BY SUSAN RUBIO AND KATHLEEN RUSSELL
(SACRAMENTO BEE) – In February 2022, during a family-court-ordered visitation at a Sacramento church, a father murdered his three young daughters and a designated supervisor. He then committed suicide. Previously, the mother had obtained a domestic violence restraining order against the man, saying she feared for the life of her children and herself and that he had shown clear signs of escalating violent behavior. This type of horrific crime is not rare amid contentious custody proceedings. The Center for Judicial Excellence tracks murders committed in the U.S. by divorcing or separating parents, and it also tracks when a parent has unsuccessfully asked a court to intervene. Since 2008, there have been at least 859 reported cases of children being murdered by an abusive parent during divorce or separation proceedings. Many of the children died during a family-court-ordered visitation despite the presentation of evidence that they were in danger.
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