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What do a nurse, Director of Families and Friends of Murder Victims, a teacher, a Chaplin, Directors of Restorative Justice, therapist, missionary and survivor have in common? They are members of a trained team in San Bernardino, and they need our support.

They have prepared for the past three years to be ready — to be ready for their work and support survivors of violent loss. Many are driven to make a difference from their own grief stories to show how they have survived. Many continue a career in aiding humanity, all committed to knowing how they can help survivors after murder and other violent deaths.

It was an honor to be among such incredible people again the week just before Thanksgiving. They had all given up there weekend to spend three days together learning more about The Journey, a ten week support group.

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DSC_0007 ssiters Trainee group 2013



They have formed a team that will support each other as they take the tools that The Journey provides them in working with others with the ideas and support from the evidence-based model Restorative Retelling by Edward Rynearson, MD.

The Journey: Learning to Live with Violent Loss, with its accompanying audio recordings, will be released December 8, 2015. This is an updated version of the book published in 2008 by Connie Saindon. Three more real stories have been added along with more examples of Survivor Heroes, Missions and support-group guidelines. The book will be available on and other retail outlets, along with her other book, the award winning Murder Survivors Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips and Resources.

To support the San Bernardino Team, contact Anna Hamilton, Assoc. Director of Restorative Justice at 909-475-5474 or

For more information about the books and support-group training, contact Connie Saindon, MFT, Founder of Survivors of Violent Loss and Violent Loss Resources, at 858-699-7700 or


Connie Saindon

New Book


Murder Survivor’s Handbook

helps family members adapt to

and navigate the aftermath of murder


Release date: September 25, 2014


Murder Survivor's Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & ResourcesWhen a loved one is murdered, the survivors—the co-victims—are plunged into a head-spinning world of traumatic grief, criminal investigation, criminal justice, and the long-term consequences of violent loss. Sensational news coverage may compound the trauma of their loss.

Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources helps these survivors wend their way on this overwhelming journey they never chose to take.

Written by Connie Saindon, MA, MFT—along with many other voices—the book will be formally released on Sept. 25, 2014, to coincide with National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.

The book will be available in print and ebook formats.

Saindon’s professional as well as personal experience have given her a unique perspective that few others have. Not only did she learn first-hand about criminal death following the murder of her sister, she learned that she is a Survivor in every sense of the word. However, she also found that little was known about the impact of murder on survivors.

Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources fills that void for the survivors, the co-victims of murder. It provides information, resources, and strategies for learning to live with the aftermath of a homicide, including safety issues, dealing with the criminal justice system, addressing the news media, and coping with traumatic grief, while preserving the memory of a loved one.

Also in the book, Survivor Writers describe their own experiences and, through their tips and suggestions, lend a helping hand to those who follow in their footsteps.

The Foreword to the book is written by Edward Rynearson, MD, Medical Director, Separation and Loss Services Program, Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, WA, and the author of Retelling Violent Death.

Praise for the book:

• Nonfiction: Death, Grief, Bereavement
• Publisher: Wigeon Publishing
• Wholesale distribution: Ingram
• Publication date: September 25, 2014
• Size, print edition: 8.5 x 11
• Pages: 244
• Formats:
• paperback; ISBN: 978-0-9896913-0-7; $19.95
• e-book: Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, etc.; $7.99

Praise for the book:

This is exactly the book I would have loved to have had so I wouldn’t have made so many mistakes; I would have had some idea how this entire process works.

—Dayna Herrroz, Survivor/Co-victim
Peer Advocate/Violent Loss


This book is wonderful. You covered all the steps that victims have to deal with. The chapters are broken down and very easy to read and follow. The resource section after each topic is great.

—Rose Madsen, Families &
Friends of Murder Victims, Inc.


This book is fantastic! It will be so helpful to survivors, professionals and our colleagues working with Homicide Survivors.

—Director, Crime Victims Assistance
Unit, District Attorney’s Office


About the Author
connie saindon, author, Murder Survivor's Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources Connie Saindon is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and among the few specialists in the field of violent death bereavement. She is the founder of the nonprofit Survivors of Violent Loss Program in San Diego, which began at the University of California-San Diego outpatient clinic in 1998. Her commitment to violent loss bereavement is related to the murder of her sister, aged 17, in 1961.

She is author of The Journey: Ten Steps to Learning to Live with Violent Death (2008), an adaption of the Restorative Retelling Model for adult self-help and paraprofessionals. She also is a contributing author of Violent Death, Resilience and Intervention Beyond the Crises (2006).

When not pursuing her professional interests, Saindon may be found kayaking in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, skiing, walking her dog, or taking photographs. A native New Englander, Saindon splits her time between Boothbay, ME, and San Diego, CA.


For additional information or to schedule an interview:

Connie Saindon

Learn more at: Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources

Survivors of Violent Loss (SVL) and
The Cara Knott Foundation invite you to the
River of Remembrance Ceremony
In honor of National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims
Crime Victims Oak Garden
Saturday, September 20, 2014 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

The River of Remembrance Ceremony is an informal peer-support event where you will have the opportunity to tell other crime survivors about your loved ones life and how you would like us to remember them. You can paint a rock with your loved ones name on it and put it into a “river” or participate in our t-shirt activity by painting a t-shirt and hanging it on our “memory clothes line.” You can bring your own rock or t-shirt or some will be available at the event as will paint and Supplies. You can also engrave smooth river rocks at Conti & Sons 619-264-2480. Rocks should be 6”-8” maximum.
Bring a chair & some food &/or drink to share.

Contact Dayna Herroz for more information or 619-955-6084 or 619-251-1950

Crime Victims Oak Garden Directions: Cara Way off Scripps Poway Parkway. From San Diego I-15 north to Scripps Poway Parkway, exit right & make a U-turn at the first light. Return on Scripps Poway Parkway & turn right on Cara Way (just before the I-15 on ramp). Look for purple balloons & banner on sign post and follow Cara Way to the end of the park and park along the street.

***For those of you who do not have transportation The Jackie Robinson Family YMCA will have a bus to take you to the event. You must be there by 8:30 a.m. and contact Celeste Hunter @ 619-977-7433 or Bevelyn Bravo @ 619-325-7354 to reserve your spot on the bus!!!***

Co-Sponsors: Cara Knott Foundation, Survivors of Violent Loss (SVL), The Jenna Druck Center, Center for Mindful Relationships (CFMR), Victims Assistance Coordinating Council (VACC), Crime Stoppers, Therapy Changes, Crime & Trauma Recovery, Parents of Murdered Children (POMC), Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, San Diego Compassion Project, Mothers with a Message.

**Donations for this event can be made out to “SVLP” (Survivors of Violent Loss Program) and given to me in person, or mailed to: Dayna Herroz, P.O. Box 430116, San Diego, CA  92143.  For tax purposes, donation receipts will be provided upon request.**

Three locations!

These groups are open to anyone who has had a loved one die in a violent way.

     Location: Emerald Hills/Mt. Hope

     Thursday, November 12, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm

      UAAMAC Building

      Behind Market Creek Plaza

      4981 Market Street, San Diego 92102


     Location: Vista

     Thursday, November 19, 6:30-8:00 PM

     No. Coast Church, Coast Kids Conference Rm

     (Between “FROG 5” and “TOWER 6”)

     1132 N. Melrose Dr., Vista 92083

      760-724-6700 ext 256


     Location: Clairemont

     Monday, November 30, 7:30-9:00 PM

     3660 Clairemont Dr., Ste 2, San Diego 92117

 For more information please call


On October 20, 2007
A special soul was called to Heaven.

It was on this fateful day
That a beautiful life was taken away.

Through no fault of her own
A little girl has been left all alone.

Her mother’s last words were I love you…it’s going to be okay And the little girl knew that her mom’s life was slipping away.

Because of one man’s choice
This little girl will no longer hear her mother’s voice.

Her life has been changed forever
Because of one man’s fatal endeavor.

Today he will be sent away
That’s the price he has to pay.

So when all the tears have been shed
This little girl will come out ahead.

Because waiting for her is a very special place That is filled with God’s amazing grace.

With God’s guidance
We can put this behind us.

We will always remember and never forget How Kelli touched the lives of the people she met.

Survivors of Violent Loss exists to build a lifeline of hope and healing by providing support and education to those who live and work with violent death. Coping isn't easy. Survivors of Violent Loss can help. (619) 685-0005