Family says daughter witnessed father kill mother, himself

Murder-suicide committed in front of children

FORT WORTH -- Blanca Vargas was a mother of five who police say had recently gotten an emergency protective order against her husband of 26 years.

Wednesday morning, police say that husband, Rodolfo Vargas, shot and killed her as she sat in her car, then killed himself on Ryan Avenue in South Fort Worth.

The Vargas family's adult son told News 8 there were three children, including the couple's youngest daughter who's just 8 years old,  in the car when it happened. They were on their way to school.

"Two [other] kids seemed to be running back and forth while the whole thing happened," said neighbor Jeremy Ogeda.

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Ogeda, who lives across the street, says his security cameras captured the entire incident.

"Then you could see the flashes, and then you see him fall to the ground after that," he said.

"It is common for domestic violence to spill over into the public realm, into the work place, out in the open," said Ken Shetter, president of One Safe Place in Fort Worth, an agency that helps serve domestic violence victims.

He says there are between 10 and 20 domestic violence homicides in Tarrant County each year, and often, children witness the violence leading up to them.

"A child that’s exposed to violence or other toxic stressors or trauma is more likely to have health problems, behavioral or health or academic problems," Shetter said.

One of the couple's adult sons said Rodolfo abused their mother in front of them as they were growing up, but it wasn't until September when Rodolfo was arrested for assaulting her that she got the protective order. The son said the father tried to suffocate her with a pillow.

Court documents show back in 2002 another woman had accused Rodolfo of abuse, including hitting, punching and threatening her life. But that protective order case was dropped.

"Domestic violence—it deals with families. You have two people here who had family, the same family, everyone’s devastated," said Officer Tamara Valle, of the Fort Worth Police.

The son told News 8 they tried to protect their mother as best they could, and call their father a coward for taking their mother away.

If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence, there are many resources available. Call One Safe Place at 817-916-4323 or visit them at 1100 Hemphill in Fort Worth.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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