Grieving loved ones start scholarship foundation to honor domest - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Grieving loved ones start scholarship foundation to honor domestic abuse victim

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 RICHLAND, WA - It was just two years ago that a Richland teen was murdered by her boyfriend while going to school at University of Washington Seattle.

Now, the family believes justice has been served, as the boyfriend is sentenced to 18 years in prison for killing Katy Straalsund.

Straalsund's father, Eric, has a direct message to all young people in relationships with regards to domestic violence: "Justice was served." 

Eric Straalsund is a father on a mission. Over the last two years, he and his family have been dealing with the loss of their beloved daughter. Through it all, Eric says focusing on making a difference with Katy's life helps them cope.

"As a family, it was very important for us to honor her and remember her in any way we could, and we wanted to be able to reach people who might be in a similar circumstance and, you know, save some lives," said Eric.

The most significant way they've been able to do that, Eric says, is through creating the Katy Straalsund Memorial Foundation.

"The main purpose was pretty simple, it was to raise awareness and to try to prevent relationship violence in young people," Eric explained.

Recently, the foundation started the Katy Straalsund Endowed Memorial Scholarship at UW. The scholarship will be given annually to any undergraduate student in the college of speech and hearing sciences that's interested in communication and brain injury treatment.

Katy's dream was to become a speech language pathologist, specializing in these types of patients, so her family knows she would love what they are doing in her honor.

"We know that if Katy would have survived, she would have absolutely needed those services," Eric said. "So we thought that would be a good way to help others and we wanted to start a scholarship in her name."

For more information on the scholarship, head to or check out their Facebook page here: