New Report Released During Domestic Violence Awareness Month Shows Increase in the Number of Women Killed in Texas and an Increase in El Paso
El Paso, Texas – October 5, 2015 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today released a new report that shows an increase in the number of women killed in domestic violence murders in Texas by their husband, ex-husband, intimate partner, boyfriend or ex-boyfriend. 132 women were killed in domestic violence murders in 2014. 119 women were killed in 2013. 114 women were killed in 2012. 102 women were killed in 2011. El Paso County also had an increase in the number of domestic violence homicides in this report with 5 murders. In 2013, there were 3 domestic violence murders in El Paso. Harris County had the highest number of deaths with 23 domestic violence murders, followed by Tarrant and Dallas with 10 domestic violence homicides in each city, followed by El Paso and San Antonio with 5 murders in each city.
In El Paso, Christina Bukovcik was murdered in her home by her husband Geomel Shaffa, Maria Duarte was stabbed and killed by her husband in their home, Laura Lara was assaulted by her boyfriend in his home and died at the hospital three days later, Maria Elena Sernas was shot and killed by her ex-husband Jorge Rojero in his home when she went back to retrieve some of her things and Jacqueline Valenzuela was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend Carlos Torres. Her 8-year-old son was present at the time of the murder.
Stephanie Karr, Executive Director of the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence, El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza and City Representative Emma Acosta, District 3 joined Texas Council on Family Violence CEO Gloria Terry at a news conference in El Paso to unveil the annual report titled: “Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities.”
“Five innocent lives were lost and five families forever changed in senseless domestic violence murders. When a tragic loss like this happens, it reminds all of us, how dangerous domestic violence can be to a family and a community and how much more work there is to be accomplished to ensure victims find help and safety before it’s too late,” said Gloria A. Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence. “Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities recognizes all Texas family violence victims lost in this tragic crime. We hope the report will evoke deeper and more meaningful discussions about barriers and realities that affect the ability of women to escape danger within their relationships. Domestic violence murders are knowable, identifiable and predictable.“
“This important report should motivate all of us who work to protect victims of domestic violence in Texas to dig deeper and continue to improve our system, strive to better protect victims and understand that the most dangerous time for a woman fleeing a violent relationship is when they are leaving or attempting to leave the relationship,” said Jaime Esparza, El Paso District Attorney.
“While we shine the spotlight on domestic violence during October, the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence works year round with individuals and families who have been subjected to violence in their own homes. Our efforts to provide immediate shelter, services and longer-term advocacy are supported by our colleagues in the criminal justice system and in law enforcement. Their support, and the support of the entire community, is critical to prevent and reduce domestic violence,” said Stephanie Karr, Executive Director of the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence.
The report released by the Texas Council on Family Violence and compiled from data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas law enforcement agencies and media reports list names of the victims and gives brief accounts of their deaths.
County by County Narratives of all the Women Killed in Texas
Some key statistics include:
- 132 women were killed in 59 counties
- The youngest victim was 16 and the oldest victim was 90
- Harris County has the highest number of deaths at 23
- Dallas and Tarrant had the second highest with 10 murders in each county
- El Paso and Bexar had the third highest with 5 murders in each county
- 77% of the women were killed at home
- 67%- The leading cause of death is firearms
- 14% were stabbed
- 7% were strangled
- Leaving Does Not Equal Safety- 43 women had ended the relationship 15 married women were separated from their husbands, 8 women were in the process of leaving
Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence and needs help can call cafv’s 24-Hour Crisis Hopeline is 915-593-7300 or 1-800-727-0511 or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.