Could more have been done to prevent murder-suicide in Caddo Par - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Could more have been done to prevent murder-suicide in Caddo Parish?

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Gwenette Lynn Cox Gwenette Lynn Cox
Caddo Parish - As family and friends of Gwynette Lynn Cox mourn, the community is learning about the tumultuous past of the victim and her killer --- her estranged husband. Michael Scott Salley, 43, kidnapped, Gwynette Salley, as she tried to pick up her seven year old daughter on May 2nd. Officials say he forced her to drive away, then killed her, and himself.

Unfortunately it was not an isolated event. The stage for the tragedy had been set earlier in the week when Michael Salley threatened to kill Gwen and was arrested, then was let out on bond. "She told me that Michael was going to kill her, she knew that Michael would kill her," Attorney Gary Evans had been Gwen's attorney and friend for years. He said when she finally got the courage to speak up - the system failed her.

According to Desoto Parish Law Enforcement - Gwen filed for divorce on April 15th. Prior to that, they say the only documented domestic violence history between the two happened in 2011. Gwen had called the police department saying Mr. Salley had threatened to kill himself, but she later called back saying everything was fine. That was until April 29th, 2014.

Desoto Parish Chief Criminal Deputy Horace Womack says, “He had broken into the residence, basically held her at gunpoint and threatened to kill her, deputies arrived and they were able to take him into custody." But Michael was let of jail when he posted bond for $50,000. Just days later, he took the life of Gwen and himself, leaving a little girl without parents. So that has left so many people wondering -could more have been done to prevent Gwen's death?

“I wish there was something else that could've been done,” says Chief Womack. “We're restrained by what the law allows us to do."

 Still, Evans says the law provides protection if there's imminent danger - and doesn't know why a man who threatened to kill himself and another wasn't held in jail. Especially, because Gwen noted more instances of domestic abuse in her order of protection. “The bond hearing should've been postponed as long as possible to determine what kind of danger this man was to the public.” He also says a mental evaluation should’ve been done. “We have to save our women and children, they have to be protected, because they can't protect themselves."

But we spoke with Executive Director of the Providence House, Simone Hennessee, who says the way our system is set up - the victim often must protect herself. She says, unfortunately, it's their responsibility to change their behaviors- because the abuser knows the patterns, knows where they live, and where they visit. Gwen did change the locks. But knowing her routine, Michael used a car that she wouldn't recognize, waiting for two hours at the child care center. Evans says people around Gwen told her to hide, to leave, but wanting to keep her daughters routine the same, she didn't.
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