The Face of Domestic Violence: Casket Photograph of Murdered Nova Henry & Baby Girl Ava Goes Viral on Facebook
By Rebecca Johnson
Recently, you may have noticed a disturbing side-by-side casket photograph of a 24-year-old mother and her 9-month-old daughter circulating on Facebook. It is believed to be the image of Nova Henry and her baby girl, Ava, both shot to death on January 25, 2009. Henry's ex-boyfriend, Fredrick Goings, has been charged in the brutal murder.
During a status hearing on September 10, 2012, Goings' trial date was tentatively set for October 26. He will appear in court for another status hearing on September 25, which accounts for the renewed interest in the story.
Before the on-again-off-again romantic relationship between Henry and Goings ended in the vicious slaying, the two engaged in a professional attorney-client relationship.
Frederick Goings started out as the attorney who represented Nova Henry in her paternity battle with NBA player, Eddy Curry, who most recently played with the Miami Heat. Henry and Curry shared a son, Noah and a paternity test proved Ava was indeed the daughter of Curry.
But things took a turn for the worst when Goings became violent toward Henry. Chicago Tribune reports that Henry told her mother Goings “beat” and “stalked” her. In April, just months before the fatal shooting, Henry told police Goings tried to shove her down a flight of stairs, was harassing her by phone and had threatened her and other family members.
"This is not in the best interest of you or your child," Goings told Henry during one incident, according to a police report. "When your cousin comes out of the house, I'm going to shoot him in the head."
Though Goings was charged with phone harassment and domestic battery, weeks later, Henry told a prosecutor she did not want to move forward with the charges—clearly a mistake.
Authorities found the bodies of Henry and her daughter inside her South Loop townhouse apartment with multiple gunshot wounds on that fateful January day. 3-year-old Noah was discovered at the grisly scene unharmed.
Even before the brutal slaying of the two victims, Goings had a history of domestic violence. He had been charged six times in domestic violence cases, but was never flagged for aggressive action.
Now millions of Facebook users—some familiar with the story, some not—are being reminded of the grim reality of domestic violence, owing to the viral spread of the tragic photo.
Perhaps Henry’s lifeless face and that of her sweet daughter will serve as a tale of woe and a silent reminder about the seriousness of domestic violence.
If you or someone you know is going through a domestic violence situation, don’t be afraid to get help. If you have questions about domestic violence or need help call 1-800-799-SAFE.