Monday, May 16, 2016

He Killed My Family in the Safest Place, Just Like Abortionists Do, by Dyanne Gonzales

It's been nearly 5 years since my older brother Lloyd, my sister-in-law Dixie, and my 22 year old nephew, Steven, were brutally murdered in their home in El Rancho, New Mexico, at night, on Father's Day 2011.  Lloyd and Dixie had been married since they were teenagers, with two grown daughters who are married with their own families, and then Steven, who was adopted by Lloyd and Dixie as an infant.  He'd been placed in their home under foster care as a "shaken baby," so he had special needs his entire life.  In fact, the doctors had told them that Steven would never walk or talk, but my brother and sister adopted Steven knowing he would be dependent upon them his entire life.  That's the kind of loving people they were.  Steven learned to walk, though slowly with a limp because his right side had limited mobility, and he even graduated from high school.  But he learned to ride his 4-wheeler with great precision, despite his disabilities.

They were extremely active and well-respected in their community, with a reputation for their generosity.  Lloyd was a custom tile setter, having been a craftsman his whole life.  Much of his custom work was done in Sante Fe on million dollar homes.  He loved to fish and they were very much an outdoorsmen-type family.  Dixie volunteered at a nursing home, and was a relentless advocate for their son Steven.  Both Lloyd and Dixie were extremely organized -- something we shared in common.

The night they were killed, my brother must have heard an intruder, got up without dressing so he could see what was happening, stepped outside, and was attacked and killed with a pickaxe.  He had defensive wounds on the back of his arms, having tried to protect himself.  It's extremely difficult for me to even visualize the horror he endured.

The murderer then entered their home through the back door which was left open when my brother went out, then proceeded to go into the master bedroom where my sister-in-law was still sleeping.  He killed her with the same pickaxe directly to the head.  She was found with her head still laying on her pillow.

We assume that my nephew must have heard something. The murderer attacked and killed Steven with the same weapon in the kitchen as Steven must have been making his way to his parents' bedroom.

I remember answering the phone on Father's Day to the news that Dixie, Lloyd and Steven had been killed, and my first thoughts came out of my mouth, "Was it a car accident?"  But instead I was told this horrifying story of how they were killed.  At the time, we didn't know who the perpetrator was.  The only way I could cope with this tragedy and process it was to forgive the person or persons who had killed them.

Through this forgiveness, I felt peace and I felt like God showed me how this violation -- being killed in what should be the safety of your home, in the warmth and comfort of your bed, resting peacefully in the middle of the night -- is just like the violation of unborn children being violently killed in the warmth and comfort of the womb, where they should be the most secure, and protected.

As in all other homicide cases, the police were called and the investigation began.  Sadly, when children are aborted, the police won't take such a call and wouldn't even consider investigating the untimely death.

Most people don't think about justice until something happens to them or their loved ones, and most pro-life people, even Christians, don't get involved in the pro-life movement until something happens to them or they witness something which compels them.  People's default setting is to not get involved.  I was one of those, and I had to change my own default setting.

The only girl of 10 children, I grew up in Church.  In fact, I was a preacher's kid, but I don't ever recall the topic of abortion coming up.  When I was 16, still quite naive, I got pregnant out of a relationship with a 23 year old man,  Abortion was never raised by anyone -- just not even something that would have popped in any of our minds.  You get pregnant and you take responsibility.  I married the 23 year old one month after I turned 17 -- 5 months before my son was born.

In the three years I was married to him, I was abused in every sense of the word.  Even though he repeatedly raped me, I've never looked at my son and saw him as a horrible reminder of my abuser.  Three years later, I learned that he'd never divorced his first wife, so I filed for an annulment.  I was awarded full custody, and the abuser shirked all responsibility, though he would periodically threaten to steal my son and hide away in the deepest parts of Mexico.  Raising my son on my own without any child support or governmental assistance made me stronger and built my character, and I have absolutely no regrets giving birth to my son.  If I could do it, then anyone can.

Even though I had my own pro-life testimony without realizing it, I wasn't aware enough of the topic of abortion to be involved, until my own family's tragedy and the connection God showed me to the plight of aborted babies.  Ever since then, I activated my default setting to pro-life involvement, and have not been silent.  There's no abortion clinic in my small town, but I've spoken in my church, I've protested elsewhere outside of abortion clinics, I've gone to the state Capitol for activism, I've been the editor on numerous pro-life Facebook pages, including Save The 1, and I've marched at the March For Life in Washington, D.C. with my Save The 1 peers.  I may not have become pregnant by rape, but I know what it's like to have been raped by my child's biological father, and I relate to them on a deep level.

Even though I got involved in the pro-life movement five years ago, I was one of those people who said, "except in cases of rape."  I bought into the rhetoric without really thinking about it because that's what I was hearing from others.  At some point, I was introduced to Rebecca Kiessling's story, began following her on Facebook, and realized how wrong I was to believe that a child conceived in rape was any less valuable than the way I might have been conceived.  And then I went to hear her speak, we spent time together, and began to discuss the no compromise strategy.  Again, I could not believe I had been so quick to discriminate and devalue a life conceived in rape by buying into the notion that their lives were politically expendable.

On February 13, 2015, there was a break in my family's "cold case," and an arrest was made.  He was 16 years old at the time he murdered my family -- someone known to the family, but not related.  Nicholas Ortiz killed for money, just like an abortionist does.  With two others, he was planning to rob the family while sleeping.  The only thing that changed for me once the arrest was made, was that I now had a name to place to my forgiveness of this person.

Tomorrow morning, May 17, 2016, the murder trial begins, and I know I'll have to process the forgiveness much more specifically as I hear details of the gruesome crimes.  I know this will be a difficult trial for me and my family members as we sit in the courtroom throughout the entire proceedings, and I do ask for prayers over the next two weeks.  Pray for all of the families involved, and pray for justice to be served.  Forgiveness is a choice.  I still choose to forgive so that I do not become bitter, resentful and full of hate.  I choose forgiveness for myself.  That does not mean that I do not want justice to be served to the fullest extent of the law.  I want the perpetrator convicted and held accountable.  But I do forgive.

Some of my family members may not understand how I can choose to forgive, just like most of our
society.  This reminds me of people's reaction when I was at the March For Life with my friends from Save The 1.  Toward the end of the march to the Supreme Court, we stood with our signs -- some of them read, "Conceived in Rape, I Love My Life," or "Mother From Rape, I Love My Child," and also "Post-Abortive From Rape, I Miss My Child."  As my husband took photos of our group, I was observing the reaction of those marching -- many of whom were teenagers, but many of the adults had the same look on their faces.  For me, it was really profound because they had been hyped up from the March, chanting pro-life slogans, but when they saw us, their faces were sobered, and I know that for some of them, this was eye-opening.  They now had faces to the exceptions, and witnessed something they'd never seen or heard before.

We are called to forgive -- no exceptions, and we are called to love and to protect -- no exceptions, just as God forgives us and loves us without exception, and without compromise.  The last 5 years of my life have been by far my most difficult. But let me tell you this -- God has also been the most faithful to me in those 5 years!

UPDATE: Today is my brother's birthday and yesterday, December 9, 2016, we received a gift -- Nicholas Ortiz was convicted of murdering all three of my family members. He will serve a minimum of 99 years in prison. This was the second murder trial. The first was in June, but the jury was hung 8-4 in favor of a murder conviction. The relief which has been lifted is beyond words. Justice has been served and the world is a safer place with Nicholas Ortiz behind bars.

BIO:  Dyanne Gonzales is a wife, mother, and Editor for many pro-life Facebook pages, including A Voice For Unborn Babies, Salvar El 1, and for Save The 1.  She's also a blogger for Save The 1, as well as a Board Member.

Here's the audio of Dyanne sharing this testimonial with a cab driver after the March For Life 2014.


Debi Vinnedge said...

My heart just breaks for you Dyanne! You are so strong in your faith and love of God which has allowed you to forgive even when I am sure the pain will remain forever. God love you, bless you and give you strength!

Maureen Sullivan said...

Bless you Dyanne: We can do very difficult things in our lives with God beside us....Society tells us women are weak..We are stronger than anyone can ever imagine....We are the nurturers, the caregivers and the hope in a world gone crazy...

OnlyGirlOfTen said...

Thank You Debi!
In the mist of this trial, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that because of my forgiveness, my hope, my faith & my trust in our Heavenly Father, there is no other way possible that I could get through this very difficult time "...with so much peace in my heart that surpasses my need to understand." ❤️

Jennifer Brierly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer Brierly said...

Beautiful woman of faith. ❤