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COVID-19 pandemic leads to increased domestic violence, deaths, community leaders say

Number of domestic violence deaths this year, have already exceed those of last year

SAN ANTONIO – The stress of the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing people to their limits and putting families in the danger zone of domestic violence. 

According to city and county officials with the Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence, this year’s numbers have already exceeded those of last year. 

Group members like Judge Monique Diaz met virtually on Monday to help tackle problems within the community and brainstorm solutions for the future. 

“For 2019, we had 27 domestic violence-related homicides,” Diaz said. “This year alone, we’re only in August and we’ve already exceeded that. And we are at 30 domestic violence homicides.”

One of the victims, 27-year-old Cora Nickel, a mother of a five-and-eight-year-old, was found dead at her Northwest side home by the older child Thursday. SAPD later determined Nickel’s boyfriend, 29-year-old Jorge Izquierdo, allegedly killed her and then fled to California before being arrested over the weekend.

Izquierdo is currently awaiting extradition from California back to Texas for the murder charge.

Neighbors say Nickel had only lived at Maverick Draw home for a few months and that Izquierdo, who often appeared hostile, would come and go.

“He’s a coward,” Brian Lawson the family’s neighbor said. “So, none of this surprises me right now. None of it. Not one bit of it. The pattern was there… I hear them arguing. And it’s not it wasn’t unexpected because he’s a hothead.”

Following Nickel’s death, some neighbors wish they had intervened.

“From the sounds of it, he was very upset with her,” said Andres Rosado, another neighbor. “Like it could’ve been stopped. It could have been avoided. I could’ve called the police about it, but no. I didn’t want to, hesitated.”

While nothing can bring Nickel back, members of the commission are hoping to spread the word about ways to help prevent future domestic violence tragedies. Diaz said that Bexar County residents can now apply for protective orders online. 

“You can text 9-1-1,” Diaz said. “Now you can apply for a protective order online now at BexarCountyProtectiveOrders.org. You can make a safety plan for how to safely exit a relationship by contacting the SAPD non-emergency number or the shelter.”

CCDV is currently working on a dozen domestic violence prevention programs and initiatives for next year.

More from KSAT:

Boyfriend arrested in connection with slaying of woman found by her child

Child abuse will spike with stressed families stuck at home during quarantine, experts say


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