October 28, 2012
Mom of murdered woman: 'I didn't know who to turn to for help'
By Dave Dormer, Calgary Sun
CALGARY - Shelly Jones says she felt alone.
In the weeks leading up to the murder of her 20-year-old daughter, Lacey Jones-McKnight, Jones said they contacted police several times about her daughter’s allegedly abusive ex-boyfriend, but was never told of any resources they could have turned to for help.
“We weren’t directed to anything,” she said.
“We felt like we had no option.
“It was just me and my baby girl.”
Jones is upset with police for failing to act on what she’s described as repeated threats and stalking behaviour by ex-boyfriend Kristopher (Tray) Guenther, 29, after Jones-McKnight ended their relationship.
Guenther has been charged with second-degree murder in Jones-McKnight’s death.
Jones said she called police at least four times and filed reports, but was told each time there wasn’t enough evidence for an arrest.
“I just feel the last three weeks that I’ve been phoning them, we’ve been ignored,” she said.
Lisa Falkowsky, executive director of Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, defended police Saturday and said Jones did the right thing by calling them.
“The Calgary Police Service, in our experience, usually responds very well,” she said.
“They have a domestic violence unit that understands the seriousness of stalking and the increased risk it puts the potential victim at.”
Falkowsky noted there are numerous programs available to women who need help.
A call to the shelter’s Safe Line at 403-234-7233 connects women to appropriate resources, said Falkowsky, which can include everything from doing a risk assessment to helping women acquire restraining orders to finding emergency housing.
And women don’t have to wait until they’ve been attacked or something has happened to call police or the Safe Line.
“The difficult thing is, you do have to prove it if you want to lay charges, but you don’t have to prove it to call the police,” she said.
“If the police are aware of you being in an abusive relationship, they can mark your file so when they get an emergency call, they already know what the history is.”
Police are aware of Jones’ concerns and take them seriously, said Insp. Darren Leggatt.
“We certainly hear and certainly understand the mother’s pain and concern given these circumstances,” he said.
“All of these interactions she’s speaking of form part of a complex, integral investigation that’s not complete. And we want to make sure it’s done right.”
Ald. Diane Colley-Urquhart, who sits on the Calgary Police Commission, took to social media to defend the efforts of police on the domestic violence front.
“Calgary police officers have the most proactive approach and engagement in addressing domestic violence than any other place in Canada,” she wrote.
“Instead of criticizing our police officers let’s take time to (mourn) the loss of such a beautiful woman named Lacey.”
Jones-McKnight was found dead in a car parked on Country Hills Blvd. Thursday. Guenther remained in hospital under police guard Saturday and officers were still waiting to interview him, said Leggatt.