How officers handle kids at center of domestic violence cases

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SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – The Spartanburg County coroner said the deaths of two people in a home where three young children were found safe is being investigated as a murder-suicide.

Investigators said Rickeya Latrice Stroble, 26, was killed by Daryl Lee Foster, 31 at a home on Anderson Drive Tuesday night. 

According to deputies, Foster then killed himself. 

Sheriff Chuck Wright said three children, ages 10, 6, and an infant, were in the house but were not harmed.

The Sheriff’s Office said they have not released the relationship between the children and the adults due to the ongoing investigation.

Lt. Kevin Bobo told 7News the children were placed with the Department of Social Services Tuesday night.

Bobo said background checks are being completed on family members who want to care for the children, which is standard in all cases of this nature involving children.  

On Wednesday, 7News visited the downtown Spartanburg campus of USC Upstate where advocates work to first prevent violence in the home.

They also work with young victims to help them process what they’ve witnessed and get the help they need.

The campus houses one of only four simulation houses for domestic violence response training. 

We also spoke with Suzy Cole, the Executive Director at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union Counties. 

“Make no mistake about it, watching adults fight is traumatic for kids,” said Cole. 

Cole said in her line of work she has the seen the worst of the worst cases. 

However, she believes she doesn’t see it all. Simply put, she said, it’s difficult for children to talk about mom and dad fighting.

“It’s something they don’t want to share but also for many of them it’s so normal to watch mom and dad kick, hit, punch, choke each other that they’re desensitized to it so they don’t even think to mention it,” said Cole. 

Part of Cole’s network of advocates is Jennifer Parker at the Center for Child Advocacy Studies at USC Upstate where she and her colleagues are on the forefront of preparing professionals to handle the volatile situations in the training rooms that are used to simulate what they will see when they arrive to a scene to find young children who are traumatized. 

“It actually puts you in that child’s place, when you hear the chaos and fear and stress going on around that child. They’re calling and pleading for help,” said Parker.

As they work toward a goal of ultimately preventing violence in the home, Parker says the work continues to educate parents and treat children who have seen and heard more than they are capable of processing.   

“If you’re not safe your first thought, your first biological instinct, is ‘I gotta survive.’ So you’re activating that mechanism in your brain,” said Parker.     

Parker said there are many resources in the Upstate for parents who want help with reversing a cycle of domestic violence.

Call Hope Center for Children in Spartanburg at (864) 583-7688 or click here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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