Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

April 8, 2014

Mother tells daughter's dating violence story

ST. LEON – Heather Norris was a teenager who was involved in sports, loved spending time with her friends, was looking forward to college and had a family that supported her.

She was also brutally murdered by her boyfriend in 2007.

On April 2, her mother, Debbie Norris, talked to East Central High School freshmen and other interested students about dating violence.

“As I look out at all of you, I think of my daughter. A part of my mind never stops thinking of her,” she said.

From the first time “I met Heather’s boyfriend, something told me it wasn’t right. He never wanted to come into the house. She would have to go out to meet him.

“It took a long time before Heather would come to me and say he was beating her. She told me not to do anything .... She had bruises and concussions, and he was mentally abusing her. Heather was 18, and she still lived at home .... I wanted her to know she had a safe place to go.

“She loved her family and friends and was always laughing. She was always there for her friends. That wasn’t the case when they were together. When she was with him, she was a totally different person. She didn’t care about her appearance anymore, and she distanced herself from family and friends.

“We all talked to Heather about what we thought about the relationship. When they weren’t together, she listened to everything we had to say.” Then she would go back to him, and the beatings continued.

The Indianapolis mother revealed, “She was accepted to Indiana University and was so excited. She and her cousin had talked about being roommates for years. But when you’re in a destructive relationship, your life changes.

At IU, “her grades fell, and she missed classes .... She left school, and that was a dream of hers that would never be fulfilled. She was home now and needed to get a job, but since he had control over her, she wasn’t allowed to have a job and meet new friends.”

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