Raashanai J. Coley
April 19, 2003 - September 6, 2014
Find A Grave Memorial

People in Raashanai's neighborhood were shocked to learn that she had died, mostly because they didn't even know that she existed:

"I never saw Raashanai"
Terry Banks

Terry lived next door to this family for over a year and said that he had no idea that there was a third child living in the home. Terry said that he never saw the mother of the only two children that were known to live in the home, Nicholette R. Lawrence, who was 32 years old at the time, in a bad mood. Nicholette was seen walking her two other daughters to the bus stop and that the girls seemed to be happy:

"They didn't seem apprehensive to be there. She looked like she loved those kids when
them to the bus stop. That's why everyone's been thrown off. She didn't come
across like that,
she always seemed in good spirits. That's why it rocked everyone's world"

In September of 2014 a call went out to 911 with concerns about a child who was unresponsive. Firefighters found a child who seemed to be thin with scars and bruises on her body. A little after 9:00 p.m., Raashanai was transported to Vista East Medical Center, where the things the Police had seen, were confirmed by Doctors who also said that Raashanai had died of blunt force trauma. Nicholette told Police that she had hit this child in the stomach a few days earlier. An autopsy showed that this punch to her stomach had gone all the way to her spine and put a tear in her stomach. Nicholette also admitted that she had been hitting this precious Angel with an extension cord.  Raashanai was said to be 11 years old and weighing only 60 pounds and her body had what appeared to be cigarette burns on it:

"This was definite, long term malnutrition. This took place over months"
Thomas Rudd - Coroner

Nicholette was arrested and charged with first degree murder and her bail was set at $5 million dollars. Nicholette had another daughter and a son, these children were being taken care of  by family members.

DISGUSTINGLY,  Nicholette's cell phone was reported to show videos she had taken of herself beating Raashanai with a belt in the previous weeks before she died. How SICK does a person have to be to make videos of the abuse they are inflicting on to an innocent child? Nicholette was not new to allegations of child abuse and Police as well as the Department Of Children And Family Services had been called to her home in June when a caller said that a child was being beaten in the home, the case was still open at the time of Raashanai's death. In March of 2012, Nicholette made a post on her Facebook wall that said she was unable to get any sleep because her daughter was being very difficult. When asked about the post, she said that her daughter was jealous of her younger children and that she lied all the time, she added that she guessed that behavior was normal for the oldest children in families.  Raashanai had been pulled out of public school in 2012 during the 2012 - 2013 session.

Caring neighbors left stuffed animals and flowers as a memorial for Raashanai on the door step of the home she lived and died in.

Nicholette has a picture of herself on her Facebook page, dressed as an inmate with the striped prison clothes they wear. I hope she likes that look because I will be praying that she never goes free again after what she did to this little girl. A court date was set for September 30, 2014.

UPDATE: November 5, 2014

In October of 2014, Nicholette R. Lawrence, who was 32 years old at the time, plead not guilty to the murder of Raashanai and was held on $5 million bond, facing life in prison if she is convicted. A trial date of February 2, 2015 was set though a pretrial hearing was set for November 19, 2014.

An autopsy showed that Raashanai had scarring, bruising and evidence of past abuse as well as suffering from malnutrition. Neighbors had a bake sale in September of 2014 that would pay tribute to this little Angel and help to pay for funeral expenses. Once again we see that people who are not even related to and might not even know a child, care more about that child than the people who are SUPPOSED to love, care for and protect that child. Thank God for those people!


Obituary for Raashanai Coley

Raashanai was born in Gresham, Oregon on April 19, 2003 and lived her early years in Monmouth/Independence. She had 2 very happy years in her grandma and grandpa's house on Broad Street where she loved to ride the yellow school bus to her preschool class at Monmouth, Elementary School. Her beloved teacher, Kathy Bond and her loving classroom helpers worked diligently with her mom, grandma and grandpa to guide and develop her language and communication skills. When she got home from school, her devoted uncles modeled language for her and giggled with her, including her in many happy hours of play. One day a week, Raashanai and her Grandma Linda visited the friendly and very fun speech therapist, Teacher Jody, who also worked regularly with her on her language and speech skills. Grandpa remembers how much she loved the school bus and would jump up and down for joy when it came down the street. She also loved the letter R, which helped her remember her very special name. After that year, Raashanai moved first to Texas and then to Chicago.

We have made many wonderful friends from far away who have loved Raashanai along with us. We are so grateful for the kindness and compassion which once total strangers, now friends have shown Raashanai and her story. The folks in Waukegan, Illinois have gone above and beyond to care about Raashanai and to care about us, as well. Together that community collected funds for Raashanai, had a bake sale in her honor and decided to actively become closer as neighbors. The community raised $3700 for her funeral expenses and for a special bench to be placed at the neighborhood park in her honor. They didn't know her well and had no reason to do this except that they were deeply touched by the events that unfolded in their neighborhood concerning her. Today, Sunday, October 5, 2014, the neighborhood will be planting a memory tree in her name, and sharing her celebration of life with us miles and miles away. We will forever be grateful to you, Waukegan, Illinois.

Raashanai's Hope
Dear friends and fellow knitters (anyone who can, or wants to learn how). Our recent family tragedy has stirred my spirit deeply. Raashani's life purpose is not yet complete. You can help her life make a difference. Please join me in a simple act to stamp out abuse and speak life to people who suffer abuse. Knit a hat! You don't have to be a knitter. You can use a loom, or a knitting machine, needles or a crochet hook. It is not about how good you are at making hats, it is about being willing to step into the life of someone else, even just for a moment, and make a personal connection with them, with a hat. Once you are done with the hat, write a special note to them. Tell them how their life has value and how they have special gifts to offer this world. Then find the person you made the hat for (God will guide you to them) and give them your hat. Tell them you made it especially for them, and that they are here for a purpose. Offer to teach them how you made the hat. Even leave them with yarn, instructions and a loom so they can make their own hat. Pass on the blessing, get involved and make a difference for Raashanai's Hope, one hat, and one person at a time. If not us, then who? If not me and you? It's time for us to do something! Let's do it, one hat at a time, one person at a time, one connection at a time and change the course of history, one story at a time.

My sincerest thank you goes out to Cat who has taken so much time to read the stories on my site and help me to keep the stories accurate and updated.

UPDATE: December 23, 2014 - (Thank you Cat for this update)

In December of 2014 it was reported the trial of Nicholette was scheduled for March 9, 2015. Nicholette was in the court room of Judge James Booras on December 16th with her Lawyers, Kevin Malia and Eric Rinehart. It was reported that both the Prosecutors and the Defense Lawyers were waiting for additional information in regard to medical reports and school records. A pretrial hearing was set for January 20, 2015.

Death occurred in the state of Illinois
This page was created on September 15, 2014

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