Doctor urges people to spot warning signs after murder-suicide - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Doctor urges people to spot warning signs after murder-suicide

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A Henderson police vehicle at the scene of a murder-suicide on Sept. 5, 2016. (Source: FOX5) A Henderson police vehicle at the scene of a murder-suicide on Sept. 5, 2016. (Source: FOX5)
HENDERSON, NV (FOX5) -

A family is doing its best to recover after a husband killed his wife before committing suicide in Anthem.

People who knew the family have said the entire thing is shocking and out of character, but experts say there are almost always warning signs.

The Clark County Coroner’s Office hasn’t released the name of the victim yet. Officers with the Henderson Police Department described her as a 41-year-old woman who was married to the gunman, Michael Yonke.

“My guess would be that there were a lot of warning signs that were ignored,” said Valerie Williams-Goss, a doctor who specializes in domestic violence cases. “We need to protect these women.”

[READ: Couple leave behind 2 daughters after murder-suicide]

Williams-Goss isn’t directly involved with this case, but she’s upset every time she finds out about a tragedy like this.

She said it doesn’t matter if the husband seemed like a good person; whenever a relationship ends in a murder-suicide, there’s almost no way it could have gotten that bad that overnight.

Police reported that the mother was in the process of moving out of the house when she stopped by to pick up some of her things. That’s when they say Yonke, 38, pulled out a handgun and shot her to death.

“Most cases where a woman is killed, it happens once she leaves or once she gets the nerve to go,” said Williams-Goss. “Most women who are being abused to the point where they ultimately could be killed are being told the whole time, ‘If you leave, I'll kill you.’”

Yonke had a teenage son from a prior relationship and a 9-year-old daughter in common with the victim. His wife also had a teenage daughter from a past relationship.

None of the children were at the house at the time of the murder.

Aside from a few traffic tickets, Yonke’s record was clean. Police said they were at the house a few weeks ago to help settle an argument, but they classified it as simply a “domestic disturbance,” not anything abusive.

Williams-Goss wonders if maybe there were cases of domestic violence that went unreported by either the victim or the police, which is all too common.

“A domestic disturbance could just be somebody yelling and there could be an argument, and certainly nobody needs to be arrested in that case. In a case where domestic violence is reported, somebody is supposed to be arrested,” Williams-Goss said. “A lot of times my clients share with me that nobody was arrested. When the police responded, they left.”

Williams-Goss urged victims of domestic violence to stand up for themselves and always call the police.

She said restraining orders can be incredibly helpful. She also asked anyone who might witness an incident of domestic violence to please call the police, even if you have to do so anonymously.

“Certainly you have to be very careful,” she said. “If you’re with a person who ultimately can kill you, you’re probably with a very very scary person.”

Copyright 2016 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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