Parents of slain, pregnant Mishawaka teen turning pain into purpose
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — On Sunday, a trail along the East Race in South Bend was more than a track for runners.
Purple ribbons lined the pathway, guiding those who were marching against domestic violence. The “Domestic Violence Walk” was put together by Nicole and Dave Rouhselang, who are parents of 17-year-old Breana Rouhselang.
Rouhselang was brutally killed last December.
“It’s almost been a year it’s still shocking,” said Rouhselang’s step mother.
On December 11, police found Rouhselang, who was six months pregnant, in a dumpster behind Paschale Rulli’s in Mishawaka. Nearly a year later, a memorial remains for Rouhselang.
The father of the baby and Rouhselang’s ex-boyfriend, Aaron Trejo was accused and charged with their murder. On Sunday, Rouhselang’s father said he was unaware of problems in the relationship.
“We were completely unaware of anything like this going on,” he said. “We didn’t even know that my daughter was pregnant.”
Breana’s death is an example of teen domestic violence. Amy Stewart-Brown, executive director of The Family Justice Center, calls teen domestic violence a growing problem.
“We know that one in four women in our community will experience domestic violence and the numbers are similar for the young population,” she said.
Stewart-Brown said she wants teens in dangerous relationships to feel comfortable when asking for help. The Rouhselang family said they want to spread awareness of teen dating violence.
Nicole Rouhselang said she plans to host a “Domestic Violence Walk” every year to encourage anyone experience domestic violence to speak up.
“Reach our to somebody and don’t let anybody try and tell you you shouldn’t,” Rouhselang’s father said.