Family of Domestic Abuse Victim Speak Out

By KBJR News 1

May 20, 2011 Updated May 20, 2011 at 9:08 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - A year ago this month, the lives of one Duluth family were forever changed.

On May 26, 2010 Mike Peterson took a gun and shot his wife to death in the home they had shared for more than three decades.

That day started like any other day for 20-year-old Jordan Peterson.

“She says, ‘Jordan don't forget about your dentist's appointment and I love you and I said I love you too mom’,” said Peterson.

But the day would end in unimaginable sorrow.

“Never heard her voice again,” said Peterson.

After school that day Jordan stopped by his grandparent's house, just a short distance from home. His aunt Kim was there too. It was there that they all heard sirens and went out to investigate.

“Everybody was there and there was the yellow tape around the house and somebody ran up and told me,” said Kim Sisto Robinson, Kay Marie’s sister.

The Sisto family quickly learned that Mike Peterson had shot Kaye Marie three times in the head and then put one bullet in his own head.

"Both victims were found on the floor right inside the front entryway of the home,” Duluth Police Officer Brad Wick told media on May 27th of last year.

“My soul mate and my best friend. Life will not be the same without her,” said Sisto.

“She was my closest friend,” Jordan said. “ She was my mom, she was always there for me.”

Life since the murder-suicide has been filled with grief and questions about what they could have done to prevent the tragedy.

“There were many signs that we, up, but what can you do about a sign.”

“He wanted to control my mom and my mom she wanted a divorce.”

Mike Sisto's family believes it was the impending divorce that drove him over the edge.

I've been trying to run it through my mind, and the only way I can... just the phrase 'He couldn't live without her.’,” Carlin Schiess told the Northland’s NewsCenter last year.

Kay Marie's family says there was never any physical abuse. Domestic Violence advocates say while emotional abuse can be devastating, without obvious physical signs, intervention can be much more difficult.

“A nice middle class family, no domestic violence calls, no advocacy, no record of any kind and she was still brutally murdered by her husband,” said Linda Riddle, the executive director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs.

Jordan and Kim say not a day goes by without thoughts of Kay Marie.

“It's just very sad without having a best friend,” said Sisto.

“What I have to do is dwell on the good times, the good memories of what I had with her and forget about the bad things and what I saw that day,” said Jordan.

In 2010 15 women, seven children, four family members and two men died in domestic violence in Minnesota.

To honor the memory of Kay Marie Sisto the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Program has renamed its annual walk-run, scheduled for Sunday (5/22).

It will be held at the Western Waterfront Trail in West Duluth beginning at one p-m.

Written for the web by Barbara Reyelts