Grieving family of murdered woman raise awareness about domestic - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Grieving family of murdered woman raise awareness about domestic violence

Sydney Kline Sydney Kline
Kiera Kline Kiera Kline
Karen Kline Karen Kline
Patricia Kline Patricia Kline
Malia Espinda Malia Espinda

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Our focus on domestic violence this month continues with the heart-breaking story of a Windward Oahu family. Sydney Kline was killed by her boyfriend last month. Devastated family members are speaking publicly for the first time in hopes of raising awareness about abusive relationships.

With her nana closely at her side, 12-year-old Kiera takes a stroll at one of her favorite spots -- Point Panic on Oahu's south shore. It's where not too long ago, she and her mom stood eye to eye, held each other's hands and took a beautiful photo.

"We used to go to that hill over there and ride down the hill on the boxes," the 7th grader recalled. "I miss doing that with her 'cause she's the only one that would go with me down there."

On September 18th, while Kiera was at a friend's house, everything changed. Her devoted mother, Sydney Kline, 33, was brutally murdered by her boyfriend.

Sydney's mother was there and was also injured in the attack.

"The strength I have right now talking about Sydney is from Sydney, and Kiera, Trish and Malia, and the outpouring of support," Karen Kline, victim's mother, said through tears. "It's been overwhelming."

The Klines say Sydney was the glue that held the family together. The organizer, the problem-solver, there was nothing she couldn't do.

Except when it came to her boyfriend, Michael Thomas.

"I think she just thought that she could use those same skills to make this work, make the relationship better," Patricia Kline, victim's sister, said.

"We knew that something was wrong," Kiera Kline said. "But my mom just didn't really, she thought that she could fix him."

But the vibrant, intelligent, hard-working woman was losing who she was.

"She was very quiet, very tired, not wanting to talk much, not herself," Patricia Kline said. "I think she felt very alone."

"Two weeks prior to the incident, there was a family gathering that included everybody," Malia Espinda, victim's friend, said. "It might have been her catalyst to go I'm done here."

Sydney died while trying to leave the relationship.

"Sydney was remarkable," Karen Kline said. "She took care of everyone. My only regret is that she didn't put herself first."

This courageous family is now sharing its story, hoping that others in abusive relationships can avoid the same fate.

"There's so many people that want to help you," Patricia Kline said. "You're not by yourself and you don't need to be ashamed."

Kiera plans to achieve the goals her mother had set for her -- become a model, graduate from college and be happy.

"She did everything for me," the little girl said. "She was the best mom in the world."

A fund has been established to help Kiera with future expenses, such as her college education. To donate, visit any Bank of Hawaii branch and ask for the "Kiera K. Kline Fund."

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