‘Walk for Willow’: Mother leads walk in honor of slain 11-month old baby

During the walk, Mariah Gardner shared her story, bringing awareness for domestic violence

SAN ANTONIO – Tuesday night marked six months since 11-month-old Willow Clare was killed; the person accused and charged in the murder is her father, Stephen Clare.

Police said Clare also stabbed Willow’s sister, Rosalie, and shot her mother.

Mariah Gardner, Willow’s mother, held a walk to honor her memory, sharing her story with those struggling with domestic violence.

“I don’t want another mother to walk down the street because their daughter was killed by their father,” said Gardner.

Those in attendance walked alongside the family, re-enacting the route taken by their attacker.

The group started at the home where Clare was arrested and then walked to the house where the family fought to survive to remember a life taken too soon.

“She’s never going to be a year old. She would be approaching 18 months. Six months was half of her life, and in six months, she’ll be dead longer than she was alive,” said Gardner.

The “Walk for Willow” was followed by a candlelight vigil and a moment of silence that lasted nine minutes for each minute of the attack.

Gardner is now turning pain, anger, and the loss of her daughter into purpose by spreading awareness during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“The message is ‘end the silence to end domestic violence.’ Domestic violence thrives when we don’t talk about it,” said Gardner.

Gardner hopes the walk will bring awareness to our city’s remarkably high rate of intimate partner/family violence.

In a statement, she wrote, “Change will not occur unless we gather together. Let’s force our city and our state to stop these preventable murders of our women and children.”

“If you know or love someone, educate yourself. That way, you can provide that help for them, even if they’re not ready to help themselves,” said Gardner.

The mother also had this message for her baby girl.

“I would want her to know how much I love her and how proud I am of her. She’s saving people every single day, and she doesn’t even know it,” said Gardner.

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About the Authors:

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.