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Domestic Violence March Held in Honor of Slain Family

The Shelter of Gaston County and the Gaston County Domestic Violence Prevention Council held a domestic violence march in Gastonia last week in honor of a Gaston County woman and two of her children that were murdered.

Tracy Hedgepath, 24, and her two children, six-year-old Austen Blanke Minter, II, and three-year-old Serenity Tyvone Minter, were murdered by the children's father and Hedgepath's longtime boyfriend, Austen Minter. He then shot and killed himself. The father also shot the couple's seven-year-old daughter, Destiny. However, she survived and is recovering.

Minter and Hedgepath had an extensive history of domestic violence. Although Hedgepath obtained a restraining order against him, he ended up moving back in with her and their children.

The public was invited to participate in the march, which was held at the Gaston County Department of Social Services and the Gaston County Courthouse. During the march, a drum sounded every 15 seconds, to represent the statistic that, every 15 seconds, someone is killed in a domestic incident.

The Shelter of Gaston County and The Gaston County Domestic Prevention Council hold marches for domestic violence awareness every time there is a death in Gaston County where domestic violence is suspected. These were the first domestic violence related homicides in Gaston County in 2010.

Hedgepath's sisters attended the march and emphasized that, while it may be too late to help their sister, it is not too late for other victims of domestic violence to stand up and seek help. 

The Shelter of Gaston County encouraged people to report incidents of domestic violence and urged them to never forget the seriousness of the issue.

If you would like more information on domestic violence, contact The Shelter of Gaston County at 704-852-6000.

Source: "Domestic Violence March Held After Mother, Children Killed" 8/3/10

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