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Advocates of domestic abuse victims encourage people to speak up following double murder suicide

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 7:08 PM CST
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa County authorities said a mother and her young son were killed in Thursday morning’s double murder-suicide. Advocates for people dealing with domestic violence believe the situation encouraged more people to come forward about that in this community.

It didn’t take long for news about the deaths of Derika McGhee and her 8-year-old son Aiden Williams to make it to people at Turning Point.

“We started getting some phone calls and the news was brought to us about what happened and it was very tragic,” explained Savannah Tatum, the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the domestic violence advocacy group.

Tatum told us people who worked with McGhee reached out to them after they were killed. She says those calls were similar to the domestic violence claims made by McGhee’s aunt.

“I would tell any woman or man, if you’re in a abusive relationship get out. This has been going on for how ever many years. My niece has been moving from house to house trying to quote, unquote to get rid of him,” expressed Susie Patrick.

WBRC could not find any records of domestic abuse charges ever filed against Darrin Patton Jr. He’s the man investigators identified as McGhee’s boyfriend and suspect of killing the mother and son before turning the gun on himself.

Tatum told us it’s common for abuse victims to not file charges against their abusers. But there are steps they can take to protect themselves.

“We’ve got any kind of resource that you need that you need. We’ve got a court advocate. So if its really to that level of that, you can always get a PFA. I think as long as people educate themselves it should never have to get to that point.”

A P-F-A is a Protection From Abuse Order. Authorities continue to investigate what lead up to those deaths.

The number to Turning Point is also a 24 hour crisis line. That number is (205)758-0808. You can call it if you or someone you know is in a relationship where domestic violence is happening.

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