BROWNSBURG — It’s been nearly two months since Emily Giles was shot to death on her 26th birthday at her rural Lizton home.
Her husband, Michael Giles, has been charged with the murder. A pretrial conference has been set for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 6 in Hendricks Superior Court I.
The couple’s 16-month-old son, Mason, is now left behind to deal with the tragedy that authorities are attributing to domestic violence.
On Aug. 18, Emily’s friends and former classmates from Bethesda High School are holding a fundraiser with the hope of setting up a scholarship fund to benefit Mason.
“Emily’s Joy” is the name of the fundraiser and it will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the gymnasium of Bethesda Elementary School. The event will feature a silent auction and children’s carnival games.
“Emily and I went to school together and I’ve been close to her family for nine years now,” said Khelsea Johnson, organizer of the event. “We were pregnant at the same time, so we have children the same age. The news (of the murder) hit you like a ton of bricks and you don’t want to believe it’s true. Everybody’s been in a fog and you feel helpless.
“It was just purely shock. It can’t be true, we thought. Her family has gone through a lot, and this has shaken them to their core, but they are the most faithful people I’ve ever met. They’re strong, and they’re going to press forward and do right by Emily and definitely raise that baby.”
Johnson said she has some experience in holding such fundraisers.
“Unfortunately, I had organized a fundraiser before, as one of my co-workers was killed three years ago in a domestic violence dispute and we raised $16,000 for her daughters, so this happens and it hits close to home for me and people I work with in the community. We knew we had to do something focused around children because Mason was Emily’s pride and joy.”
Chick-Fil-A has donated sandwiches for the fundraiser, which will also feature a professional face painter, obstacle courses, and a litany of games and events centered around children. The silent auction will feature items such as Vera Bradley bags and various donations from local hair dressers, Texas Roadhouse, Boulder Creek, AC Comfort Heating and Air, and Flap Jacks.
“Emily would want nothing more than to see that Mason is taken care of, and her family is on board,” Johnson said. “We just want to spread the word, get people out, and it’s going to be a great event.”
Sheltering Wings, a shelter for women and children whose lives have been impacted by domestic violence, will have a booth aimed at educating the community on domestic violence and how people can get help.
“If you saw pictures of Emily on the news, everybody knew her smile and the reason for that smile was her son,” Johnson said. “She embraced being a mom, loved every single minute of it. She was trying to get out of this relationship and do what was best by him. She had reached out for help and we were just a little too late.
“So many were touched by Emily’s story and that weekend there was a huge influx (of women coming in to domestic violence shelters) that this was kind of a wake up call. If anything good can come from this, at least other people are getting out of these situations. You’ve got to talk about it. It’s something that needs to be handled and bring awareness about.”
Johnson said she hopes the fundraiser for Mason will become an annual event.
Just the facts
WHAT: Emily’s Joy fundraiser
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 18
WHERE: Bethesda Elementary School