Family violence deaths reach unprecedented high in San Antonio, victim advocates say

Battered Women's Shelter says 9 have died so far this year

By Deven Clarke - Crime and Justice Reporter, Adam B. Higgins - Photojournalist, Luis Cienfuegos - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - From verbal put downs and manipulation to beatings — countless domestic abuse victims have to deal with this a daily basis. In some cases, the victims need to be hospitalized, or worse — the victims lose their lives.

Two alleged domestic abuse incidents made headlines last week, and San Antonio police confirmed more than two dozen people died from family violence in San Antonio last year.

Just last week, a South Side house went up in flames during a standoff. This was after San Antonio police say a man severely beat his wife before killing a neighbor and then dying at the scene, possibly by his own firearm.

In another case a few days later, a woman on the West Side was allegedly stabbed in the back by her boyfriend after she threatened to leave him.

“It is the entire community that suffers the consequences of domestic violence,” said Marta Pelaez, CEO of the Battered Woman's Shelter. “The most dangerous time for a victim to leave a relationship is when she decides to do so.”

Last year, Pelaez said, the number of family violence deaths reached an unprecedented high in San Antonio.

“Per capita, it was higher than Dallas, El Paso, Austin,” Pelaez said.

She said so far this year, nine people have already died because of family violence.

Amy Foster said domestic abuse almost claimed her life during her first marriage.

“Many times, we would drive down the road and he would open up the passenger side door and just hang me out the door,” Foster said.

She and her current husband, Don Foster, created the Angel Eyes Foundation in 2013. The organization now has 60 volunteers. They respond to active domestic abuse situations, hoping to defuse them.

“Over the last 20 months, we've had 80 requests for help,” Don Foster said. “It is dangerous. We've helped some escape. We've had to use the police to get some out, but there are those situations that are very, very volatile.”

The Fosters and Pelaez encourage everyone to get involved. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, you can contact the Battered Women’s Shelter at 210-733-8810 or by clicking here.

If you’d like to contact the Angel Eyes Foundation, click here.

Copyright 2019 by KSAT - All rights reserved.