Daughter speaks out after mother, aunt killed in domestic violence homicide

Daughter speaks out after mother, aunt killed in domestic violence homicide
Cassenda Nelson (Source: WALB)
Cassenda Nelson (Source: WALB)
Police say the two women were killed in a domestic violence related incident. (Source: WALB)
Police say the two women were killed in a domestic violence related incident. (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - "There's no bringing them back," said Cassenda Nelson, who lost her mother and aunt in a domestic violence-related homicide.

It's a tough reality many people must face: the lasting effects of domestic violence.

Cassenda said too many people feel the pain she feels every day after losing loved ones to domestic violence.

She hopes to spread one important message: speak up and do something before it's too late.

Cassenda Nelson remembers that Friday, August 18th when she learned her mother and aunt were found dead in the 1900 block of West Highland Avenue.

Police arrested Arelious Haynes Jr., 51, on murder charges for the deaths of Cassenda's mother Francis Nelson and aunt Mamie Childs.

Cassenda said her mother's relationship with Haynes showed telling signs of a volatile and unhealthy partnership.

"I noticed that he was very aggressive, jealous, when she would leave, he would call constantly," said Cassenda.

But, she said her mother didn't see it like that.

"To me, this was like a movie," said Cassenda. "Watching it day in and day out. And she saw it a different way than I saw it."

Cassenda said her mother Francis was a loving and caring woman who was hurt by the shame and embarrassment that many domestic violence victims feel.

"I think we sometimes overlook things that are very evident. It's right in your face," she said. "However, you still can't see it. You're hoping that maybe, if I continue to be good to this person, or if I show them that I love them, maybe they'll love me."

And it's that misconception and refusal to get help that too many victims experience.

Cassenda said that can ultimately end up costing a victim his or her life.

"I wish that my mom, who was very private, would have accepted some help. Because 'uh-oh', or 'I'm sorry' at this point doesn't even matter," she said.

Cassenda said it's time to start talking about domestic violence, and get rid of its stigma, to encourage victims to seek help.

"Why is it such a secretive thing?" she asked. "If somebody is mistreating you, why is it such a secret?  Because I'm not going to allow anyone to mistreat me."

Haynes is being charged with two counts of murder.

The judge denied bond.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The Liberty House of Albany has had events and programs throughout the month to raise awareness of their cause and the services they offer.

Their Crisis Hotline number is (229) 439-7065 or 1-800-334-2836.  Their business number is (229) 439-7094.

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