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Report: Domestic Violence Deaths Have Increased Over Past Year

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The Maryland Network against Domestic Violence releases its annual report and the results are disturbing. Domestic violence deaths increased over the past year.

Days after police find the body of Tonja Chadwick, they charge her boyfriend Marco Holmes with murder.

Tonja was last seen alive January 28, her body found February 2 in a southwest Baltimore park.
Her mother told WJZ there was a history of violence.

"She called me and said he choked her until she blacked out and woke up shaking," says Tonja's mother.

A vigil held for Tonja Chadwick could well be for others. Between July 2015 and June 2016, there were 42 victims, 34 of them killed by intimate partners.

Twelve abusers were killed in murder-suicide or attempted murder-suicide and at least 47 children were left behind.

The victims were remembered as the Maryland Network against Domestic Violence released its report Monday night.

With the exception of 2015, domestic violence-related deaths including victims, abusers, and bystanders have increased.

"We know that less than four percent of domestic violence murder victims seek help from a domestic violence program prior to their deaths," says Inga James, Maryland Network against Domestic Violence board member.

Neshanna Turner's sister and 2-year-old niece were killed by the baby's father last year.

"Even if you don't feel like you're in a domestic violence situation, even if it doesn't look like it, if you're not being physically abused, there's mental abuse - get help. Don't stay. It's not worth your life," she says.

There are 20 domestic violence programs serving all Maryland jurisdictions. While there are programs out there, preventing domestic violence should be everybody's business.

There are nine bills in the general assembly this session covering various aspects of domestic violence.

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