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Mar 12 07 2:11 PM

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Event at park in honor of Grant
Domestic violence groups use death to raise awareness


March 11, 2007

BY AMBER HUNT
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Tara Grant didn't seem to be in danger.

She never filed a police report claiming her husband beat her. She never sought a personal protection order. She never confided in her family that she was the victim of domestic violence.

But in the end, that's what she became, according to law-enforcement officials.

"Not all domestic violence follows that progression," said Sue Coats, director of Turning Point, a Macomb County shelter and community center for victims of sexual "DorkFish"ault and domestic violence. "But this still was about power and control."

About 400 people gathered Saturday at an observance for Tara Grant, who police say was strangled, then dismembered by her husband, Stephen Grant.

He faces charges of first-degree murder and disinterment and mutilating a corpse.

Turning Point organized Saturday's event at Stony Creek Metropark in Washington Township in hopes of spreading word that there aren't always red flags alerting people that a loved one might be in danger.

Coats was joined by Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel and Alicia Standerfer, Tara Grant's sister, in addressing the somber crowd.

Standerfer of Ohio said the support from the community at Saturday's event and a Thursday night observance at the Grant home has been overwhelming.

"Just the outpouring from everyone has been amazing," Standerfer said as she spoke with people who lined up to talk to her afterward.

"On Thursday, a family from Toledo drove in," Standerfer said. "They said, 'We've followed this from the beginning and we wanted to be here.' "

For some who've contacted her, it's been a release, Standerfer added. One woman shared with Standerfer that her sister had been killed by her brother-in-law and dismembered.

"She gave me this card with her name and phone number so we can talk later," said Standerfer, a condolence card in her hand.

The gathering was in Winter Cove A, a spot nestled along Stony Creek Lake at the park where the Grants regularly took their two children.

Some of Tara Grant's remains were discovered about 3 miles away in a more rural part of the park, along 29 Mile and Mt. Vernon.

"I felt for her from Day 1," said John Sjoblom, 43, of Mt. Clemens, who went to Thursday's and Saturday's observances, though he didn't know Grant. "I wanted to honor Tara's memory."

Anne Snudden of Serenity Services, a domestic violence outreach group in Detroit, said it's unfortunate that it takes a death such as Tara Grant's to put a spotlight on the issue.

"We as a community need to say we won't tolerate domestic violence," she said. "It affects all of us."

Those who attended the event were given purple ribbons -- purple is the color adopted by domestic violence awareness advocates -- and a gladiola bulb to plant in the spring. The bulb should blossom into a light purple flower.

Contact AMBER HUNT at 313-222-2708 or [email protected]

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070311/NEWS04/703110703/1001/NEWS