CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The nation is closely following the missing person’s case of Gabby Petito.
She was last seen in August on a road trip with her fiancé.
The Petito case is sparking conversations nationwide about how situations like this could be prevented. We spoke with organizations in the Mountain State familiar with tragedies like this.
What originally began as a missing person’s case is now likely a homicide investigation for the 22-year-old. “The story about what happens nationwide is nearly half of female homicide victims are victims of domestic violence. They’re killed by their abuser,” said Julie Britton-Haden, the resolve family abuse program director for the Charleston YWCA.
There are more reported missing person cases in West Virginia in recent years, but the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office explains why that could be. “Everybody is so used to having constant contact with their family and friends that when they go out of contact and can’t reach them we begin to panic a little bit because its so abnormal, you’re used to having constant contact where you used to not have that,” said Sgt. Brian Humphreys.
However, police say it’s better to report a missing person, the moment you feel they could be in danger. “We would rather have an opportunity to start looking for them sooner. In the event that everything is fine we can resolve it quicker and get you back in touch with your loved one,” added Humphreys.
Those with the Charleston YWCA say domestic violence incidents could be avoided by having discussions with our children.
“I’m seeing a lot of talk just recently, about talking with your daughters about leaving abuse relationships, making sure your daughters know red flags. And as a mother to a son, I have to say we really need to stop that talk. It is us, we need to say to our kids, to our sons, do not do this. You do not put your hands on anyone. You do not, If you can’t handle the feelings that you’re feeling in a relationship, don’t be in a relationship.”Julie Britton-Haden, Resolve Family Abuse Program Director at the Charleston YWCA
The YWCA’s 24/7 domestic violence crisis line number is 1-800-681-8663.