Domestic violence cases raise concern for victims

- SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – A disturbing pattern is unfolding across the Wasatch front involving cases of domestic violence, which raise questions about victim safety.

Victims in an abusive relationship should not be afraid to seek help or call police. It could mean the difference between life and death.

The Salt Lake Valley is seeing its share of domestic violence cases. There have been three cases in less than a week and those are only the ones being reported.

Sgt. Susan Poulsen with the Davis County Sheriff’s Office said it is hard anytime a couple splits up.

“Emotions are always running high,” she said. “People often times will do things they normally wouldn’t do.”

A SWAT standoff in West Valley City last Friday ended peacefully, but the call came from a woman who said she was getting into a physical fight with her husband.

Other cases can be more extreme.

Debbie Eatchel was killed by her ex-husband in a murder suicide on Monday. The violence stemmed from a divorce gone bad.

The latest domestic violence case involves a Davis County man. Kristopher Ertmann is facing an attempted murder charge. He allegedly slit the throat of his soon-to-be ex-wife Tuesday night in the parking lot of Nicholls Park in Fruit Heights.

Ertmann had a past protective order against him. The woman is expected to survive.

“When they met it was in a dark closed park,” Poulsen said. “There was no one else in the area.”

Authorities advise meetings between estranged partners should be held in daylight hours at public places. You should also have a third party or police officer present.

“With a law enforcement officer on scene people are much less inclined to commit crimes,” Poulsen said.

She added that taking extra precautions could be life saving.

“We would just caution folks to make sure they are keeping themselves safe and thinking along the lines of, ‘What could I do to make this situation safe for myself?’,” she said.

If you call a police and are told an officer is not available, wait for one or reschedule the meeting with your estranged partner.

Others should not hesitate to call police if they see something suspicious happening in public.

Victims can call Utah’s domestic violence hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).

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