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Domestic violence walk in Miami Gardens brings back memories

Yolanda Ryland can barely stand when she visits her mother’s grave site.

The agony from 20 years ago, when her mother Andrea Macklin was murdered is still unbearable. During a recent visit, she crouched near her mother gravesite; tears streamed down her face.

Her husband of 11 years, Thomas Macklin shot her at her job as a security guard in 1992.

Andrea Macklin was 33. Her daughter was 13 when her mother was killed.

“My mom, she was an outgoing woman. She just wanted me to grow up and be somebody,” Ryland said.

Andrea Macklin’s violent murder rocked her close-knit family who say they never knew the extent of the abuse she endured.

Her older sister Margaret Porter-Hall learned the details of her sister’s torturous relationship in a diary, days after Macklin’s death.

“She was suffering in silence for a very long time. She was being beaten for a very long time,” Porter-Hall said. “Everything was in the diary.”

On Saturday, Macklin’s daughter and family members will join a domestic violence walk in memory of Andrea Macklin.

Following the march, organizers will host domestic violence prevention workshops at Miami Gardens’ Betty T. Ferguson Community Center.

Porter-Hall said she wants to empower victims of domestic violence to speak out and save themselves. Domestic violence not only affects the abused, but also family members and children, she said.

Since her sister’s death, Porter-Hall, a member of the Miami Gardens Commission for Women, has been quietly working with victims of domestic abuse, donating clothes and toiletries. Part of her motivation, she said is her niece Ryland who was with her when she learned of the murder.

Porter-Hall still calls the 34-year-old Ryland “my baby”

“It was very hard for her when it happened. It’s still very hard for our entire family” she said.

Thomas Macklin is serving a life sentence in prison for Andrea Macklin’s murder.

Married for 11 years, the couple lived in the Brownsville neighborhood. Family members saw signs that something was amiss.

Andrea Macklin once an outgoing, affable woman who attended every family function, started coming around less often. She would make cryptic remarks asking her sister if she had to, would she take care of her daughter.

After receiving death threats from her husband, Andrea Macklin moved back into her mother’s Allapattah home.

She was planning to get a restraining order against her husband and start divorce proceedings.

She never got the chance. On Jan. 17, 1992, Thomas Macklin went to his wife’s security job at the Family Health Center, a drug rehabilitation center for unwed mothers, and shot her while she was on duty. She was unarmed and getting ready to end her 3-11 p.m. shift.

Ryland said she hopes her mother’s story will save lives.

“God didn’t give anyone the right to take someone’s life. I don’t think anyone man, woman or child should have to go through this.”