For Immediate Release
Honoring Texas Victims: 146 Women Killed in Texas in 2016 –– Collin, Dallas and Tarrant County have the Highest Number of Homicides in the State of Texas
Plano, Texas – October 13, 2017 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today released a new report that shows 146 women were killed in domestic violence murders in Texas by their husband, ex-husband, intimate partner, boyfriend or ex-boyfriend. Fatalities occurred in 55 Texas counties. 24 family members and friends were also killed (this includes 13 children); 4 family members and friends were injured during the incidents.
This represents the largest number of related victims since 2011.
Every year more than 100 women are killed in domestic violence homicides in Texas. This year’s numbers are a reduction from the deaths in 2015 when the Texas Council reported the highest number of deaths in Texas since the Council began releasing its’ report.
But, this year’s report shows Collin County doubled the number of homicides from last year from 3 to 6 and Collin, Dallas and Tarrant Counties in North Texas are three of the top five counties with the highest number of homicides in the state. Bexar County in San Antonio is also in the top five. Harris County in Houston continues to have the highest number of domestic violence homicides in the state of Texas.
Intimate partner homicides end the lives of women who have roles as loving mothers, caring family members, and engaged community members. The women whose deaths are detailed here represent lives that left indelible marks on those around them. Many of them are remembered for the strong bonds they formed in their families and with their friends and for offering those around them kindness, compassion, encouragement
and smiles that brightened rooms. Family members often described these women as the glue that held people together’ and ‘willing to do anything for anyone’. They took pride in their roles as mothers and in the work that they did as students and in their careers. TCFV joins their families, friends and communities in mourning their loss.
146 women were killed in Texas in 2016.
158 women were killed in Texas in 2015, the deadliest year for women in Texas.
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.
Other Key Stats from the report:
- Counties with the most fatalities are: Harris (28), Dallas (13), Tarrant (13), Bexar (11), Collin (6)
- Tarrant, Bexar, Collin each experienced increases from 2015; Harris is down from 34, and Dallas remains the same as last year.
- 40% of women killed in 2016 had ended the relationship or were in the process of leaving when they were murdered.
- 68% of perpetrators used a firearm to murder their female partner.
- 77% of perpetrators killed their partners in a home.
- Women between the ages of 20-39 represent over half of the total number of victims
- Youngest Victim: 15
- Oldest Victim: 92
In 2016, Hope’s Door helped victims of domestic violence and their children by:
Last year we answered 5011 calls to our hotline, provided up to 90 days of emergency shelter for 758 individuals, placed 26 families in community supported housing, and continued outreach services, including counseling, parenting skills, and financial education for 1,807 adults and children.
Jim Malatich, Chief Executive Officer of Hope’s Door New Beginning Center in Plano and TCFV Board member joined Texas Council on Family Violence CEO Gloria Terry to unveil the annual report titled: “Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities.”
“146 innocent lives were lost and families were forever changed in senseless domestic violence murders in Texas. 6 lives were lost in Collin County. While, the recent horrific mass killing in Plano is not reflected in this report. The homicides will be in next year’s report, we are immensely saddened by the tragic loss of life and we remember the families of those who lost loved ones and we especially want to remember the 146 families who lost a loved one this year. 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. “
The release of the 2016 Honoring Victims Report coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is in October. Domestic violence all too often ends with tragic results.
“During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we focus on three important elements of ending violence – supporting survivors, holding abusers accountable and perhaps, most important, preventing the violence before it begins by challenging the underlying attitudes and beliefs that feed violent behavior. We are proud to partner with other agencies and organizations locally and across the state that share our commitment to ending violence on all three fronts. Together we strive to make violence a part of our past and we redouble our efforts given the recent mass murder to learn lessons, educate the public and try to prevent domestic violence fatalities in the future,” said Jim Malatich, Chief Executive Officer of Hope’s Door New Beginning Center in Plano and TCFV Board member.
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.
List of Women Killed in Collin County:
Karen Bigham, 49 McKinney
Kelley Bigham, 50, shot and killed his wife Karen in her home office. Bigham then shot and killed Karen’s twin sister, Kathy Boobar, 50. Karen had separated from Bigham six months prior to the murder and filed for divorce. A few days before Bigham killed Karen, he came to her home and threatened her with a gun. The day of the murder, Karen asked her daughter and sister to be at the home with her while Bigham picked up some of his belongings. Bigham threatened their daughter with a gun and told her to leave the house with her son. As she fled, she called the police. Authorities arrested Bigham in a nearby county and charged him with capital murder; he received a sentence of life in prison. Karen is survived by her adult son and two adult daughters.
Kayley Winburn, 20 McKinney
Jordan Sullivan, 21, shot and killed his wife Kayley in their home. Authorities arrested Sullivan and charged him with murder. The couple had married a few months prior to the murder. Sullivan is awaiting trial for murder.
Karen Ann Rolston, 33 Melissa
John Gaynor, 41, shot and killed his girlfriend Karen in their home. Gaynor then shot and killed himself. Officers discovered their bodies when they responded to a welfare check.
Noshin Chambers, 41 Plano
Gardner Chambers, 45, shot his wife Noshin in their home. Chambers then shot and killed himself. Noshin’s children were in the home at the time of the murder; her 17-year-old son called police while the younger children fled to a neighbor’s home to get help. Emergency responders transported Noshin to a hospital where she later died. Noshin had feared for her safety and had filed for divorce prior to her death. The couple had a pending court hearing the week of the murder. Noshin is survived by two sons and one daughter.
Jennifer Spears, 43 Plano
Kenneth Amyx, 45, stabbed and killed his girlfriend Jennifer in her apartment. Amyx posted photos of Jennifer’s body on social media. After calling his father to admit to committing the crime, Amyx attempted to kill himself. Police found Amyx with non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities arrested Amyx and charged him with murder. Amyx confessed to killing Jennifer and received a sentence of life in prison.
Jessie Bardwell, 27 Richardson
Jason Lowe, 27, assaulted and killed his girlfriend Jessie in their home. He then buried her body in Farmersville. After not hearing from Jessie for more than two weeks, Jessie’s family drove to Texas to file a missing person report. Law enforcement conducted two welfare checks and began an investigation into her disappearance. Officers arrested Lowe on a drug possession charge and while searching his property found evidence of Jessie’s murder. Authorities charged him with murder. Officers located Jessie’s body ten days after Lowe’s arrest. Lowe has a history of family violence. A jury convicted Lowe of Jessie’s murder in September 2017 and a judge approved an agreed-upon sentence of 50 years in prison.
The mission of Hope’s Door New Beginning Center (HDNBC) is to offer intervention and prevention services to individuals and families affected by intimate partner and family violence and to provide education programs that enhance the community’s capacity to respond. HDNBC serves individuals from all over North Texas. HDNBC’s services include individual counseling (for both adults and children), support group therapy, emergency shelter, rapid rehousing (formally transitional housing), legal advocacy, community education, and battering prevention programs. For more information, visit www.hdnbc.org , www.facebook.com/hopesdoor , www.twitter.com/hopesdoorinc , or www.instagram.com/hopesdoor.
Texas Council on Family Violence is the only 501(c) 3 nonprofit coalition in Texas dedicated solely to creating safer communities and freedom from family violence. With a state-wide reach and direct local impact, TCFV, with the collective strength of more than 1000 members, shapes public policy, equips service providers, and initiates strategic prevention efforts. Visit us online at http://www.tcfv.org/