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Warning signs of domestic abuse

By Jonathan Radford, jradford@wcyb.com
Published On: Mar 12 2014 04:49:12 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 11 2014 11:00:00 PM CDT

After two domestic abuse altercations resulted in six deaths in our region, we asked a victim turned counselor about the warning signs in domestic abuse relationships.

BRISTOL, Va. -

After two domestic abuse altercations resulted in six deaths in our region, we asked a victim turned counselor about the warning signs in domestic abuse relationships.

Della McGuire knows about domestic abuse all too well.

"Six years ago on Mother's Day, I escaped," said Della McGuire, abuse counselor. She says her abuser was her ex-boyfriend.

Now, McGuire counsels others in similar situations. "It's terrible when someone takes it upon themselves to murder someone else, anytime. It's especially horrific when it's someone who claims to love you," said McGuire.

Two weeks ago, Washington County, Virginia deputies say, a man killed his wife, son, and mother-in-law before he turned the gun on himself in Glade Spring.

Tuesday in Church Hill, Tennessee, the Hawkins County Sheriff's Office tells us Thomas McCracken shot his girlfriend Sierra Smith, then shot himself. Both later died.

News 5 combed through McCracken’s criminal history and found an order of protection filed against him and Smith by another family member. Neither Smith nor McCracken filed orders of protection against each other.

Family members weren't ready to talk on camera, but say they never expected the relationship between Smith and McCracken to end this way.

We asked McGuire about the warning signs friends and loved ones should look for if they suspect abuse. "If you're working with someone or you are friends socially, and you notice that maybe her boyfriend comes by the office unexpectedly, texts a lot or calls a lot, that's a sign that there may be a problem," said McGuire.

McGuire says she's committed to ending the hurt and abuse that so often goes unnoticed until it's too late. "If can take my experience and help someone see those signs early enough, to get out before it gets bloody, I want to do that. I have to do that," said McGuire.

The Crisis Center Inc. is presenting The Clothesline Project on Saturday, April 5, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Downtown Center on State Street in Bristol. The project will inform event-goers about violence against women.

Every Tuesday night in April from 6 to 9 p.m., Rape Aggression Defense Systems will offer classes at the Slater Community Center. Registration is required. For more information call 276-466-2218.