According to Sarah Steininger, interim director of Lifewire, a King County resource center for victims of domestic violence, abuse often starts slowly and increases in severity over time.
It may start with verbal abuse, then escalate to irrational jealousy, which was a factor in the Garcia-Pacheco case.
An abuser may make it hard for a survivor to hold a job, have friendships or stay in touch with family.
The perpetrator may cycle between kindness and cruelty, or blame the victim, or suggest the victim is crazy, making it hard for the survivor to assess his
"Once you're in it, it's hard to see the forest for all the trees," said Steininger
Hope for change is very compelling to people who still love an abusive partner, Steininger went on.
"The partner is never all bad," she
"There's always something good.
Love is a strong reason people stay."
Then there is the very real threat of harm or death to a person trying to leave.
"When the partner is saying 'I will kill you,' or 'I will kidnap the kids and you will never see them again,' those are extremely compelling threats to survivors," Steininger
The fear of feeling as if one has betrayed a partner can keep a Latina survivor from leaving, too, said Steininger
"If their abuser is undocumented, they are afraid to call police," she
When a survivor is in another country, that makes the distance from help that much greater, Steininger
In nearly every case of the murder of a domestic partner, there were people who knew something was wrong, said Sarah Steininger of Lifewire.
"For every person perpetrating, there are other people seeing and not saying anything," she