HOUSTON – A 58-year-old man was charged in the murder of his 29-year-old wife, who investigators found dead inside a commercial freezer in Houston. Community leaders are calling for more to be done to help domestic violence survivors, who are suffering from violent partners that may be out on bond.
Harris County Sheriff’s deputies said Curtis Allen Holliday killed his wife, Chi Thi Lien Le, who has been missing since April 3. Holliday, who has been in a Harris County jail since May 5, after being charged with violating a bond for a protective order and continuous violence against a family member, was interviewed by investigators in connection to his wife’s disappearance.
“Her death was a tragedy, yet it was so utterly preventable,” said Andy Kahan, the Director of Victim Services and Advocacy for Crime Stoppers.
Tracking Cases Down
Kahan has been tracking this case and dozens of cases like this in hopes to advocate for the victims of these crimes.
According to Kahan, Chi Le was at least the 34th victim in the last two years who has been murdered by a defendant out on felony bond and who had violated the conditions on that bond.
“That is a public safety nightmare,” he said.
Kahan said too many times, a person is harmed or killed by their violent spouse or partner, who is out on bond and perhaps even broke bond conditions.
“It was right by the book. [Le] told authorities, ‘If I disappear, my husband Holliday, is responsible for my disappearance,’ and she still ended up dead,” he said.
Domestic violence amid a pandemic
Kahan said the pandemic is a concern for domestic violence survivors, who may not have a way to leave or seek resources for a potentially dangerous situation.
“You’re almost trapped in an environment that’s designed to cause violence to begin with,” he said.
Houston Police said their data, though, shows the numbers of domestic violence-related murders from the first half of the year through June are actually down from last year. However, there have been several incidents across the area in July.
Friday morning, there was a deadly shooting in Barker Cypress. Thursday, there was a murder-suicide at a Valero in North Harris County. Saturday, another murder-suicide in Baytown.
Last Friday, there was a mother shot dead and a daughter shot and injured in Upper Kirby.
Khan said more needs to be done to protect these victims from spouses who are out on felony bonds. He also said there needs to be punishment for those who violate bond conditions.
“We’ve been looking at these cases. We’ve been watching cases like this, and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
Anyone seeking domestic violence resources can visit: www.crime-stoppers.org/domestic-violence/