Birthday party for Anna Hurd raises money for domestic violence - KMSP-TV

Birthday party for Anna Hurd raises money for domestic violence

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It's not easy to have a birthday party when the birthday girl is no longer with you.

"This is the first time since my daughter's murder that I've felt peace in my heart; a closeness to her, like she was here with us," Anna Hurd's mother Jennifer Hutchings said.

Anna would have been 17 year old this week. A party for her filled with a silent auction, cupcakes and hot dogs has turned into a fundraiser for The Dwelling Place, a transitional shelter for battered women and children.

"In a crisis shelter, women can only stay for 30-45 days. That's not long enough," A Dwelling Place spokeswoman said.

The Dwelling Place gives women a safe place away from their abusers for up to 18 months. The money raised in honor of Anna will help the program to expand.

"She is speaking to us loud and clear," the spokeswoman said. "Her message is here with us in this community across the street from her high school. Something has got to be done."

"I really hope we can get something good accomplished and I know Anna's looking down on all of us," Anna's aunt Penny Griffin said.

Family and friends continue to struggle with the circumstances around Anna's death. Many also know her 17-year-old boyfriend, Anthony Mitchell, who is charged with her murder.

"There are still a lot of mixed emotions. It gives us a chance to send our grief to her. Like I said, she doesn't want to have it all about grief; she wants us to be happy," Sam Manley, Anna's friend, said.

However, brining awareness to domestic violence helps with the healing.

"I could feel her here today and that's what gave me the peace, and I just love and miss her so much and I don't want any mother to ever be in this position," Jennifer said.

Amid cheering and a release of purple balloons, her mother added, "Anna Lynn Hurd, Momma loves you. Happy birthday, baby."

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