PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. One week ago, 19-year-old Gilbert Newton III was convicted of first-degree murder for killing his ex-girlfriend, 18-year-old Morgan McCaffery.
Only on CBS3, Morgan’s mother is sharing her daughter’s story, hoping to shine a light on toxic teen relationships.READ MORE: 16-Year-Old Ahjaon Jackson Shot, Killed While Coming Home From Work With Twin Sister, Philadelphia Police Say
Kathy McCaffery vowed to never speak her daughter’s killer’s name again, instead hoping to use her voice to warn others about the dangerous relationships that likely you or someone you know is experiencing right now.
“She was probably the last person that you would expect this to happen to,” McCaffery said.
McCaffery comes to the gazebo outside Nazareth Academy to be close to her daughter, Morgan, the class of 2020 graduate and college-bound ball of energy whose smile could light up any room.
“She enjoyed life and was a really happy young girl,” she said.
Last summer, Morgan was enjoying time with friends and her new puppy having recently ended a turbulent year-long relationship.
“I was noticing a lot of breaking up, getting back, breaking up, getting back,” McCaffery said.
While Morgan’s mother says she only recently learned the full extent of the abuse her daughter endured, she says Morgan did share some instances of insulting text messages, threats and even physical abuse with some of her friends.
“A lot of times they are very protective of their abuser, because they don’t want people to know,” she said.
McCaffery says about a month after Morgan and her ex split, he contacted Morgan asking to meet up, saying he was struggling and wanted to talk. Morgan’s mom didn’t know her daughter was going.READ MORE: Doctor Accused Of Hoarding Dead Kittens In Her Freezer
“I think the guilt is what led her to meet with him,” she said.
That decision proved fatal. When police found Morgan’s lifeless body in a secluded parking, she had been stabbed more than 30 times.
“I still wake up and think, how did it happen?” McCaffery said.
Across the U.S., one in three women between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from their dating partner.
“It’s very difficult to admit that you let somebody else control you in this manner and put you down and hurt you,” McCaffery said.
In the year since Morgan’s death, her family and friends have created Morgan’s Light, a nonprofit working to raise awareness about toxic teen relationships.
“They do not realize they are the victim,” McCaffery said.
While nothing will bring their beautiful angel back, they hope Morgan’s Light will shine on someone who needs to hear this message.
“If we don’t start talking about it, it is never going to get better,” McCaffery said.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Police Searching For Shafeeq Lewis, Accused Of Fatally Shooting 13-Year-Old Boy On Way To School
For more information on Morgan’s Light or to request a school-based or community-based Morgan’s Light speaker, click here.