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Fundraiser, vigil held for children of Melissa Aud-Headlee, slain Joliet, Illinois woman

Vigil, raffle held for children of Joliet, Illinois murder victim
Vigil, raffle held for children of Joliet, Illinois murder victim 00:30

JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) -- A community in mourning united in Joliet Friday evening to help raise money to stop domestic violence.

As friends and family of Melissa Aud-Headlee came to terms with her death at the hands of her estranged husband, they sought to raise money for her three children.

They gathered outside Aud-Headlee's home, collecting money for a raffle and a candlelight vigil.

A GoFundMe for Aud-Headlee's children has raised more than $8,000.

Aud-Headlee was stabbed to death by her estranged husband in a murder-suicide this past Saturday morning.

Melissa Aud-Headlee's older brother, Daniel Ronczkowski, told CBS 2 he was helping his sister plant flower beds on Saturday. When they ran out of mulch, he said he offered to run to the store. 

He was only gone a few minutes when he got a call to come back. Melissa Aud-Headlee's estranged husband, Michael Aud-Headlee, had been watching them from a distance, and confronted his estranged wife inside the home once her brother was gone.

Her family said she put down their 3-year-old son and told him to "run and hide." After a struggle inside, she ran for a neighbor's house.

But Joliet Police said that's when Michael Aud-Headlee caught up to her in the middle of the street and stabbed her multiple times in the chest with a kitchen knife before turning the knife on himself.

Joliet police told CBS 2 they'd been called to the home for mostly domestic violence-related incidents nine times since 2021. Melissa Aud-Headlee had taken out two orders of protection against her then-estranged husband before he took her life.

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