Get help while you still can; that's the message Lubbock authorities are sending after a year of an alarming number of domestic violence deaths. NewsChannel 11's Kealey McIntire tells us why Women's Protective Services is concerned that number will increase with the new year.
Lubbock Police say out of the 12 murders this year in Lubbock, six of them involved domestic violence, which they say is unusually high. Women's Protective Services in Lubbock said they've also seen a shocking amount of deaths. They cover 11 counties and recall nine such incidents. That high number is one reason they've seen record numbers of people needing help leaving abusive relationships, so we're take a look back at what helped many leave.
July 5h, around 12:30 in the morning, Sharon Wade was on her way to Ralls to pick up her daughter, making the trip at such a late hour because her estranged husband, Gerald Wade, wouldn't let her leave the hotel they were in. Gerald ran her off the road, stabbed her, injured his step-son and killed himself.
In a NewsChannel 11 interview conducted in July, Sharon Wade's son was asked how often he thinks about that scene. "Every night, every night I'm laying in bed," he said.
Nineteen-year-old Ellison saw his step-father kill his mother. The two were reportedly getting a divorce.
Twenty-six days later, Timothy Uddley was accused of killing his wife Andrea Mendoza with a kitchen knife. He reportedly broke into her apartment through a window, then stabbed her.
Records show at least five domestic violence deaths happened between July and September. Women's Protective Services Education Coordinator Hattie Heiner said that number brought an alarming number of families to their door.
"That led to more people realizing the situation can get worse and they need to come and get help and so in some ways that's when people realize, oh no, this is the situation I'm in and I don't want to be the next statistic," said Heiner.
More victims are seeking help right now during the holiday season, as the added stress during this time can make a bad situation worse.
Michelle Lovato's estranged husband Steven Lovato is accused of stabbing her to death and leaving her in a field 11 days before Thanksgiving.
Heiner said on average victims go back to their abuser five times before leaving for good, only giving the abuser more power.
"Once that abuser gets more and more power and control over the victim, they're going to do anything to keep them from leaving, so that means murdering them," said Heiner.
Signs of an abuser include excessive jealousy, controlling behavior, isolation, constantly blaming others for their problems, hitting or breaking other objects.
If you know someone in a relationship like that it's important you try to help. You can call Women's Protective Services 24 hours a day at 748-5292 or 1-800-736-6491.