SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Valerie Williams was a 27-year-old pregnant mother when she lost her life at the Kelly Greens apartment complex.
Springfield police say she was in the process of moving in with 33-year old Derik Osborn, who is facing past domestic violence charges.
Lisa Farmer, the executive director at Harmony House – a family violence prevention center – says victims returning to their abusers isn’t unusual.
Farmer says, “Some of the common reasons victims will return to their abusers are very often there’s financial instability, maybe they haven’t been able to work for a very long time, or they can’t financially make it…often there’s children involved.”
Valerie was the mother to two little boys and was 16 weeks pregnant with another child. While it’s unknown the exact cause of the argument that led to her death, abusers often become even more violent when they feel they are no longer the center of attention.
Farmer adds, “Unfortunately, pregnancy can cause abuse to escalate so it’s not uncommon for that to happen when a domestic violence victim becomes pregnant and two of the primary reasons are it can create jealousy because the abuser is no longer the sole focus.”
Valerie and Derik’s violent relationship dates back to October of last year when Osborn was charged with misdemeanor assault against her. It’s not known if Osborn served jail time for the crime, but less than 6 months later, Valerie is gone.
“I think there’s a lot of room for improvement in the protection that we give to victims and the sentencing that abusers often don’t get or don’t get strict enough or long enough.”
Osborn is in Greene county jail and has been charged with one count of domestic assault and two counts of second-degree murder.
Police say an autopsy for Williams will be performed on Monday.