Chesterfield murder-suicide may increase domestic violence help calls

Posted at 9:52 PM, Jun 17, 2014

CHESTERFIELD, Va. -- A local program that serves domestic violence survivors said it expects calls for help to increase this week after a murder-suicide in Chesterfield on Father’s Day.

However, the Executive Director of Safe Harbor, Kathleen Demro also said she worries the tragedy could dissuade domestic violence victims from trying to leave their abusive situation.

“When things like this happen, it becomes very discouraging and alarming for people in the community that are trying to make these decisions,” Demro said.

We do not know if there were ever any previous domestic violence situation in the home of that Chesterfield family involved in the murder-suicide.

But, a close family friend said that Renotta Jernigan told her husband Chris Jernigan that she wanted a divorce, just eight days before police said he killed her, their son, and his step-daughter.

Regardless of the Jernigan’s personal history, Demro wants people to know Safe Harbor can help victims of abuse get out safely, and they should still devise a plan to escape.

“There are certainly hundreds of thousands of people that leave relationships over the course of a year that don't result in this type of outcome,” Demro said.

If you know someone involved in a domestic violence situation, you can call Safe Harbor’s help line at (804) 287-7877.