Foundation for 1-year-old murder victim helping families going through similar pain

OWEN COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – The road to recovery isn’t always easy. But it can be helpful when you know there’s support all around you.

“Everybody just stopping and leaving a little something,” said Jessica Stewart, Shaylyn Ammerman’s mother.

Relatives built a memorial site for Shaylyn Ammerman outside her grandmother’s home. The one-year-old girl died tragically in March when she was abducted, raped, and strangled in Owen County.

The memorial is filled with stuffed animals and other gifts, most from strangers.

“It makes me feel good that they have enough compassion,” said Carol Stewart, Shaylyn’s grandmother. “There’s still enough goodness I guess left in people.”

That couldn’t be truer in the hearts of Carol and Jessica. The two set up a foundation named the Shaylyn Angel Foundation.

Through donations, the foundation will help families of child abuse victims pay for medical or psychological treatment in Owen and Monroe counties. It will partner with non-profits that specialize in abuse and neglect.

It also has support groups for sexual assault survivors – and those who have lost a loved one.

“If there’s a little something that we can do to either prevent it or even make it a little easier for somebody that does have to go through it then that’s what we want to do,” Carol said.

Jessica is already talking with two families.

“Just reaching out to them, both families have thanked me,” Jessica said.

Reliving a tragic time can be painful. But when that experience is used to help others the memories you wish you’d forget are worth remembering.

“If they need our help, don’t be afraid to reach out to us,” Jessica said.

The foundation will also help families pay for head stones if a loved one dies, among several more initiatives.

An account has been set up at the Owen County State Bank in Shaylyn’s name in Spencer.

Shaylyn’s family will have a raffle this weekend to gather donations for the foundation.

They’ll have a booth set up for the Apple Butter Festival in Spencer both Saturday and Sunday. Raffle prizes include flat screen television and a laptop.

For more information about the foundation, click here!