Every year, since Tara Grant was murdered by her husband in 2007, her sister and children return to Macomb County to warn others about domestic abuse.
On Thursday, Alicia Standerfer was back before a crowd, talking about the hardest chapter in her own life.
“I think about the happy things. I don’t really dwell on what happened to her. I use it as a message to help other people,” Standerfer said.
The annual Tara’s Walk is raising awareness for domestic violence, shining a light on the problem, and for Standerfer, it’s helping her to heal.
“There are those moments I think ‘Did that really happen in 15 years?’ ... I’ve compartmentalized it. It’s in a little lock box,” she said.
It was tragedy that not only made headlines in Michigan but around the world because many identified with her.
She was a busy working mother, her life seem normal. What people didn’t know was that leading up to her murder, she was being abused.
“It’s the most important thing of our year to come back here celebrate Tara’s memory and to encourage others to watch for signs of domestic violence. It’s important to us,” said Standerfer.
Standerfer, who took custody of Grant’s two children Lindsey and Ian, has made coming back to Macomb a priority. She and her husband now live in Wisconsin.
“It’s more of a welcoming homecoming. When Tara died and we didn’t know for three weeks, this community surrounded us and welcomed us. It’s more of a comforting feeling than a negative,” she said.
Moving forward, raising awareness
At the time of this tragedy, Lindsey was 6 years old and Ian was 4 years old. They are now both in college, successful, well adjusted, focused on taking this tragedy to help others heal.
Lindsey Standerfer is now almost 21. She’s a student at The Ohio State University. Her focus is on the future, but it’s also a reminder of her past as she studies pediatric psychology.
She does not have a desire to speak to her biological father Stephen Grant.
“I don’t think that I ever will need to. If I ever choose to do it, it’ll be because I wanted to. For a long time I felt like I needed to speak to him to have closure, but I think that I created closure for myself. I recognize that everything happens for a reason, and I live by that every single day, and so I don’t need him for the closure that I got,” said Lindsey.
Ian Standerfer is now a college freshman in Wisconsin.
“(Coming back to town) kind of rehashes some stuff from when I was younger, but at the same time it’s like yeah I know it’s like personally a little bit harder for myself, but at the same time if I have to go through a little bit of pain just to help a lot of people out, I’m 1,000 percent willing to do that,” he said.
Both Lindsey and Ian turned the tragedy into an opportunity to help others. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and unfortunately during the pandemic cases of domestic violence have been on the rise.
The hope is that by sharing Tara’s story and highlighting the local resources available, it won’t happen to others.
Stephen Grant remains incarcerated in Manistee. His earliest release date is 2057.
February 2017: Remembering details of Tara Grant’s disturbing death