ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - It has been almost seven years since St. Louisan Teresa Butz was brutally raped and murdered at her home in Seattle.
She and her fiancée, Jennifer Hopper, were attacked by a knife-wielding assailant who broke into the home the couple shared, repeatedly raping and then stabbing Hopper and Butz.
Hopper survived. Butz did not.
Now, a book recounting that awful night in Seattle, entitled While The City Slept, is bringing attention again to Teresa’s large family in St. Louis.
“It is stirring things back up,” said Tim Butz, Teresa’s brother. “It is opening up the wound a little bit, but we know it is a story that needs to be told.”
But that is not the only story the Butz family is trying to tell.
Inspired by the music played at Teresa’s funeral, Rachel Ebeling, a lifelong friend of Teresa decided to make something helpful of her heartache.
“We decided we were going to use music as a way to engage people with the issue of sexual violence,” Eberling said.
They call it the Angel Band Project.
Since so many members of Teresa’s family have musical talent, they put together a band to record albums and give concerts to raise awareness of sexual violence and raise money to provide music therapy for sexual violence survivors.
Among the singers and musicians is Teresa’s brother, two-time Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz.
Norbert is on the board of the Angel Band Project along with his brother Tim.
“Shortly after we had the funeral for Teresa, we wanted to gain a sense of control and bring our power back and bring our voices back to it,” Tim Butz said.
Among those lending their voice to the cause is Jen Hopper, who has been speaking out about sexual violence and that terrible night in Seattle.
“For me, the silence, maybe it was too similar in the ways in which I had to be silent that night,” Hopper said.
“I miss her every day,” said Tim Butz. “Some days are hard, but some days when we do great work and we get great feedback from people, those are great days.”
The Angel Band Project is now working on a third album, and is sponsoring a 'Stroll Against Silence' on April 16 to raise money for their efforts to break the stigma surrounding sexual violence. It is being held at Maryville University.