WHY would someone kill his own child?
Stephen Garcia and Katie Tagle were involved in a custody dispute over their 9-month-old son Wyatt. Garcia didn't want to live without his ex-girlfriend and he didn't want to share custody -- so he killed himself and their son in an apparent murder-suicide, and put his suicide note on Facebook. Their bodies were found early Sunday on an isolated dirt trail in California.
Our hearts go out to Wyatt's mom. We cannot imagine the pain she is experiencing now.
Tagle filed a request last December for a restraining order against Garcia, but it was denied on Jan. 12 because Garcia was not considered a "threat to petitioner or the minor child."
"This was preventable. This didn't have to happen," Tagle's mother, Maria Brown, said the day after Wyatt's death. "The system failed Wyatt. It cost him his life."
It's just heartbreaking. What are the warning signs an ex could snap like this?
Jane Greer, Ph.D., a marriage and family therapist in New York City, says: "In the beginning of a relationship, it's easy to ignore the warning signs of abuse and focus on the positive aspects of a person. After all, you're on a romantic hormonal high, so everything he does seems wonderful."
However, Dr. Greer says to be aware of specific signs a person is capable of hurting you. If your spouse or ex exhibits any of these behaviors, seek help immediately.
• Explosive anger or violence (i.e., throws objects, is physically aggressive)
• Blocks exits or hides car keys to prevent leaving
• Isolates you from family and friends or otherwise limits your contact with the outside world
• Emotional abuse (name-calling, ridicule, frequent criticism)
• Disregards your feelings and has a complete focus on their own needs
If you see these warning signs, Greer says to disengage from the relationship right away and seek help.
What's sad is that Katie DID try to get protection from Stephen -- but she was denied by the court system. That's just shameful.