While many of us fear the unknown shadow that is lurking around the dark corner or the idea of a stranger breaking into our homes and harming our loved ones, and we have every reason to be vigilant against such possibilities, statistics bear out the fact that we are more likely to know our attacker than not.
In 2009, 53.8% of murder victims were killed by someone they knew. Even more disturbing, 24.2% were slain by a family member. One mother saw those numbers bear out in the most horrific and personal of ways this past weekend in Florida.
Victoria Flores Zavala watched as her estranged husband strangled and killed their two younger sons, ages eleven and twelve. Isidro Zavala also shot one of the two boys before turning the gun on himself. He ignored his wife’s pleas to let her sons live, and also decided to spare her life because, as he told her, he wanted her to live with the suffering. The couple’s oldest son, who no longer resides at the home, was not there at the time of the double homicide and suicide. Police say there was no reported history of domestic violence between the couple.
While perhaps rare, any instance of a parent harming his own children as an act of revenge or spite is shocking and garners national attention. Most of you will remember the tragic story last year of a man named Josh Powell. His wife had gone missing and his two young sons were not in his custody. During a supervised visit to his Washington state home, Powell barricaded himself in the house with his two boys minutes before the entire structure burst into flames, much to the horror of the social worker who had just been pounding on the door for access.
There is certainly mental illness involved in such cases, and some would say it’s simply evil at work. It is difficult to make sure that all necessary safeguards are in place when family members are going through such volatile events. Determined spouses or lovers or parents or children often find a way to make their violent statement. And now, another broken family in Florida is grieving. I hope that the mother and her oldest son are able to find some comfort in one another, but their lives are never going to be whole again.
Previous Blog Posts:
You can check out the Award Winning Emily Stone Series:
* * *
Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/
Crime Watch Blog: http://emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk: http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase