother continues to fight for justice after losing her daughter to Domestic Violence
It's a pain no parent wants to feel. Losing your child at the hands of someone else. Sherry Miller of Eagle River is a mother who's love runs deep, so deep that she continues to fight, day in and day out to see changes within the justice system. It's been 6 years since she lost her 19-year old daughter, Linda Bower, to domestic violence.
In 2014, David Thomas pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for strangling Bower to death while the two were watching movies at his house.
"Police came to our door at about 5:30 in the morning of the 11th to tell us that they'd found her in the back seat of his car. It's just a shock to your system, you don't ever expect to lose a loved one. This was my daughter and parents aren't supposed to bury their children," said Miller.
Flooded with emotions, Miller said she wasn't prepared for what was to come next.
"Not knowing what to do, what questions to ask, I was really at a loss we all were," she said.
Knowing her pain won't ever fully go away, she uses her daughter's story to advocate for other families and hopes to see change within the justice system.
"It took so long to get some sort of justice and to this day we did what we did, but I don't feel that it's justice. To me it's a reminder that we need to hold our criminals accountable to the highest degree," added Miller.
Her daughter's been gone for 6 years, but Miller said, the pain doesn't get easier.
"I'm over the shock of it now, but very angry, very bitter, it's changed who I am," she said.
Now, Miller carries her daughter's memory through her passions saying she loved pets, music and was a member of Chugiak High School's choir.
"They graciously sang at her funeral and that really touched my heart. I am thankful that I have videos of her choir, videos of her handling her animals, precious, precious memories for sure," said Miller.
Her daughter's name also lives on at the Victims for Justice Homicide Memorial. Located in the heart of downtown Anchorage, Linda Bower along with 435 other name's are remembered and not forgotten.
"It's really important that these names are not forgotten because they were senselessly taken," said Miller.
"Every time we lose an individual to homicide, there are entire families impacted, it's not just one individual that's impacted, its our entire community," added Victoria Shanklin, Executive Director for Victims for Justice.
It's a memorial to honor lives lost too soon, but will live on in hearts forever.
"I would just say always keep these people, these names in memory because they deserve it," said Miller.
Thomas was sentenced in 2018 to 75 years in prison with 25 suspended. He'll be up for parole in the next 7 or 8 years. Miller said she intends to be present at his hearing.
This year's Victims for Justice Homicide Memorial Ceremony is Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 12 p.m. at Hostetler Park in Anchorage. It will be live streamed on the Victims for Justice YouTube and Facebook pages.