Wisconsin saw fewer deaths from domestic violence homicides last year than in the two previous years.
In 2011, there were 37 homicide deaths and three suicides related to domestic violence, according to a report released Thursday by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
There were 51 domestic violence-related homicide deaths and seven suicides in 2010, and 52 homicide deaths and 15 suicides in 2009.
In Dane County last year, there were three domestic violence homicide victims, all under age 5.
On June 30, 2011, Luis A. Vasquez, 3, died after his mother, Maria Castillo-Dominguez, threw him against a wall of their Madison apartment because he ate some Chiclets after she told him not to, according to a criminal complaint. Castillo-Dominguez, 23, is charged with first-degree reckless homicide for causing head injuries that led to the boy’s death.
On July 5, 2011, Kevin McArthur III, 4, and Kemaury McArthur, 3, were strangled by their mother’s boyfriend, David Hoem, in a Madison parking lot. Hoem was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In 2010 in Dane County, three men were killed by sheriff’s deputies during domestic violence incidents. Also, Twanda Thompson, 19, along with her unborn child, 7-month-old son and mother-in-law, Leona Larry, 57, all of Madison, were fatally shot in Chicago by Thompson’s husband, James Larry.
In 2009, the number of domestic violence homicides in Wisconsin reached a 10-year high of 52, along with 15 related suicides. That year, Dane County had a record seven domestic violence homicides and two suicides.
Shannon Barry, executive director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services in Dane County, said it’s difficult to draw any conclusions about the lower numbers of domestic violence-related deaths.
"What I would hope that it means is victims are reaching out to services earlier and are getting the help they need early on to leave," Barry said.
But, she said, it is alarming that the three Dane County victims of domestic violence homicides last year and the three so far this year were someone close to an identified victim of domestic violence, and that four of the county’s last six domestic violence homicide victims have been children.
At noon Monday, there will be a silent march around the state Capitol beginning at the State Street steps, followed by speakers and a reading of the names of the 2011 victims of domestic violence deaths.
Victims of domestic violence and people concerned about someone who is being abused can call the DAIS crisis line at 608-251-4445.