BATAVIA, N.Y. — A vigil Thursday will honor Nicole Sheehan, the Batavia native who was shot and killed by her boyfriend in Chautauqua County in June.
"We want to honor Nicole and her memory, and really truthfully bring some awareness as well to this type of situation. Let people know we are here," said YWCA executive director Jeanne Walton.
Sheehan and her boyfriend, Sam Reynolds, had traveled from Lancaster to Westfield, Chautauqua County to celebrate Sheehan's birthday.
Around 2:30 a.m. on June 19, believe Reynolds shot Sheehan, who was then able to signal a neighbor for help. She was taken to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, where she later died. She was 29.
After a two-hour manhunt, police found Reynolds' body on the beach in the town of Barcelona. He died from a gunshot wound to the head.
When Walton heard the news, she felt she needed to do something. The vigil for Sheehan will be held at 8 p.m. at the YWCA on North Street in Batavia.
"It's horrifying. I think a lot of people think that this will never happen, it's never going to happen to them, it's never going to happen to somebody that they know." said Walton.
Walton said that many people do not know they are being affected by domestic violence. She says she hopes Thursday's vigil will bring light to the cause.
"One in four women is a victim of domestic violence. That's an astounding number when you think about it," said Walton.
Cindy Earl, the YWCA's domestic violence expert, said there are many other types of domestic abuse that do not involve physical abuse.
"It can be the verbal abuse. It can be financial abuse. It can be psychological and emotional abuse, and sometimes people don't recognize it," said Earl.
The YWCA has many services that can help people living in these types of situations. Earl urges those who may be subject to domestic abuse to come talk.
"It really is a team effort in the community . We work with many agencies in Genesee County and outside of Genesee County to help the person through that process," said Earl.