KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Over the past few years, the Leawood Baptist Church has erected crosses on its property – each one representing a homicide victim. This year, more than 200 people were killed in the metro, and a common motive was domestic violence.
The first homicide of 2019 was Tony Carmons Sr., who was stabbed by his girlfriend.
Most recently, the suspect in a triple homicide in Kansas City, Kansas, is an ex-boyfriend.
Loved ones are relieved Kansas City Kansas police caught the man suspected of killing Yasmin Rodriguez and her two children, Amerikha Rodriguez, 14 and Jeancarlos Rodriguez, 10, within hours of their deaths.
"He's not out there being free, having his freedom having, you know?” Zaida Rodriguez, the children's aunt, told 41 Action News. “I'm actually glad that they got him.”
KCK police said the 31-year-old and the mother of two had previously dated.
Family members told 41 Action News that the suspected killer was almost a stranger to them.
"I've only seen him once,” Rodriguez said. “When Yasmin came and dropped off the kids one day, and I just seen him in the car. And her Facebook I had just seen like a picture of him and her together and that's about it.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly half of all female homicide victims in the United States are killed by a current or former partner.
In Missouri, KCPD records show that domestic violence was a contributing factor in at least seven of the more than 140 homicides.
Rodriguez said she has questions about what prompted the suspected man’s actions.
"I feel like he didn't love them,” Rodriguez said. “You did this to them. You didn't love them."
The Rodriguez family now has created donation boxes to place at area businesses help with funeral and burial costs.
"They are our babies, they're everything to us," Rodriguez said. "And it's hard because I'm not going to be able to see them anymore."
KCK Police said formal charges from the Wyandotte County District Attorney's Office are expected Wednesday.