A Las Vegas woman who lost her life, reportedly at the hands of an abusive boyfriend, left behind a series of chilling messages on Facebook that documented an abusive relationship. One of the messages read that the victim claimed that she would end up dead before police assisted her.
Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Stella Martinez, 39, died on June 23 from brain injuries caused from being brutally beaten on June 3. She spent weeks fighting for her life at the Summerlin Hospital before passing away from her injuries. Martinez’s death was ruled a homicide.
The victim’s boyfriend, Christopher Wood, 41, was arrested shortly after a patrol officer responding to a possible break-in said he saw the suspect choking and pulling the victim’s hair in her backyard. A neighbor called and reported that a man was trying to break into Martinez’s home, but it turned out to be Wood, who had Martinez on the ground, abusing her.
In several posts, Stella Martinez predicted her own death and recounted her failed efforts to get help from policehttps://t.co/rX5tfBXpCe
— Las Vegas RJ (@reviewjournal) July 3, 2017
Wood was initially charged with attempted murder, attempted burglary and domestic battery by strangulation, but given the victim’s death, the charges will likely be upgraded to murder prior to his July 14 preliminary hearing.
According to Martinez’s now-deactivated Facebook page, she began dating Wood around May 2016. Throughout the year, the couple seemed “in love” and appeared to enjoy each other’s company, as evidenced through photos and romantic messages left on each other’s Facebook pages.
Around January 2017, the relationship took an abrupt turn when Martinez’s social media posts changed from nice comments about Wood to calling him a “sociopath.” She wrote that she announced how Wood “really was” because she not only wanted to take back her power, but she also wanted to warn other women.
“Although I have no doubt (you’re) still going to try to kill me but you will never find me,” she posted on his Facebook page in January 2017.
Shortly after, she wrote that she’d sought out help from the police on several occasions, but she alleged that the authorities ended up taking Wood’s side and did nothing to help her. In one instance, North Las Vegas officers arrested Martinez on a domestic dispute charge and let Wood go.
Martinez’s sister-in-law, Jessica Avras, said that Martinez stopped calling authorities afterwards because she didn’t want them turning on her. Her friends on social media urged her to get a restraining order against Wood and move away where he couldn’t find her.
Ultimately, Wood found her before she had the chance to get away, and allegedly beat her so badly that she never recovered.
Meanwhile, Liz Ortenburger, executive director of Safe Nest, a domestic violence advocacy group and women’s shelter, warned that women should be careful when posting on social media, as there is never a guarantee that the posts are only viewed by friends. Ortenburger said she understood the need to reach out online for help and support, but at the same time, she recommended finding more private outlets.
“Social media is probably not the best place to get support and help.”
Instead, Ortenburger suggests searching for local women’s shelters. Safe Nest can be reached at safenest.org or by calling 702-646-4981. Further, domesticshelters.org offers a list of shelters in each state in the U.S.
[Feature Photo: Facebook]