Donna Lynn Cavanaugh
25 Years Old

August 5, 1963 to December 4, 1988

Donna Cavanaugh, of Boylston, Massachusetts, was full of life. She had many friends. Donna worked as a CNA at a nursing home where she was very much loved by co-workers and residents alike.

She enjoyed sports all through school and excelled above her teammates. She always had a caring ear and helped anyone in need. She had a five-year-old son who adored her and mimics her wonderful sense of humor everyday.

Donna had a way of rising above her troubles and never dwelled on them long. She loved happy times, good music (rock & roll), lobster and lying on the beach. She is still adored by her mom, dad and two sisters. He son will never forget her.


Donna Cavanaugh, 25, of Boylston, Massachusetts, was in a relationship with Robert Grady. After a short courtship, he began to beat and demean her. She began to believe his putdowns and had zero respect for herself and her ability as a mother. Grady abused drugs and alcohol. He made substance abuse a part of their daily lives. Donna finally realized that was not the kind of life she wanted to lead, so she told Grady to leave her apartment for good. He refused to leave. After a very brutal beating, Donna and her son left to go to her parents' house. Two weeks later, Grady called and told her he had her pictures and numerous other personal items. He said he would give them to her if she saw him. Donna went out and never returned. The police found Donna's body in a neighboring state the next evening. She had been beaten (crushed skull) and stabbed 15 times with a large kitchen knife. She was naked and had been raped with a stick. There were bite marks on her cheek and buttocks. When found, she was on the master bed in the family vacation home in New Hampshire. Apparently, she had a flat tire on her car and accepted a ride home with Grady.

Grady was threatening suicide. He never admitted to murder one and claimed temporary insanity. He was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. As of February, 1997, he is still in prison.

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