CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The family of Felicia Ann Franco, a local woman who police said was murdered by her boyfriend, has now spoken up in raising awareness on domestic abuse.
Franco and murder suspect Edward Garcia were together for four years, and during that time, the family said Garcia showed signs of abusive tendencies.
"He did say he could harm her and get away with it, but because there was no physical action maybe she just thought he was just mad and just talking. I don’t think she believed he would do something like that," Franco's cousin Stephanie Yanez said.
Yanez said he would get very jealous, even taking Franco's phones and other belongings over and over again.
The family said Franco was a very forgiving and quiet person. She was on and off again with Garcia, with Garcia manipulating his way back in.
The Purple Door Community Educator Meagan Jackson said this behavior creates a pattern that is difficult to break.
"It takes about seven times for the average person to leave that abusive relationship for good and we attribute that to it takes about seven times to change a habit," Jackson said.
The last time the family saw Franco, she said she would talk to Garcia to end things and then come right back, but that time never came.
"She was beginning to go her separate way and I think that he felt that, and that’s when she got in the car that last time and just nobody thought... nobody thought," Yanez said.
There are resources for those who need help getting out of an abusive relationship.
The Purple Door has a 24/7 hotline where anybody can call to get help. Their number is 361-881-8888. They offer free services like counseling and case management. They even have an emergency shelter that will provide basic necessities like food, water and clothes, all donation based, for those seeking a way out.
"The most dangerous time for a victim is when they are trying to leave because the abuser is then loosing control. So when we have somebody that’s coming into our office that’s still in that relationship, we always talk about their safety plan," Jackson said.
Every domestic abuse situation is different. No one knows what someone is going through behind closed doors, but if someone hears something, says something, and if they fear someone, call them.
"If you feel any kind of fear, you need to just act and leave and get out of it. Don’t fall for the 'I love you’s'. Every woman wants to be loved but that’s not love," Yanez said