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Revisiting Old Wounds

Yesterday, I received an email telling me someone had posted a comment to a Live Journal post I had made back in 2005. I didn’t realize I still had that account.

In April 2005 updated my family website with these two posts:

4 April 05

We had something really horrible happened 2 doors down this weekend. Sunday morning we woke up to about 15 cop cars outside our house. The house 2 doors down was taped off and the cops blocked our street off. There were detectives and patrolman all over the place. At first the cops couldn’t talk about the “situation” which is understandable. It wasn’t until the 6 o’clock news did we find out anything. I knew it was horrible. The 6 o’clock news team showed up around 4:30pm and we waited and waited. The Clay County Sheriff finally came out and made his statement. The husband and wife were apparently fighting Friday night and somehow the husband managed to kill the wife. Luckily the two small boys were staying with family.

Here is the story:

10 April 05

The medical examiner’s findings were that he strangled his wife. No wonder none of us heard anything!

The post, and the comment, brought back so many memories and feelings. I do often wonder what happened to the family.

The comment had been directed to the following update I posted to our website:

At what point can a life amount to a pile of trash on the side of the road?
17 May 05

My heart hurts today. At what point can a life amount to a pile of trash on the side of the road for vultures to pick through?

After doing errands last night, we came home to see some people gutting the house two doors down. This was the same house that a woman was murdered in just last month. My husband went over to make sure everything was ok, and offer his help if needed. He found the father and the brother of the man accused of killing his wife just wandering around the garage, dragging things to the roadside or shuffling bags and boxes from one side to the other. It all looked aimless, distraught. They looked blank and didn’t know what to do. By this time, a few good neighbors were around and managed to talk them into giving the items to charity. So, off the brother and father went dragging things back from the curb to the garage.

We learned a lot from just a few short minutes with the family. But we learned even more going through their life left on the side of the road. In life we never knew them but for a fleeting wave as we drove by or went from house to car. We would see the kids playing outside on the ramp their father made them for skateboarding. We would see their dad mowing the lawn. We offered our pleasantries; but that was the extent of our social interaction with them. Until last night…

In a few hours time, we learned how Kelly Cannon Deming grew up. She was a military brat who was on the varsity Volleyball team. She graduated from a high school in Italy. She joined the Navy, and apparently met her husband there. We found all their banking information—new and used checks, W-2s, credit cards, and pay stubs. We even found the deed to the house. All in the trash, like it meant nothing. Though some of these papers were old, I’m sure Kelly found it important to protect their information in life…well, we will protect her information in death. We gathered all this up, and I am going to shred what I can. The memories we are going to package up and we are going to somehow get them to her family. I don’t think Kelly’s parents had the opportunity to stay after the funeral. I don’t blame them. It has to be so hard. But there are things I am sure they will want from their daughter’s effects. I don’t know the details and don’t know if they were even offered by the husband’s family. But from us, it was the right thing to do.

There were some tid bits of information that many people wonder about and no one ever finds out unless you are close to the family. Reporters never do a follow-up and we are all left wondering. But now, I at least have some understanding. I don’t think that we need to go into detail here. But the main thing I wanted to find out was the fate of the two little boys. Know this; they will be adopted by their uncle on their father’s side. From what I understand, he is a good Christian man. And, at least, the boys will be together and with family. It will be a hard treacherous road for them. They are so young to have gone through something so traumatic. I pray these boys find peace. I pray both families find peace. And I pray that Kelly Deming receives her justice!

Kelly Cannon Deming was a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Her life was not trash for scavengers.

Kelly Cannon Deming, born 1966(?)—died April 1, 2005

The comment was a very touching update from an anonymous source:

(Anonymous) ( wrote:

Jun. 13th, 2012 03:38 pm (UTC)
If you want an update…
The two boys of Kelly are now my neighbors. They live with their grandfather, a veteran of the USMC, and their Japanese grandmother. I have never met their uncle or their father, as he was convicted with murder and serves time behind bars where they visit him two or three times a month. The boys miss their mother, the older one more than the younger, but they have learned that life goes on.When I first heard what happened to their mother I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t understand but I was only twelve when the older son, thirteen at the time, told me. It was very touching for me when he took my hand one day, put it next to his own and told me that my hands reminded him of his mother’s.I can tell that you were touched by them in 2005 and I have only now found the need to find out what really happened to Kelly and found this page through my search. God bless you and your family.

I am very grateful for the update and am pleased that the two boys have pushed through the hard times and they are well-loved. Unfortunately, we never found Kelly’s parents. And when our water heater failed and flooded our garage and living room several years back, the memories were destroyed. It was hard to trash all that after trying so hard to save it all. I do hope her parents have found peace, though.
When all this happened, I felt compelled to do something, even just a little bit. I wanted to offer the boys a little comfort. I made two small comfort quilts for the two boys and delivered it to the detective investigating the incident. He was to give the quilts to the boys. When they asked for my name, I politely said “Just tell them it’s from someone who cares.” I hope those two quilts made it to them and they found some sort of comfort in them.


  1. Ping from Yvonne Cannon:

    I am Kelly’s sister-in-law. Yesterday, our family trudged through the day with heavy hearts as it would have marked Kelly’s 50th birthday. Your blog link was sent to me by a friend on Facebook after I posted a quick memorial in her honor marking this milestone.
    First, I would like to thank you for thoughtfulness in the aftermath of such a horrible act of violence. Maybe you are the neighbor that contacted Kelly’s parents about the trash at the end of the driveway…someone had…and we were shocked that the Demings had not given the Cannon side of the family a chance to go through her personal belongings to save what little she had that had sentimental value. Somehow, her parents, Larry and Lana Cannon, managed to acquire her wedding rings, mother’s ring, varsity letterman’s jacket, pearl necklace, scrapbook pictures, and her medals from the Navy. These items have been carefully packed away in a wooden trunk in the hopes that someday, her sons would want to look through them, have them, and be close to her in some way.
    However, I have come to the realization that that may never happen. After her death, the boys were sent to live with the paternal grandparents until the families could get our bearings as to what would be best for the boys. As we received the news of Kelly’s murder at the hands of her husband, our first thoughts, of course, were that the two boys should be with the Cannon side of the family. Distance was the first barrier…my husband, Curtis, and I live in Minnesota, Kelly’s sister, Sharon, in. Missouri, and Kelly’s parents, at that time, in North Carolina. The second barrier was that this event coincided with my husband’s deployment to Iraq (he would leave that August) and I would be alone with our own 3 little children. Initially, Chris Deming’s brother, Charles Jr., put in his application to adopt the boys, but after an, “incident” involving a conversation with the boys, he withdrew his application. It was then that Kelly’s parents applied for adoption. During this time, it became clear to us that the Florida Dept. Of Child Welfare was probably not going to allow the adoption to go through and sadly, the courts awarded the boys to the Deming grandparents as “wards of the state”. After this event, Kelly’s parents moved up here to Minnesota to be near our family.
    The boys came up for a 4 to 6 week visit every summer until Kelly’ mother passed away in 2009 from complications due to surgery to remove cancer from her colon. We held on to that precious time and protected the boys by not talking about her death, but of her life and the memories we had of her. As the boys became older the summer visits ended as they became busy with their own summer activities.
    Kioshi graduated last year from Sebeka High School up here in Minnesota. He lived with his grandfather and step grandmother as he was afraid he would not receive his diploma if he stayed at his current school. He was very successful up here…he was on the football team, and as a teacher in the Sebeka school system, I coordinated the extra academic help he needed in order to graduate. My daughter was also a senior that year, and we all pitched in to support him in his academic endeavors as much as possible. It was amazing to be able to watch Kelly’s son get handed his diploma alongside his cousin! After high school, Kelly’s brother, my husband, Curt, helped enroll Kioshi in college for culinary arts…he may not finish this as he has decided to move back down to Florida. We find this to be sad as he only has one year left, but he doesn’t often finish what he starts. When he turned 18, he was awarded his mother’s life insurance money ( a sizeable amount) and he was allowed to squander it. He saved nothing…when he came here, we tried to advise him on putting what was left away, but the temptation for a teenager was too great. It must be all gone by now with nothing to show for it. It is sad to think that the money gained by Kelly’s death and left as a legacy to help support her child was spent on fireworks, casinos, concerts, and pizzas.
    Kelly’s younger son, has not been to visit since the summer of 2013. What we know of his life is what we get from Facebook. He looks good and happy. He is still in school and I am not even sure when he will graduate.
    In the midst of the boys growing up, we have realized they know less and less of their mother. They visit their father in jail. The Deming grandparents, as well as the boys, have asked the Cannons on 4 separate occasions to petition the courts for their dad’s early release from the penitentiary, telling us that he didn’t mean to do it and that it was an accident. (Cords don’t “accidentally” get wrapped around someone’s neck.). Growing up, they did not hear stories of their mom, nor were there any pictures in their rooms or in the house of her. It was like the Demings erased her from their lives ( kind of like the garbage on the street). They may not have forgotten her, but the passage of time has blurred their memories of her and their lives center around their dad. The Cannon side of the family, on the other hand, waits for any morsel of time with her sons, or information about them as we love them dearly and are trying to keep Kelly’s memory alive within ourselves and within her children. We want them to know her side of the family and what a wonderful, caring, supportive mom she was and would have been had her life not been taken away.
    We have learned that time does not heal all wounds, but what has been most hurtful is the apathy by the Demings about their daughter-in-law’s death that has inadvertently been passed on to Kelly’s children.
    Chris Deming should get out of jail when he is in his 70s. Kelly’s parents did not fight for the death penalty because they kept their grandchildren’s well-being at the front of their minds. (A dad in jail is better than no dad.). As for all of Kelly’s extended family, we pray for her peace and for our own. We pray for her children’s continued good health and safety and that they can someday experience the love that comes with marriage and children of their own…that someday, they will honor their mother’s memory by being the best husbands and dads that they can be!
    The Cannon family thanks you for your beautiful post and your thoughtfulness at the time of her death. Neighbor’s are wonderful.

  2. Ping from S Lee:

    I worked with Kelly at Dillard’s , she worked in men’s / kids shoes , I in men’s wear all together in one department , we knew something was wrong instantly when she didn’t show up for work, it was a terrible time, she was a sweet lady and was dearly missed and I am glad the boys are doing well

  3. Ping from Leigh Caroline:

    Awwwww!! In order: Ack that’s tragic, and you’re sweet, and good they’ve been able to grow, if not past it, than at least through it. *Sends warm thoughts for them too*

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