Bridge City homicide brings awareness to domestic violence

Published 5:27 am Saturday, September 17, 2016

By Dawn Burleigh


One in three women will experience an abusive relationship.

One in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.

Nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.

Approximately 4,000 women die each year to domestic violence.

Domestic violence is defined, by the United States Department of Justice, as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.  Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.

Family Services of Southeast Texas provides support services and assistance to domestic violence victims with a 24-hour hotline at 1-800-621-8882 and emergency transportation for domestic violence survivors to achieve personal safety.

Housing, at an undisclosed location for the safety of the residents, and counseling is available.

In July, Family Services of Southeast Texas announced they expanded their Batterer’s Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP) to include a weekly class in Orange. For more information on Family Services’ BIPP Program, or other counseling services, please call (409) 833-2668.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

On Wednesday, Bridge City Police Department was notified of a possible homicide at approximately 7 p.m. at 112 Mary Avenue in Bridge City.

When officers arrived on the scene, they discovered Kara Marie Willingham, 28, deceased.

During the course of the investigation, Jorge Hugo Elizade-Sanchez, Willingham’s boyfriend, was identified as a person of interest and taken into custody for no driver’s license and no proof of insurance.

Additional information was uncovered throughout the evening and early morning hours, which led to the issuance of a warrant for Sanchez’s arrest Thursday afternoon in connection with Willingham’s death.

Orange County District Judge Courtney Arkeen arraigned Sanchez for murder.

His bond was set at $1,000,000.

Sanchez remains in the Orange County jail.

A preliminary autopsy indicates Willingham died from asphyxia from strangulation.