The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Faces of Domestic Violence

October 6, 2012

Cindy Achenbach: 'Everyone loved her'

Sister still 'talks' to woman who died at age 24

ELWOOD, Ind. — Cynthia Achenbach seemed to help underdogs, even in her youth.

Her father, Rick Corwin, laughed as he told of Cindy sticking up for a friend in elementary school — by hitting a boy who kept teasing the girl about her appearance.

“She always thought she could change people and make them better,” said Cindy’s mother, Nancy Corwin.

Her family said that was the approach Cindy, 24, was taking with estranged husband Michael Achenbach, 39. He is serving a 60-year sentence after pleading guilty to shooting and killing Cindy on April 23, 2008. The shooting occurred outside his Anderson home while their two daughters — Aveza, weeks from her fifth birthday, and Lilian, seven-months-old — were just feet away.

There was a history of abuse. Weeks before the shooting, Michael Achenbach had been arrested for domestic battery. Nancy recalled that if Cindy became attached to something, Michael would try to destroy it. He tore Cindy’s recently-planted flowers out of the ground. He kicked her pets across the room, Nancy said.

The abuse went counter to Cindy’s attitude of being carefree and outgoing, a social butterfly, Nancy said.

And Cindy loved her role as a mom.

Cindy experienced a few bumps growing up, but after she had her children, Rick said, his daughter matured quickly, becoming a responsible woman and mother. The family always joked that Cindy’s daughters would be the best-looking kids in preschool as she loved fixing their hair and dressing them in pretty outfits.

She was scheduled to sign up for beauty school on the day after she was killed.

“We just miss her so much,” Rick said. “She was way too young. I know 200 other families go through this every day. It doesn’t stop. It’s just so tragic.”

Nancy cried as she spoke of her own morning ritual — sitting at the kitchen table across from a picture of Cindy as she talked to her.

Younger sister Jennifer Corwin smiled as she talked about the relationship she shared with Cindy.

“We would talk on the phone for hours, laughing most of that really,” Jennifer said. “I still have her number in my phone. I can’t delete it.”

Jennifer still talks to her sister in her dreams.

“Everyone loved her,” she said. “I just want to make sure she is remembered.”

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Faces of Domestic Violence
  • 1028 news Domestic Violence illustration06 - Copy.JPG Who can stop domestic violence? You

    The elimination of abuse in relationships — with time, cooperation and commitment — is possible, said Colleen Yeakle, coordinator of the Indiana Coalition of Domestic Violence’s (ICADV) prevention initiative.

    October 27, 2012 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Legislation comes a long way, but more change needed

    Each year the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence sets its legislative priorities based on year-round discussions with its members and legislators to see what needs are out there and what is going on in the field.

    October 27, 2012

  • 1028 news Empty Table Settings 18a.jpg Children affected by abuse too

    While some may think the atmosphere at Alternatives, the Anderson domestic violence shelter, would be a somber one, instead it is a building filled with laughter and joy.

    October 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • Gissendanner, Kristy.jpg Kristy Gissendanner: 'Vivacious and sweet'

    Six-day-old Gabrielle Gissendanner and her 18-month-old brother Michael weren’t far from their mom when Harry Gissendanner shot and killed Kristy in their Anderson home in 2004.

    October 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • John Davis: ‘Defined by your actions and inactions’

    John Davis wants his pain to make a difference. He’s hopeful sharing what he experienced and witnessed growing up will empower someone else to leave a dangerous situation or avoid it altogether.

    October 27, 2012

  • ‘It was life-altering’

    Casey Huffman should have taken her son Camdon to his first day of kindergarten this year. She should be picking out a Halloween costume for him. She should be thinking about how to help him achieve his hopes and dreams. Instead, Casey mourns over his all-too-early death.

    October 27, 2012

  • Tomlinson, Tina.tif Tina Tomlinson: 'She was a hoot'

    Tina Tomlinson was just “plain fun,” her family recalled. The mother of two and dedicated grandmother was someone family could look to for a good time.

    October 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1024 news Domestic violence forum 108a.jpg Domestic violence prevention is possible, expert says

    Gender stereotypes are just one thing that Todd Cawthorn and five other speakers, during a 90-minute panel discussion Tuesday night, talked about that create an environment where domestic violence is accepted.

    October 23, 2012 3 Photos

  • 1023 news Dating violence talk 33a.jpg Teens can be victims of domestic violence, too

    Dating violence has been seen locally in relationships as young as sixth grade, Alternatives Inc. prevention specialist Todd Cawthorn said.

    October 22, 2012 2 Photos

  • 1021 news pendleton town court 020.jpg Justice for victims

    While a protective order is an important piece of the legal puzzle that domestic violence victims have to solve, Judge Stephen Clase stresses to each that it is, after all, “just a piece of paper.” “They won’t stop a knife or a bullet,” he said. “I tell them they need to be on guard at all times.”

    October 20, 2012 1 Photo

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  • Where to find help

    Alternatives Inc., 24-hour crisis line
    (765) 643-0200 or (866) 593-9999
    Kandi Floyd, Christy Clark, Dara Tracy -- victim’s advocates
    Victims Assistance Program, Madison County Sheriff’s Department
    (765) 646-4078 or (765) 646-4079
    Gay Doss, Jaime Wilhoite -- victim assistance providers
    Victim Assistance Program, Madison County Prosecutor‘s Office
    (765) 641-9673
    Melinda Padgett, Karla Montgomery, Alison Lutz, Gracie Roman, Laura Evans -- victim assistance providers
    Victim Assistance Unit, Anderson Police Department
    (765) 648-6773, Lessa Johnson, Christy Jones -- victim assistance specialists
    Sowers of Seeds Counseling, Batters’ Intervention Program
    (765) 649-3452
    Vaughn Walker -- supervisor

    Anonymous The Herald Bulletin Fri, October 12
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