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By Miriam Raftery

Photo: the Hope Rally in El Cajon drew attention to domestic abuse

October 27, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Domestic abuse impacts over 16,000 victims a year in our region, scarring families and sometimes, claiming lives. The San Diego District Attorney’s Office has provided statistics on domestic violence incidents locally from 2012 through 2016.

Countywide, the number of incidents has dropped 5% over the past year.  But some communities saw disturbing increases, including a 32% rise in domestic violence incidents in Lemon Grove, 26% in Santee and a 14% increase in La Mesa from 2015 to 2016.

In El Cajon and unincorporated areas, domestic violence incidents fell slightly, by 4% and 3% respectively during the same period, which city of San Diego incidents dropped by 7%.  The largest drop was in Coronado, where incidents dropped by 27% in the past year.

Looking over a four-year period from 2012 through 2016, domestic violence incidents countywide dipped by 1%, after spiking in 2015.

Domestic violence in El Cajon dropped 23% over the four-year period and Santee, despite a spike in the most recent year, had domestic violence incidents drop 14% over four years.

But incidents have trended upward in La Mesa and Lemon Grove over the four-year period, up 20% and 8% respectively. 

In the unincorporated areas, domestic violence incidents rose 4% over the four-year period with the highest number of cases in 2015.

Countywide, there 16,668 domestic violence cases in 2012, 17,584 in 2015, and 16,719 in 2016.

Last year, there were 12 homicide victims reportedly killed by intimate partners—11 female victims and one male.  Another domestic violence incident resulted in death of a woman’s parents at the hands of her ex-husband.

To assure they are not forgotten, here are their names:

On January 1, 2016 Mary Katherine Fa’anunu (34) was shot to death by her estranged spouse Hauati Fa’anunu (42) in their El Cajon home. Hauati was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.

On January 24, 2016 Regina Moore (48) was beaten to death by her boyfriend David Ashton (63) in her Pacific Beach apartment. David was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

On May 13, 2016 Ginger Curtis (41) was stabbed to death by her boyfriend Robert Oakes (54) and her body was later found in his pick-up truck. Robert died by accident the following day while evading police in El Cajon.

On June 10, 2016 Krystal Mitchell (30) was allegedly strangled to death by her boyfriend Raymond McLeod (32) in their friend’s apartment in Allied Gardens, San Diego. Raymond fled and is still at large.

On June 13, 2016, Elizabeth Perez (38) was shot to death, allegedly by her boyfriend Edward Long (38). Her body was later found in her vehicle next to a highway in Escondido. The trial for this case is scheduled for January.

On June 24, 2016, Maria Del Carmen Aguilar Duenas (49) was shot to death by her estranged husband Omar Torres Munoz (54) in their Southcrest, San Diego apartment. Omar died by suicide.

On September 11, 2016, Suzanne King (64) was shot to death by her fiancée Ren Verasco (69) in their Imperial Beach apartment. Ren died by suicide.

On September 29, 2016, Arnisha Harris (35) was shot to death by her former boyfriend Joseph Henry Robinson Jr. (44) at her place of work in Torrance, San Diego. Joseph died by suicide.

On October 12, 2016, Vanessa Bobo (29) was shot to death in her apartment in San Carlos, San Diego allegedly by boyfriend Roderick Lamar Harris (32). The trial for this case is scheduled for February.

On November 18, 2016 Jose Torres-Manriquez (29) was stabbed to death, allegedly by his girlfriend Alda Garcia (35), in their Escondido home. The trial is pending for this case.

On December 17, 2016, Donna Lynn Hixson (48) was strangled to death in their motorhome in an unincorporated area of Vista, allegedly by her boyfriend Nathan Rivera (42). The trial is pending for this case.

On December 26, 2016, Melisa Contreras (22) was strangled to death, allegedly by her former boyfriend Uriel Leon (24), in a vehicle outside of his home in Oceanside. The trial is pending for this case.

Other Domestic Violence-Related Case

On November 13, 2016, Juan Carlos Fernandez (22) shot and killed his ex-wife Isabel Gonzalez’s (21) parents – Reyna Gonzalez (42) and Julian Gonzalez (45) in their City Heights apartment. Isabel’s mother was attempting to shield Isabel from Juan’s gunfire and her father was attempting to wrestle the gun away from him. Juan dragged Isabel into the street with a gun pointed to her head and refused to surrender. SDPD shot and killed Juan. Isabel and her grandfather were wounded during the incident, but fortunately survived.

*Note: These descriptions are based on public information only. Many of these cases have not completed the court process.

For victims experiencing serious domestic violence, the time when they are considering leaving the abuse, the period when they are taking steps to leave, and the months following leaving can be the most dangerous times, a law enforcement source advises ECM, adding, “It’s critical that they connect with a domestic violence advocate for safety planning and support.”

The San Diego County DA’s Office offers a variety of resource information and education/resource booklets on this website:

The National DV Hotline has a great website, phone line and chat feature:

The National DV Hotline: Referrals to local services, support, safety planning, education and information

Confidential 24/7, multiple languages 1-800-799-7233

Chat online:

View a domestic resource guide for victims with lots of links to get help locally.

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