The murder of a mother and her 10-year-old daughter last Friday has shaken Fort Worth. On Sunday, police arrested Paige Lawyer in Tennessee. He has three past domestic violence cases against the woman he's now accused of killing.
Wednesday night, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price spoke out against domestic violence, at one of her rolling town hall meetings.
The community bike ride started at Eastern Hills Elementary, where the victim's twin 4-year-old sons were in school on Friday, when police came to tell them their mother and sister had been killed.
A local pastor led the group in prayer to start the meeting, saying: "We're praying that they will gain strength, that the children who are still alive will understand that God is still in control. Let's just have a moment of silence first."
O'Tishae Womack and her 10-year-old daughter Ka'Myria were found strangled to death in their nearby apartment complex Friday afternoon.
Wednesday night, Mayor Betsy Price said this tragedy is the prime opportunity to talk about domestic violence.
The Tarrant County District Attorney's Office has a new intimate partner violence unit that's already working with investigators in this case. The unit started when D.A. Sharen Wilson noticed that more than half the capital murder cases in 2016 were related to family violence.
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The Fort Worth school district is also working to educate teachers on recognizing signs of domestic violence at home, to stop the cycle.
"It affects their ability to learn if they're exposed to that kind of violence,” said Mayor Price. “If they lose a parent or a sibling to violence it really has a dramatic impact on them. So to step up, police, counseling, the district attorney's prosecution, for the schools to step up their counseling will make a difference. But ultimately we have to educate men and women about what to do other than a violent solution."
School Board President Tobi Jackson was at the town hall as well.
“What can we do to prevent these tragedies?" Jackson said. "Because we have tragic loss of human life with regard to domestic violence every day and is there something that we don’t know that we could see? And the one thing we do know is our community can watch and listen and anything that’s not right, especially with regard to a child, they can report it.”
Jackson said the surviving twin boys are safe and staying with family.