CCC student killed in domestic dispute

On January 12th Tara Hayes, a student here at Cumberland County College, was killed in her home. 

Tara was twenty-seven years old, and was a single mother to a six-year-old daughter, Shyla. Tara was living with her father, after her mother passed away last year. 

Hayes was taking classes at Cumberland County College, majoring in Criminal Justice. Before her death she was given an internship with the County Sheriff’s Office. She had planned to start a future in law enforcement. 

Christine Armstrong, a good friend of Tara’s, describes Hayes as a wonderful person. “She had a great personality who lived for life and her family.  She was so excited to be pursuing a career within the criminal justice field; it’s just too bad her dreams never had a chance to come true,” said Armstrong. 

Kelsey Austin, who had Tara as a student for English 102 and Effective Speech, remembers her former student as dependable. “I remember her speeches and the one that stands out the most was a speech she gave about her mother. It was very moving and it made it clear that Tara was not just comfortable with people, she loved people.” Mrs. Austin continued by saying, “I also remember her final speech which was on eating breakfast. She didn’t surprise me when she brought in bags of breakfast foods for us. That was Tara.” 

 Sarah Shapiro, another teacher on campus, taught Tara Art Therapy. Ms. Shapiro said, “Tara was a good student. She was creative and enthusiastic about school.” All of the pieces created by Tara in her class were sent home to her father and daughter. One of the pieces included a headdress created out of pipe cleaners that Tara made for Shyla. 

Tara’s death was the result of a domestic dispute. There are several different types of domestic abuse, and emotional, physical, sexual, and economic abuse are among the most common. According to, many abusers behave in ways that include more than one domestic type of abuse. The boundaries between some of these behaviors may also overlap. 

Although those in an abusive relationship may be unaware of its severity, there are several telltale signs that help is necessary. “Personality changes, references to a partner’s anger, harassing phone calls, as well as isolation from friends are all signals that something is wrong,” stated the website. 

According to The American Bar Association and Commission on Domestic Violence, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed due to a domestic dispute in 2000. Similarly, about 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States. 

Kate Mather, a former teacher of Tara’s as well as a psychology professor at Cumberland County College, further illuminates the issue. “1 in 4 couples will experience an incident of violence in their time together as a couple.” 

According to Mather, conversation and education are the key issues to stopping domestic abuse. “We live in a culture of violence,” said Mather. “Males feel the need to be the dominant partner in a relationship.”

Mather continued on in saying, “Bystanders are a big part of domestic abuse. They don’t always understand the responsibility given to them by witnessing a domestic disturbance. They often believe its ‘the couples personal business’ and therefore do not report the abuse they are seeing firsthand.”

Domestic disputes should always be reported. It is possible that someone in an abusive relationship is in denial, and therefore will refuse to admit something is wrong. Filing a domestic abuse report is confidential, and if suspicions arise a full investigation will be done before anyone is taken into custody. 

Although Tara was taken when she had so much left to live for, she will never be forgotten by anyone who knew her. “I can remember her laugh quite well,” said Mrs. Austin.   

Hot-Line Info Courtesy of


Common Ground Sanctuary Numbers:

Toll free




Safe Haven Numbers:

Toll free




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s