Domestic violence a big problem in San Juan County

Posted at: 10/21/2013 6:30 PM
Updated at: 10/21/2013 8:21 PM
By: Ashley McElroy, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Last’s week's murder-suicide in Bloomfield is a grim reminder of how domestic violence can become deadly.

Bloomfield police were called to a home last week after reports of gunfire.

Inside they found Yudith Burciaga-Orozco and Rafeal Tena-Varela dead from an apparent murder-suicide.

The couple was already known to police.

"There was a lot of harassment and a lot of verbal issues between the two of them we did document about the verbal issues," said Marlyn Wyatt, Sergeant for Bloomfield Police Department. 

Sadly, such violence is well known in San Juan County, where domestic violence rates are three times the national average.

"If the Center for Disease Control were to suddenly decide domestic violence was caused by a virus this county would be quarantined. It's at such epidemic proportions," said Michael Patch, Development Manager of the Family Crisis Center in Farmington.

It’s not uncommon for victims to go back to their abusers. There’s a lot of emotional, physical abuse that can happen, and victims don't know how to get out.

"Statistically we know it takes someone who is an abusive relationship and wants to get out seven attempts to leave a relationship," said Patch.

But there is help for victims. Places like the Family Crisis Center and New Beginnings offer short and long term housing for victims.

"Being able to be self-sufficient and that takes a long time you can't do that real quick," said Susan Kimbler, Executive Director at New Beginnings. 

Both centers offer resources like life skills classes and personalized safety plans for victims trying to leave domestic violence situations.