(Editor’s Note: This is the second of a four-part series on Domestic Violence)
BELFRY, Ky. — Lorraine Maynard is all too familiar with the true meaning of domestic violence. Every time she looks at her 25 year-old daughter’s face, the memories of the phone call she received on March 15, 2007 comes flooding back.
She remembers the horror, the heartbreak and the denial thinking that the Dayton, Ohio police force had her daughter confused with someone else. But the police did contact the right parents, and that’s when the nightmare began.
“My daughter had graduated from high school and wanted to move to Dayton to be with her grandmother, whose health wasn’t good,” stated Maynard. “She had started classes at a community college there and was working full time at a service station when she met a guy that she started dating. I can’t explain why, but I had bad feelings about this boy as soon as she told me about him. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it and I chalked it up to the fact that I wasn’t crazy about her moving away from home and that I was nervous about her dating someone she really didn’t know anything about. She had led a sheltered life. Little did I know that my motherly instincts had kicked in and were trying to warn me about this young man.”
“I have wished a thousand times over that I would have listened.”
Maynard’s daughter Miranda spoke with the Daily News over the telephone about what happened on that fateful day. This is her story, in her own words.
“Before I got ready to leave for work the morning of May 15, 2007, I started getting phone calls from my ex-boyfriend. I had broken up with him approximately a week before that because he had become very possessive and jealous over me, demanding that I quit my job because he didn’t want me waiting on male customers and he wanted me to move out of my grandmother’s house and in with him. I told him that the whole reason I had left home was because my grandmother was ill and needed me to help her, especially at night. I couldn’t go anywhere that he wasn’t there. He told me I wasn’t allowed to go to the grocery store, shopping or spend time with my cousins, he even sat outside my classrooms to make sure I didn’t talk to any guys after class was over. He was literally driving me crazy.”
“He had gone through the phase after I called it quits of begging me to stay with him, telling me he was sorry for his actions and would never do them again and that he only acted that way because he loved me so much and was afraid I would leave him for someone else. He left flowers at my work and on our front porch, left notes and cards on my windshield, bought me present after present – this all happened over a period of 4-5 days. When he seen that wasn’t working, he got angry…I mean he really got angry. He started making threatening calls to both our home and to my work, started following me in his car when I was going to and from class and work – he was really starting to scare me. I went to the police and tried to get an EPO and they said since he hadn’t actually hurt me physically, there wasn’t anything that I could do.”
“The morning of the 15th, he had left a message on my grandmother’s answering machine telling me to look in the mirror and to enjoy how pretty my face was because in a few hours, it would look completely different. I called the police station once again and played the message for them and they told me they would have an officer come by my work in an hour or so to take the complaint and they would request that the judge sign an EPO to keep him away from me. My grandmother begged me to not go to work; she was so scared and wanted me to stay home. I seriously considered it but we had one cahier off on maternity leave and another off sick, so I didn’t want to leave them in a tight spot. How I wish I would have called in and took the day off.”
“I hadn’t been at work for more than 20 minutes or so when my ex walked through the door. I stepped in the back where employees only are allowed and made it to the backdoor. My manager was calling 911 when Bruce burst through the backdoor just a few seconds after I had exited it, threw fluid on my face, hair and neck that he was carrying in a large plastic cup. The second it hit my face my eyes were on fire and I couldn’t open them and my sense of smell told me it was gasoline. I hear the click of the cigarette lighter and felt the most excruciating pain I have even known. It was so hot that I could feel the flesh dripping off my face.”
“He had set me on fire.”
Miranda woke up in the burn unit of a hospital in Ohio 8 days after the terrible tragedy. Her physicians had kept her in a medically induced coma because of the terrible pain she was in and to also allow for her treatments to begin.
“I looked like a monster. I kept asking for a mirror and they wouldn’t let me have one. Finally, one day when my mom stepped out of the room I managed to make it out of the bed and over to the mirror. I remember just screaming over and over again when I saw what I looked like. I felt that my life was over. I looked like a total freak.”
Miranda suffered severe burns over 80 percent of her head, neck and face. She has undergone extensive plastic and reconstructive therapy and wears a wig because her own hair never grew back. Although she knows her appearance is 100 percent better than it was after the accident, scars from her injuries are still visible, and will always be.
“I could have crawled into a hole to never come back out, I could have hid myself away from the world and drowned in my sea of self-pity, but I chose another path. I speak to high school and college age girls about the warning signs to look for in relationships that point to abuse. I joined a wonderful church and they keep me busy in activities, and I also completed by social services degree although many of my classes had to be on-line due to the numerous surgeries and hospital stays I went through. I know I can’t change what happened, but maybe – just maybe, the scars on my face will be enough to convince a young lady in a troubled relationship to get out and to get help before it’s too late.”
Miranda’s attacker was sentenced to a prison sentence of 32 years and will be eligible for bond in 2020.