Lawyer Is Grateful For Support After Hostage Ordeal

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

Editor's Note: On July 7, Hartford attorney Nancy Tyler was allegedly kidnapped by her estranged husband, advertising executive, Richard J. Shenkman, from a parking lot near the Hartford law firm where she works. He reportedly took her to their South Windsor home which, after a long standoff with police, he allegedly burned down. Shenkman is currently being held without bail.

To The Editor:</</b>p>

Most of us won't know the moment we're about to die; if we're very lucky it will sneak up on us without warning and happen quickly and painlessly, perhaps even in our sleep. After my recent experience as a hostage with a gun at my head on and off for about 13 hours, I can tell you that the possibility of impending death brings on random, sometimes strange, thoughts, prayers, and occasionally hope.

Visions of my children came to me constantly that day, as did thoughts of my sisters, their husbands, children, and grandchildren. My friends were with me too, as were my partners, co-workers, and many of my colleagues. I choose to believe all of these people were there to give me strength and hope.

A local woman, Alice Morrin, tragically murdered the week before by her ex-husband made several appearances in my thoughts that day, too. I think she came to keep me cautious and to let me know I wasn't alone in the struggle.

And struggle it was; a continuation of a three-year campaign of harassment, threats, disruptions, alienation, and escalating anger. In the aftermath, I've been reminded of something I guess I've always known but chose to ignore: none of us are immune to this kind of abusive behavior. It happens more than we want to admit and to people we'd never suspect were affected. I've also learned that there are resources out there, people willing to help quietly, some ready to set up safety nets and others to offer moral or financial support. But this kind of help is expensive and the groups and agencies that arrange it always need funds.

Unlike Alice Morrin, I was lucky enough to escape with my life. Since then, I've received amazing support from my colleagues in the legal community. Whether it's been cards, e-mails, calls, flowers, or food, so many people have been there for me. Quite a few have asked what they can do to help.

My family and I will make it through this with your thoughts and prayers. There are others, however, who won't be so lucky. For all of those who have offered help, please consider a donation on our behalf to one of the organizations supporting the women, men, and children left behind by tragedies that start with abusive relationships. There are many such groups, Interval House being just one that has assisted us.

There also is a fund set up for Alice Morrin's children and I'm sure donations would be welcome at Morrin Education Fund c/o Rockville Bank 1645 Ellington Road South Windsor, CT 06074. Thank you to all of you who've been thinking of us.

Nancy P. Tyler

Hartford