|Dolly Martinez poses with her daughter's last painting.|
The Emery County Domestic Violence Coalition met at their annual program in the park which was held in the county building due to inclement weather. The coalition welcomed speaker Dolly Martinez to the program. Martinez's daughter Valarie was stalked and murdered and became another statistic for domestic violence. Martinez said her daughter was a gifted artist and a real go getter. She said in trying to separate her daughter from her boyfriend it backfired and it drew them closer.
Her daughter began to show signs of fear as the relationship continued. In time, Valarie tried to end the relationship, but always went back to Chris. Later, Dolly found out Chris had threatened to kill her and her son and Chris continued to hold that threat over Valarie to intimidate and control her.
There were points in the relationship when Valarie was afraid to even go outside her home. Valarie ended the relationship and met a man named Todd who treated her with respect and their relationship grew. They spent time in Moab, rapelling and taking pictures.
Martinez was going to move her daughter home and out of her own apartment. Chris was stalking Valarie and would change vehicles and license plates to conceal himself. On the morning Valarie was to move home, she didn't call her mother. Martinez and her son drove by her apartment and Todd's car was parked there, so they didn't go in. Later that day they received a phone call that her daughter Valarie and Todd had both been shot execution style.
Martinez warned the audience to watch for danger signals in relationships. She told parents to be active and watch, look and listen and ask questions. Take threats seriously and act upon them. Notify the police. Martinez feels like she could have done more. She wishes now that she would have removed her daughter from the state and relocated somewhere else. She thinks Valarie would still be alive if they had moved.
Martinez described the pain her family has gone through with the loss of their sister. She said their lives have changed forever and Valarie's siblings are going through hell. They miss their sister and their association with her.
"Domestic violence took away my daughter, all I have left now are her paintings and lots of memories," said Martinez. She described the paintings and what each one meant to her daughter. Martinez said a lot of the paintings represented the fear her daughter felt and lived with each day. Scared faces and hidden eyes were present in Valarie's paintings and symbolized always being watched.
Martinez said by sharing her story she hopes to help people become more aware of domestic violence and its signs and warnings. Pay attention to bruises, pushing around and people talking down to others in their relationships.
Martinez feels the justice system failed her, as they told the police numerous times that Chris was going to kill her daughter and nothing was done.
Martinez also did a presentation on domestic abuse for the students at Emery High.