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Counselor, Heal thyself

July 29, 2010 permalink

Tonya Hunter-Lyons was a professional marriage counselor in Ohio, dedicating her life to helping others work out their marital problems. Her fate? She was murdered by her husband.



Marriage counselor stabbed to death, husband arrested

Video shows boy being left in street

CLEVELAND - Tonya Hunter-Lyons made a career out of helping people. She was the founder of the Bedford Heights marriage and family counseling service, Success 1. She counseled troubled marriages and families.

Friends and family say she loved her job. Her uncle, LeRoy Thornton said, "She was passionate about it."

On the door at the Bedord Heights counseling service, a sign is a grim reminder of what happened. All of her appointments had been canceled.

The 42-year-old was stabbed to death and police have arrested her husband, 38-year-old Maurice Lyons. Her 4-year-old son, who she loved so much, may have seen it happen. Police said someone dropped the young boy off on a street corner, which can be seen on surveillance video [Click the video player to watch the clip] . The boy later led police to his mother's body.

The video was recorded by security cameras at the Square Deal Market at East 28th and Cedar. Assistant manager Bobbie Buckner said a couple of his customers saw the child being abandoned in the street and called police. "They asked the boy about his mother and he got really scared," Buckner said.

Dr. Ellen Casper, a Beachwood psychologist, says at four years old the child will be able to remember images of his mother's attack but may not fully understand right now what happened to her. "My guess is that he knows something bad happened," Casper said.

Tonya's family is relying on faith and family to help ease the pain.

"He stripped a strong piece of this family, a big part of it, because of his jealousy," Thorton said.

The couple's short marriage was apparently filled with financial problems and at least two reports of domestic abuse. Tonya called police and took precautions, but it wasn't enough.

"The reality is that some offenders out there will harm the victim even when things are put in place," said Tim Boehnlein, Associate Director of Domestic Violence Center.

At the building where Tonya worked, friends said everyone knew and loved her. But they knew very little about her husband until recently.

Tonya Hunter-Lyon's son was initially placed in foster care, but Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services told NewsChannel5 that the boy has been placed with a relative on his mother's side of the family.

Source: WEWS Cleveland