Friends of Heather Palumbo-Jones, who was allegedly murdered by her estranged husband, Christopher Jones, expressed regret for not taking signs of his abusive behavior more seriously.
"He called her phone 60 and 70 times a day, showed up wherever she was, the gym," said Blair Jones, friend of victim. "Every person who ever met him for 30 seconds got what they could only describe as a creepy feeling. I wish during the course of my relationship with these people that I would've paid more attention to that creepy feeling."
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Jones faces second degree murder for killing his estranged wife, then dumping her body in a thickly wooded area off Highway 64 and Collierville-Arlington Road in the eastern part of Shelby County. He remains in the Shelby County jail on $1 million bond. His arraignment is expected to take place May 1 at Germantown Municipal Court.
Some of the victim's friends expressed regret for not taking the signs of his abusive behavior more seriously.
Many may know a friend who's a domestic violence victim. The first and foremost step is to be supportive.
Olliette Murry-Drobot with the Family Safety Center says loved ones who hear of, or witness domestic violence should not cut off communication with the victim. That's even if they disapprove of the situation.
Instead, keep the lines of communication open, express concern and reaffirm it's not the victim's fault. They recommend you stay clear of judgment and criticism. It's important for the victim not to feel isolated.
If you sense any danger, call 9-1-1.
"Domestic violence may look a lot of different ways," Murry-Drabot said. "Just keeping in mind it's all about the issue of power and control, and that can play out on a daily basis. It can play out in lots of different ways, and it's not uncommon to hear she may not have called the police or no one knew what was going on as things got worse and worse."
Friends say Ms. Palumbo-Jones' relationship with her estranged husband escalated in the past few months, saying Christopher stalked her and broke into her home.
"When I saw her Saturday at Rock and Romp she had told me that he had just stolen her phone, and she used the word 'stalked' three times," recalls Blair. "For the first time in my conversations with her, I got the feeling that she was afraid. For the very first time I think all along Heather thought she could handle Chris. Up until the very end I think that's how she thought and I'm kicking myself for not taking it more seriously."
Murry-Drobot says victims are at greatest risk at the time of separation or right after that period, because the abuser feels they are losing control of their partner. They stress a "get out" plan.
Should you offer your home to the victim? The Family Safety Center (901-222-4400) says it depends on the situation, since it could possibly be a risk for you.