PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Two young children reportedly witnessed the violent death of their mother, who police said was allegedly run over by her boyfriend.
The woman, 28-year-old Anjelica Moraga, is the latest victim of a deadly domestic violence incident. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and over the past three years, the number of people killed in domestic violence fights in Phoenix alone have steadily increased.
Ricardo Garcia, 26, is behind bars, and is facing alleged murder and alleged aggravated assault charges. According to police, Garcia had gotten into a fight with his live-in girlfriend Sunday night, and then left the house.
Garcia's girlfriend later found him in the parking lot of a strip club, and that led to a deadly confrontation.
"She didn't know where he was, but she knew she needed the car seats, which were in his car, to take the kids to daycare the next day," said Sgt. Jonathan Howard with Phoenix Police.
Moraga, along with two friends and her two young children, were in a car looking for Garcia. According to police, the couple got into a fight at the parking lot of a strip club, after Moraga spotted Garcia's SUV there. It escalated when Garcia allegedly rammed his SUV into the car, with Moraga's two and three-year-old children inside.
Garcia then allegedly drove into Moraga with the SUV, knocking her to the ground, and then ran over her completely before speeding off. Relatives later found Garcia in an alley near the home. They reportedly fought with him before police arrested him. Police said Garcia admitted to running over his girlfriend, because he was mad that she hit him.
"We've had over a dozen homicides or so in Phoenix, we believe, are related to domestic violence," said Sgt. Howard.
In most cases, there are signs that precede deadly incidents.
"They typically tend to start trying to control you before the violence occurs," said Sgt. Howard. "They're looking to control who your friends are, where you go, so whether this incident couldn't been prevented by the victim or friends, we don't know or will never know, but if people start looking at their partner more critically, when they start to see controlling issues, it's time to get out."
Thus far this year, there have been 54 domestic-violence related homicides throughout the State of Arizona. It can happen to anyone, and if you think your relationship -- or someone you might know -- might be headed in that direction. There are resources.
National Domestic Violence Hotline