2018 was a deadly year for victims of domestic violence. News 2 reported on numerous stories where women, children, and men were killed by husbands, mothers and children.
Kiara King’s mother was one of those victims. Debbie Forrest, 42, was found beaten to death inside her home in Fort Campbell on December 17, according to family members.
Debbie was a devoted mother of five. Her daughter said her mom worked full-time but always made dinner and did homework with her children.
“I looked at her as such an outstanding woman who could stand up for herself, someone who could defend herself,” King told News 2. “I never saw this coming, I never saw it coming.”
Debbie had recently married a Fort Campbell soldier. After her death, her husband was taken into custody. No charges have been filed in the case.
“I wish I could’ve told her it was ok to move on and be alone,” said King. “That it was ok to ask for help, because she needed it, but she also wanted love. She loved her husband.”
In another case, Brittney Silvers was found murdered at Fort Campbell, allegedly by her husband.
Their faces join a sad chorus of domestic homicide victims. Most of them are women and the suspects are mostly their husbands. The causes of death are mostly fatal gunshot wounds and many leave children behind.
In Rutherford County, two women were murdered by their husbands this spring.
Anthony Gaunichaux, 47, allegedly shot his 36-year-old wife Amanda while their 2-year-old son was home.
Eleven days later, Sean Ganey texted his pastor asking for forgiveness before allegedly shooting his wife, Cassidy.
He also shot his in-laws and then himself. The couple’s young child was also present and unharmed.
There was also the tragic case where a 65-year-old woman murdered her elderly mother and sister at her mother’s home in Nashville before killing herself.
In October, Cynthia Collier gunned down her four teenage children in Maury County before turning the gun on herself. An adult child found them all.
King knows first-hand what domestic violence of this magnitude does to a family.
She now has custody of her two younger brothers and a niece, along with her own three-year-old daughter.
“I am all they have so I have to step up and be that mom for them,” she said. “I have to learn and I’m going to learn and I’m going to do the best that I can because I do not want to let her down.”
King said her 11-year-old brother has autism and continues to ask questions.
“He asks, ‘When is mom coming back? Is mom ok? Is she going to pick us up? Are we going to be here with you for the rest of our lives?'”
King has a message for victims of domestic violence.
“Your braveness and courage to step up and say something could very well help the woman behind you and the woman behind her,” she said. “Stand up and say something and do not be afraid.”
A family friend has set up a Facebook fundraiser to help King care for the four children she now has. Click here to donate.
To view all the stories featured in our “Domestic Violence: Holding abusers accountable” special, click here.