Police still looking for woman brutally attacked outside New Orleans hotel

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by Jaclyn Kelley / WWLTV

KMOV.com

Posted on August 19, 2013 at 10:14 AM

The New Orleans Police Department is still trying to find out if a woman is okay after a man beat her unconscious outside a local Holiday Inn Friday morning.

The violent attack was all caught on the hotel's surveillance cameras. Police arrested the suspect, Elvin Terrell, 35, when he turned himself in Saturday afternoon.

"Domestic violence is often hidden behind closed doors. We don't often see it on video, I mean we don't often see it," said Mary Claire Landry, the Executive Director of the New Orleans Family Justice Center.

Yet, in shocking hotel security footage we see first hand the brutality battered women suffer at the hands of their attackers.

"For it to become this violent publicly, I have a lot of concerns for her safety," said Landry.

Now police want to know what happened after the man in the video, now identified as Elvin Terrell, drove off with the unconscious woman.

At the very least, investigators say they know the woman is alive after briefly talking to her on the phone, but police still do not know the extent of her injuries or if she received medical attention.

That is because she is not cooperating with investigators and Landry says that is not uncommon.

"I suspect that she is distrustful of just about everybody, she is not sure who to trust and where to turn," said Landry.

Among the handful of charges Terrell now faces is domestic second-degree battery, but some wonder why it is not attempted murder. Tulane law professor and director of the domestic violence clinic Tania Tetlow says there is reason for that.

"It may depend, in part, if there is serious bodily injury to the victim and they need to interview her to establish that," said Tetlow.

Then there is the unclaimed 6-year-old boy, who is now in protective custody after being left alone in the hotel room. Tetlow says a shared child is one of the many reasons it is difficult to escape a violent relationship.

"The overwhelming threat is that if you leave, the judge is going to give unsupervised access to the child," said Tetlow.

But Tetlow says it is a catch-22 because it is considered kidnapping if a battered mother tries to disappear with her child, and she says leaving is already the riskiest move.

"Most of the victims who are killed in domestic violence cases, they are not the ones who stayed, they are the ones who left," said Tetlow.

The United States Centers for disease control and prevention estimates that 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetime and experts say it is one of the lead causes of death in women.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, help is just a phone call away. The 24-hour crisis hotline number is 504-866-9554.

 

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