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Waco mother reflects on daughter's memory one year after her murder

On Aug. 14, 2020, Sakyra Young was shot and killed in Waco. Her boyfriend was later arrested and charged with her death, according to officials.

WACO, Texas — A lot has changed for Latoya Wells this past year. She became a grandmother, and an advocate for domestic violence.

“The best thing I can do is speak out,” said Wells. “I have my days where I shut the door and I don’t want to speak to anyone. There are days I wake up angry sometimes. There are days where I wake up OK. I get up about my day and go on. Just my strength in trying to keep her name alive is what stops my tears."

On Aug. 14, 2020 Wells' daughter, Sakyra Young, was shot and killed in Waco. Her boyfriend, 20-year-old Michael Matthew Howard, was later arrested by police and charged with her death by officials.

RELATED: Mother of victim of domestic violence in Waco urges other victims to seek help

RELATED: Domestic Violence Awareness Month | Remembering Sakyra Young

To help keep Sakyra's name alive Wells also started the Forever Young Scholarship.

"We are ahead this year thanks to my family who donated $1,500. Someone else donated another $500. So we are already up $2,000 and the school year haven’t even started."

On the anniversary of her daughter's death, Wells is sending a message to families who may have a loved one in a domestic violence situation.

"I don’t ever want a mother to think you can’t get through to her,” said Wells. “Because you help the abuser think 'Ok now, I got her right where I want her.'"

RELATED: Waco mother partners with non-profit after losing daughter to domestic violence

She also has a message for anyone afraid to leave an abuser.

"Staying in it because you think you are stuck is the worst way," said Wells.

On Saturday, Wells and her family will celebrate Young's life in Waco. They will release balloons and share memories about her.

Michael Howard, the man accused of killing Young, is in the McLennan County Jail on a $1 million dollar bond.

Only a small percentage of women get medical care from the physical abuse they suffer, but domestic abuse hotlines get nearly 20,000 calls a day.

If you or somebody you know is a victim of domestic abuse, please call 1-800-799-7233 or chat with a specialist online.

RELATED: Waco organization awards scholarships in honor of domestic violence victim

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