Violence follows domestic-abuse victims for years

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by Sybil Hoffman

azfamily.com

Posted on October 20, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 21 at 8:45 AM

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- They were two teens caught up in an abusive relationship. Now Monique Cota is dead and Eric Coulter is charged with her murder.

Valley experts tell 3TV that danger and violence typically follow domestic-abuse victims, even years after the abusive relationship ends.

Bobbi Sudberry understands the pain and horror Monique's family is facing.

"It's not one of those things where time heals all wounds," Sudberry admits. "This is a wound that's not going to heal over. We did the what-ifs and I wish and all those things but none of it brings your loved one back."

Sudberry's daughter, Kaity, was just 17 years old when her ex-boyfriend, Daniel, shot and killed her a few years ago.

"Kaity thought she could fix Daniel," Sudberry said. "You know, she thought she could help him, she could love him enough to where he would understand love and everything."

Sudberry launched Kaity's Way, a non-profit organization designed to education children about abusive relationships. She can't help but feel disheartened about what happened to Monique.

"I feel really bad, really bad for the family and wish that there was some way she could have known not to go over there," Sudberry said.

According to court records, Monique got a call around midnight on Saturday and left her best friend's house in a hurry. Monique never said who called. An hour later, she was found lying dead in Eric Coulter's bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head. Coulter was her ex-boyfriend.

"What was said in that conversation?" Sudberry wonders. "What was it that he said that drew her to his house?"

"The most dangerous time for a victim is when she's made the decision to leave or she actually has left," explained Randy Koeppen, a domestic-violence victim's advocate.

Court records reveal that Monique confided in her mother and best friend that Eric often told her that she would never leave him and that they would never be apart. In Monique's mind, however, she had already ended her relationship with Eric. In fact, she was planning to move to California and was engaged to a former boyfriend.

"That's a dangerous time because he's losing the ultimate power and control over her and oftentimes when somebody does die, it's that point," Koeppen said.

That is why Sudberry believes creating a safety plan, especially when an abusive relationship ends, can be the difference between life and death.

"On average it's two years when you're exiting a violent relationship because once you've ended a violent relationship it's very well possible that your life has just become that much more dangerous," she said.

For more information about Kaity's Way and the resources available, visit www.kaitysway.org or call 602-740-2734.

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