Debbie Riddle

Conference Speakers
Title: Speaker & Community Activist
Phone: 216-702-0132

"I know that by telling Peggy's story, I will save a life in the future."

In January of 2003, Debbie Riddle's youngest sister, Peggy, was murdered by a man who stalked her for almost a year. Peggy had regularly documented all of the stalking behavior, had repeatedly sought help from the criminal justice system, put an order of protection in place and had ultimately moved to another state to escape the stalking − to no avail. On Jan. 18, 2003 Peggy’s stalker found and killed her. He then killed himself.

The month after Peggy's murder, Debbie began to speak out about stalking, using Peggy’s story as a catalyst for change. By speaking out she educated lawmakers, law enforcement and court systems about stalking and its devastating effects, Debbie hopes to change the way law enforcement responds to stalking, with earlier intervention and stronger responses. Her tenacity and desire to keep Peggy’s memory alive has helped bring national attention to this horrific crime. Debbie is now one of the country’s leading speakers on stalking and has made strides toward changing the way communities deal with stalking crimes. Shortly after Peggy’s death Debbie began working with the National Center for Victims of Crime and the Stalking Resource Center. During this time, she was sought out by Erin Brockovich and Lifetime Television to help produce a segment for Erin's show "Final Justice." While working on the project in July 2003, Debbie was asked to speak at a Congressional briefing requesting U.S. Congress to recognize January, the month Peggy was murdered, as Stalking Awareness Month. January 2015 marks the 11th annual National Stalking Awareness Month

While working with the Stalking Resource Center and Lifetime Television, Debbie helped create the roll call video, an 18-minute stalking awareness training video produced primarily for use with law enforcement training. Today the video is utilized across the U.S. to train all divisions of our criminal justice system, as well as forensic nurses, victim’s advocates, and college women’s centers and their staff. The first segment of the video focuses on Peggy's stalking ordeal and highlights many of the methods stalkers use to terrorize their victims. The second portion of the video features Retired Lieutenant Mark Wynn, a nationally recognized stalking expert and law enforcement trainer. This video helps law enforcement to recognize, investigate and prosecute stalking cases more successfully.

In 2004 Debbie was again asked to go to Washington, D.C. This time it was to speak at the 10 year anniversary of Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) conference alongside Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Here she was able to reinforce her message that stalking is a violent crime with potentially fatal consequences for its victims. Her message calls for more directed education to law enforcement regarding stalking and stricter penalties for perpetrators. For four years, Debbie hosted a Stalking Awareness Month Gallery Night at Local Girl Gallery in Lakewood, Ohio with the support of her family, friends and the community, raising over $10,000 for stalking awareness programming at Domestic Violence Center.

In 2007 Debbie was named one of five Most Treasured Volunteers at the 66th annual Human Services Institute of the Center for Community Solutions. Debbie approached the Domestic Violence Center after her sister was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend. After educating herself on stalking, the laws, and police protocol, Debbie became heavily involved in educating others and raising awareness as a national speaker for the Stalking Resource Center. She played a major role in bringing together city and suburban police chiefs, officers, prosecutors, magistrates, detectives, and other professionals for the very first Cleveland Area Stalking Conference, which resulted in the Anti-Stalking Task Force operating in Cuyahoga County.

In 2014 Debbie began visiting both men and women’s prisons in the Greater Cleveland area to present and tell Peggy’s story to inmates. Her article “The Other Side of Murder” was published in the Elephant Journal in April 2014.

She continues to speak at training sessions, webinars, support group meetings, college campus events and youth groups throughout the U.S.

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