The deadly stabbing of a young Albany woman during a domestic dispute has many wondering what could have been done to prevent her death. As YNN's Lori Chung reports, while the community mourns, the tragedy is shedding light on a problem that has no easy solutions.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- “We can never bring back the life of this young lady, but we can make it easier for the family,” said Willie White.
Sympathy for Tonette Thomas and her family is palpable on Myrtle Avenue, where she was stabbed to death on Monday. A Village Inc. was moved enough to arrange a fundraiser this weekend to help lay her to rest.
“We’re going to sell dinners to try to raise some money to help the family out with burial and anything else that they might need,” said White, Executive Director.
But the circumstances of the 20-year-old's death are also drawing attention to the dangers of domestic violence.
"It's not an unthinkable situation," said Kathy Magee, who oversees domestic violence services at Equinox in Albany. "And, that's one of the scary things about domestic violence is that this could happen more often."
Family members say Michael Anderson, the man now charged with murder, had been making threats against Tonette's sister, Shaquasia Thomas, after she ended their relationship. They say the sisters were trying to get a restraining order before Anderson allegedly stabbed them and another family member during a fight. Magee says there are far more victims needing help than many realize.
“There are resources for them, [but] are there enough? There are never enough.”
A growing memorial is proof of just how much Thomas' death has touched this community, and it also shows that when it comes to domestic violence, it's not just the victims in the relationships that become the casualties.
"An abuser usually focuses on his victim, but depending on what the circumstances are it can spill out to other people, and be very dangerous," said Magee.
And as the two surviving victims recover, advocates hope that others at risk reach out for the help they need and avoid another tragedy.
The fundraiser to help cover funeral costs for Tonette Thomas will be held Saturday at the Reigning Life Family Church in Albany at 11 a.m. Dinners will be sold for $10 a plate. Organizers say they hope to raise at least $1,500 for the family.
Anyone needing information on how to deal with a domestic violence situation can call Equinox. Their hotline can be reached at (518) 432-7865.