Columbus mother raising awareness of domestic violence after daughter’s death

Updated: Jun. 1, 2019 at 12:17 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - It’s a constant effort to reduce domestic violence across Georgia and nationwide, but many of those incidents go unreported while some ending tragically.

Michelle Virgin says she lost her daughter, Destinee Virgin, eight months ago to suspected domestic violence.

“We are losing our loved ones left and right behind domestic violence,” says Virgin. “Love each other and stop killing each other.”

Her daughter’s death sparked her to create Destinee's Peace. It’s an effort to raise awareness to combat domestic violence.

“We need to band together as a community, and we need to fight against this. We need to bring awareness and bring this to the light,” Virgin explains.

She says another case hit home after one of her former co-workers, 34-year-old DeAnn King was stabbed multiple times on Dorsey Drive during Memorial Day Weekend. King’s husband Marcus King is facing charges in her murder.

“It just breaks it in pieces all over again not only because I knew her, but because this is happening more and more in Columbus and it seems like it’s being swept up under the rug,” Virgin explains.

She says a late May court appearance in the case of her daughter has led to the suspect, Markel Irvin, now with a bond and a ruling pending the incorporation of evidence. She says she calling on the community to offer their thoughts on the number of domestic violence cases shaking the Fountain City.

“I just want the community to be aware that we’re letting out convicted felons. What do you all have to say about this? If this was your family member, would you want this man out on the streets?”

Georgia ranks eighth in the country for the number of women killed due to domestic violence.

“We don’t know all of this until we get there and when we get there, that’s when we learn it. Sometimes it’s so heightened that the situation is so volatile that it changes in a split second. So we have to be ready for that change and during that change sometimes it can become a deadly situation,” says Lt.Joyce-Dent Fitzpatrick with the Columbus Police Department.

According to Columbus police reports, in May there have been at least two homicides stemming from domestic disputes. Muscogee County is ranked No. 2 outside of metro Atlanta for the number of domestic-related homicides in the state, according to Lindsey Reis with Hope Harbor.

Virgin says she’s planning to hold a memorial service for those victims in late June.

“Love does not hurt. Love does not hurt,” says Virgin.

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