KATY, Texas — After two Houston-area couples died in murder-suicides hours apart, experts warn the holidays can escalate abusive situations and they urge victims to seek help.
Police said an eight year-old girl witnessed her mother’s murder inside a car parked at Texas Children’s Hospital west campus near Katy Sunday. A man the victim had been dating then killed himself with the child in the backseat.
"I can only imagine what the kid is going through," HPD Assistant Chief Ban Tien said.
The child wasn't physically hurt but she was taken into TCH to be cared for by the medical staff until family members were notified.
Hours later, Harris County Sheriff’s Office investigators responded to another murder-suicide in Spring. They believe a 26-year-old man fatally shot his 24-year-old wife of six years before taking his own life inside their apartment on Inverness Forest Boulevard.
Unfortunately, these types of crimes tend to ramp up this time of year, according to the Houston Area Women’s Center.
“The holidays can heighten stressors," HAWC President Emilee Whitehurst said. "It can be a time where patterns of abuse escalate and where situations that might not have been lethal turn lethal."
Experts say the holidays can aggravate pre-existing issues from finances to family conflicts. The key is addressing them before they turn violent.
“We have lots of resources and are very eager to partner with anybody who feels unsafe in their relationship," Whitehurst said.
The women killed in the Katy and Spring cases have not been identified so we don’t yet know if they had any history of domestic violence issues.
Resources for victims of domestic or family violence
Domestic and family violence cases in the Houston area have increased at an alarming rate. Victims often suffer in silence because they feel scared, helpless or ashamed.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, here are some discreet ways to reach out for help.
The Family Time Crisis Center can also be reached 24 hours a day at 281-446-2615.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 88788.
Resources for suicide prevention
Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs of suicide and taking them seriously. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.
You can also reach out to UT Physicians here.
Experts say the holidays can aggravate pre-existing issues from finances to family conflicts.
The key is addressing them BEFORE they turn violent.
(SOT/04:54-05:03/Whitehurst, no super here)
“we have lots of resources and are very eager to partner with anybody who feels unsafe in their relationship”
(more TCH and/or Inverness scenes)
Those killed in these most recent incidents have yet to be identified so we don’t yet know if they had any history of domestic violence issues.
Houston and Harris County have ALREADY seen significant increases in domestic violence murders in recent years.
You can find a lot of the resources available to the public on KHOU.com.
Reporting live, Jason Miles, KHOU 11 News.