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Crime Trackers: PCSD task force continue to help stop domestic violence cycle

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TUCSON -

Domestic Violence Awareness month just wrapped up in October, but the Pima County Sheriff's Department Domestic Violence Task Force's work to help stop the cycle of domestic violence continues.

In Arizona, someone dies due to domestic violence every three days. Heather Yager was shot seven times and lived to talk about her harrowing experience.

She was shot by her former boyfriend in 2012. She said he never hit her during their relationship, but he did verbally abuse her.

“He’d say mean, awful things and then like turn around say a bunch of nice stuff, so I was fine again,” Yager said.

She’d had enough and broke up with him. It nearly cost her life.

Arturo Quiles was convicted of attempted first degree murder and is serving a life sentence.

Many changes have taken place since then. The DV Task Force does what they call probable cause alerts to protect the victims. In this case, a former girlfriend filed a police report claiming harassment during a recent ride along. Det. Renee Petersen made contact with the suspect.

She told him, “on Sept. 26, you called four times and left threatening messages.”

The suspect denied making the calls. He said, “I’ve changed my number four times, so I don't know how she's saying I’m calling.”

"You left voice messages, I don't how you’re going to dispute that," Petersen responded. "At this point, there is probable cause to arrest you.”

The probable cause alert holds the offender accountable for his actions.

“This is not a warrant," Petersen said. "It’s what we call a P.C., or probable cause alert, which means we have reason to believe he did it.”

He was booked into the Pima County jail.

Also that evening, other task force members made compliance checks. That is when someone is arrested on domestic violence charges and the judge sets conditions of release.

Det. Mike Buglewicz said the judge’s order  tells the suspects “not to have contact with the victim or return to the victim's residence. We're doing follow up on that.”

They're checking on Gary Edmundson, who was ordered to stay away from the victim.  After identifying themselves, they told him, “you're not allowed to be at the residence. “ 

“But that was that night,” Edmundson responded.

“No, these conditions are in place until she has them changed or the judge changes them,” said Buglewicz.

The victim arrived a short time later. The detective talked to her away from the alleged batterer. She told the detective their problems stem from his drinking.

“If he's not drunk  things are good," said the victim. " If he's drunk he's no good.”

Buglewicz asked her, “are you okay with him being in the house?”

“Yes I am, if he gets drunk I will call again," she said.

Buglewicz replied, “Okay, that's good to know.”

Edmundson is booked into the Pima County Jail.

Heather Yager’s injuries were so severe, she will always walk with a limp and still needs additional surgeries.  She said she’s alive and wants to share her story. She said that if her story saves just one person from ending up in her situation, it’s worth the effort.

For the most part since the Task Force has been conducting random compliance checks, they have had fewer arrests and more people following the judge's orders. 

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