Death by Love

A series of articles on domestic violence victims murdered by a lover or spouse.  Originally printed in The Times, Munster, IN, in 1995.

Women Who Paid the Ultimate Price

The barrage of O.J. Simpson jokes, TV specials and merchandise has obscured the fact that prior to her death, Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole, was a victim of an all-too-common form of violence.

Thousands of women each day suffer the pain and indignity of being physically abused by the person they love. Often they are left with black eyes and bruises. Sometimes they die.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a few weeks set aside each year to draw attention to this often-hidden problem.

Over the next three days, The Times will introduce you to some local victims of domestic homicide. You will meet Melissa Van Blaricum, Atina Rodriguez and Jamie Nixon, as well as other women who were your neighbors not so long ago.

They worked in your community, shopped in your grocery or worshipped beside you on Sunday.

You may not have known them when they were alive, but you will know them now.

"We have to let people know she was here on Earth," said Ed Van Blaricum, Melissa's father. "We don't want her to be forgotten."