Mass family killings happen every 3.5 weeks. These killings have happened every 3.5 weeks for
the last TWENTY YEARS! That is almost 300 mass family killings, and that isn’t the number of
casualties; that is the number of mass family killing events. The number one and two reasons
for the killings? Financial stress and/or domestic violence.
In January 2023 alone, there were three such incidents. In Utah, Michael Haight killed his wife,
her mother, and his five children after the wife served him with divorce papers. He had a
history of violence with his children and was facing abuse charges. A day later, in North
Carolina, Robert Crayton killed his wife and three children before turning the gun on himself.
The police reported visiting the house numerous times since 2014 for domestic violence calls in
which charges were never pressed. Lastly, in California, Dharmesh Patel intentionally drove the
family car with himself, his wife, and his two kids over the side of a cliff with the intention of
killing all. Thankfully, they all survived, and the CHP had sufficient evidence to charge him with
attempted murder in his hospital room.
I firmly believe all of these tragedies could have been avoided if the judicial system, and society
at large, took domestic violence/intimate partner violence seriously. The fact that the first two
were KNOWN to the police and had either charges against them or had domestic violence calls
to the home over the last nine years, and nothing was done is unacceptable. In the past
domestic violence calls were pooh-poohed by police and treated as not serious. It is only in
recent years that police are beginning to understand how dangerous domestic abusers are,
both to their family victims and to the officers responding to domestic violence calls. I could not
locate any information on previous contact with police for the California attempt.
Abusers often use cars as a way of threatening, intimidating, or killing their target of abuse. I
hated driving with my father because he played “chicken” with us in the car all the time, and as
an adult, I refused to drive with him because I knew his intent was to have “an accident”. If the
abuser in your life plays “chicken” with you in the car or uses the car to have you “captive” to
scream at you and verbally abuse you, for the love of God, DO NOT get in the car with them!
They are showing you who they are and what they will do.
Targets of abuse also make the fatal mistake of minimizing the danger they are in. “Oh, my ex
will never really hurt me or the kids!” WRONG!!! Statistics show otherwise. Every 3.5 weeks
show otherwise. Do not bet your life and or your children’s lives that your abusive ex won’t try
to kill you. If there is a history of physical violence, you must take your safety and the safety of
your children seriously. When leaving, do not hesitate to file for emergency custody. Realize
you will need to have documentation. Document every instance of abuse, and every police
contact, get reports from the police and file an order of protection to protect you and your
Here is a breakdown of the statistics from John Hopkins University: of the abusers that go on to
kill their family and then themselves: 91 percent are male. 88 percent choose a gun as their
weapon. Interviews with surviving family and friends showed 70 percent had previous intimate
partner violence events. Only 25 percent had actual arrests for domestic violence. The number
one predictor for family murder and perpetrator suicide? Previous history of domestic violence.
So, what type of abuser is most likely to kill himself/herself, the spouse, and the children? An
enmeshed, possessively jealous type. In other words, a dark triad: Narcissistic, Psychopathic,
and a control freak, one that if they can’t control you, no one can, including your own free will.
Dark triads are the ones who stalk, obsess, and sometimes kill their object of obsession. In
some cases, they believe they will be able to control the target of abuse after death if they die
Targets of abuse are often under the mistaken belief that the children need the other parent. In
healthy relationships, yes, but in abusive relationships, no. Both the child and the target are
safer without the abuser in their lives. Society doesn’t help when it persecutes targets of abuse
who have filed for sole custody and who go no contact and get a restraining order.
We need to wake society up to the realities of intimate partner violence. Every 3 ½ weeks, a
family is murdered by the abuser. We as a society can no longer look the other