Four women were slain in Berks county by their intimate partner in 2021, underscoring what those who work in the field of domestic violence prevention and education call a pervasive problem that is largely hidden from within households.
On May 3, Jose M. Torres, 51, called 9-1-1 after he stabbed his wife to death in their Glenside home, investigators said. Officers arrived and found the body of Patricia A. Torres on the living room floor with a stab wound to her chest and a large knife wound to her neck. Torres told police that he became so enraged during a domestic argument that he blacked out. When he awoke hours later he found his wife dead on the floor and called police from the bathroom, according to the probable cause affidavit filed by Reading police.
On June 3, Katrina Henderson, 45, of Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, was beaten to death in the Wernersville home of Chistopher Baumener, 44, in a murder-suicide, investigators said. Responding to a welfare check requested by Henderson’s teen daughter, police entered the home June 3 and found Henderson’s body on the second floor, along with the body of Baumener, who had shot himself in the head.
Heidi Lopez, 33, was shot in the head by her husband, Ernesto Lopez Milpa, 40, in their Leesport home occupied by several of their children, authorities said. Milpa also shot himself in the head and was taken to Reading Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a day later.
The tragic incidents provide an opportunity to educate the community on some of the reasons for domestic violence and why victims, who know their partner better than anyone, often choose to stay with their abuser, officials at Safe Berks said in an interview in the aftermath of the Wernersville murder-suicide.
Children are harmed not just by witnessing violence in the home, but by the repeated presence of police, Exeter police Sgt. David Behm said in the article.
Safe Berks advises calling 9-1-1 if you or someone you know are in immediate danger. To seek the help of an advocate or to contact Safe Berks, call the 24-hour hotline, 844-789-SAFE (7233) or text SAFE BERKS to 20121.
Source: Berkshire mont