Letetia Wilson, executive director of the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence, said that two recent murder cases from Linn County highlight the dangers of abusive relationships.
“There’s a risk they could be killed by their partner or ex. It reaffirms what we know. There is a risk, and you should not minimize that risk,” Wilson added.
She urged those experiencing domestic violence to call CARDV’s 24-hour crisis and support line, 541-754-0110, and to contact authorities.
“There is certainly a danger in letting things continue without calling police or CARDV to help the situation… There are people out there willing to help you, and who can help you,” said Lt. Dan Duncan, Corvallis Police Department spokesman.
Wilson acknowledged that domestic violence murders are very rare in the mid-Willamette Valley and that made the recent killings shocking. “Over the years, you can maybe see it happen a few times,” Wilson said.
In early February in Lebanon, former police officer Brenton Richmond was arrested and charged with murdering his ex-girlfriend and the man she was dating, according to court paperwork.
Last week in southeast Albany, Dallas resident Eric Rodriguez-Najar was arrested and charged with shooting his ex-girlfriend in the arm and fatally shooting her mother standing behind her. According to court documents, the ex-girlfriend told Rodriguez-Najar she was seeking a restraining order against him.
CARDV works with local law enforcement to protect domestic violence victims, and to screen reports of domestic violence for their possible lethality. Cases with an increased danger are given extra attention, Wilson said.
“There are certain criteria that help us determine what their needs are and if CARDV is an agency that can assist them,” Duncan said.
The screening, which is required by CPD, doesn’t always prevent additional violence, however, Wilson and Duncan said.
“We try in every way to work with the survivors and get them into the services they need and keep them as safe as possible. Nothing is foolproof. This is one tool,” Duncan said.
“It helps us shed the light on the history there and what they are going through. It helps us make an informed decision,” he added.
Wilson said that about 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. Men also experience domestic violence, but to a lesser degree.
The CARDV 24-hour crisis and support line hasn’t seen a noticeable surge of calls in the aftermath of the murder cases.
But the hotline received 5,600 calls last year, Wilson said.
“We’re always really busy. Domestic violence impacts a lot of people,” she added.