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Authors: Daleen Berry

Tags: #Non-Fiction, #Biography, #Suspense, #Psychology

Sister of Silence

BOOK: Sister of Silence
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Sister of Silence:

a memoir


by Daleen Berry


Afterword by Kenneth V. Lanning

Former Supervisory Special Agent

FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit


Copyright 2012 Daleen Berry



Amazon Kindle Edition, License Notes

This e
-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


Nellie Bly Books

Morgantown, West Virginia



Nellie Bly Books

Morgantown, W.Va.


The names and identifying details of some characters in this book have been changed.


Copyright © 2012 by Daleen Berry

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form, except for brief quotes used specifically within critical articles and reviews.


Nellie Bly Books
electronic edition 2012

Nellie Bly Books and design are registered trademarks.


A portion of this book was entered in the 2006 West Virginia Writer’s Competition under the title “Summer 1968: West Virginia Roots.”


A percentage of the author’s proceeds
will be donated to Samantha’s Sanctuary, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation established in 2012 to help educate and empower abused women and children.



Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and completeness of information contained in this book, we assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. Any slights of people, places, or organizations are unintentional.

Contact the Author

Nellie Bly Books can arrange for Ms. Berry to speak at your live event. Book excerpts can also be created to fit specific needs. For information or to book an event, please contact Nellie Bly Books at 888-241-5534, or send an email to:
[email protected]

Please support the author’s rights by purchasing only authorized editions, and don’t encourage piracy of copyrighted materials, which is illegal and punishable by law.



“Berry is an engaging writer, her style fluid and easy to read, with welcome touches of humor and sustained tension throughout.

Kirkus Reviews


“Strong prose…acute memory…disturbing story.”

—5 stars,
ForeWord Reviews


“Almost never is an interview subject so open or so candid about the most intimate details of the most horrible moments of her life. Daleen is a very brave women and I hope her story will help other girls and women…Daleen you are a magnificent storyteller.”

—Bob Edwards

Author of
Voice in the Box: My Life in Radio


Sister of Silence
, author Daleen Berry gently guides us through the dark corridors of her life, so that we can emerge in the light, as she has courageously done, with a sense of hope, authenticity and courage.
Sister of Silence
is a brave book, written from the heart. It’s a must read for the brave-hearted.”

—Asra Q. Nomani

Author of
Standing Alone: An American

Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam


“Sister of Silence is authentic, compelling and necessary.”

—Richard Currey

Author of
Fatal Light


“For marketing purposes, nothing better can happen to a book than having it banned. A banned book is a sure sign that you’ve done something very right.”

—Lee Maynard

Author of


“Sister of Silence is wonderful! It’s an inspirational memoir from an amazing woman who helps us truly understand all the conflicting emotions and seemingly incongruous behaviors that anyone would experience when challenged by such a horrific situation. Daleen found strength in the face of overwhelming destructiveness to protect both her own future and that of her children—but the silence had to be broken first. What courage and resourcefulness her journey entailed. It’s a wake-up call for all of us to help end the silence!”

—Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, Johns Hopkins University

Author of
Family Violence and Nursing Practice


“A dramatic memoir told in a matter-of-fact, yet strikingly compelling, manner.”

Appalachian Heritage

Summer 2011 Issue

DALEEN BERRY lives in West Virginia and has been covering crime since 1988. She has won a first-place award for investigative journalism from the West Virginia Press Association, two second-place awards from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association for her weekly newspaper column, and as a student editor, she also led her staff to a record number of awards from the Society for Collegiate Journalists. Most recently, in 2012, she received the Pearl Buck Award in Writing for Social Change.


Sister of Silence
was a first-place winner in the West Virginia Writers’ Competition, Appalachian Theme Category.



Cover design by Megan Hagebush

Author photo by KateDavid Photography


Previously published paperback editions are available online at:



To read more of Ms. Berry's work, go to:




For my four sweet grapes,

because without you

there would be no story.


After Our E
scape (circa July 1990)

Photo by Bruce Gurholt



I’m eternally grateful to my Creator, who has never left my side, who gave me the amazing gift of being a wordsmith, and my greatest blessings: my four “sweet grapes.”

It was those same sweet grapes who gave me a reason to live. Their lives made my own meaningful, and they taught me more about love than I ever could have learned otherwise.

Warm appreciation goes to the men and women in blue during my early journalism days, who taught me how to ask the right questions.

Linda and Delbert Benson saw something within my words that I didn’t, and their unswerving faith led me down a different path.

I’m indebted to Ken Lanning, who graciously gave of his time and expertise and, most of all, his endorsement.

Julie Sexstone, who showed me how to dig deeply enough to find my story, deserves heartfelt thanks.

So do my dear friends Boyd and Lennoe, who told me I had a story to tell in the first place.

Deep gratitude to Deb Beazley, who believed my story could help other victims, and whose enthusiasm was contagious.

Darron Padilla deserves a big hug because his own certainty that Oprah would love it made me wipe away the dust and kept me moving forward.

I came to know more fully what Wanda Toppins, my sister in silence, went through, thanks to the generosity of her stepson, Jerry, who patiently answered my questions.

Like Wanda, I had help in the form of wonderful friends who sheltered my children and me when we were at the breaking point, and I would be remiss in not thanking (or remembering, as the case may be) Butch and Shirley.

Heartfelt appreciation to the many authors who have supported me: Richard Currey, who bestowed a great honor upon my work; Julie Gregory, who saw the raw beauty in my story; John Searles, who graciously helped me get one foot in Oprah’s door; and Asra Nomani, who led by example.

I’m most grateful to my editors, Arlene Robinson and Janet Wellington, whose advice helped hone my skills.

More thanks than she will ever know go to Jackie Campbell, who graciously took time from her very busy academic schedule to help me.

Jeannette Walls’ incredibly kind words gave me the courage to do just that, when she urged me to finish writing this book.

Hugs go to Lisa Jan, Hilda Heady, Fran Kirk, Teresa Neel, Scott Radabaugh, Troy Helmick, Pete and Shirley Vuljanic, and Steve and Nina Calvert for just being there, to Rick Shartzer, who taught me about my inner warrior, and to anyone else I may have overlooked along my journey.

Finally, I must thank my parents, who, in spite of their flaws, gave me all they could—which, as it turns out, was more than enough.

BOOK: Sister of Silence
6.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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