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Phoenix mother’s loss sparks movement to end teen dating violence

LISTEN: Phoenix mother's loss sparks movement to end teen dating violence

PHOENIX — Teenage victims of domestic violence are often overlooked, yet researchers have found that 47 percent of Arizona children between the ages of 13 to 18 have been in or have known a teenager in an abusive relationship.

One Phoenix mother suffers through the pain and reality of teen domestic violence on a daily basis. Bobbi Sudberry recalls the last conversation she ever had with her 17-year-old daughter Kaity.

“‘Have a great day and I love you,’ I tell her and she told me…‘I love you too mom,'” Sudberry said.

January 28, 2008 turned into a nightmare that Bobbie never woke from. While at work, she received an alarming call from her other daughter.

“She says, ‘Momma there’s six cop cars outsidem and I don’t know what’s going on,’ and I said ‘Okay, well is your sister home?'” Sudberry said.

When her daughter answered no, Bobbi rushed out of her office panicked. Earlier that week, Kaity’s ex-boyfriend had threatened to kill her. Bobbi’s fear turned into a lifetime of pain and loss when she arrived home.

“The detectives walked over and they told us that our daughter was one of the victims and of course, hoping beyond hope, I asked, ‘Is she going to be okay? Can we see her?’ and they said, ‘No mam, she’s deceased,'” Sudberry said.

Kaity’s ex-boyfriend had been physically and verbally abusive to her throughout their relationship. When Kaity broke up with the boy, he became obsessed and possessive.

Throughout the week leading up to Kaity’s murder, the boy had assaulted her several times on their high school campus. That day he made the decision to follow her home.

“He came up from behind her out of the alley and he had a shotgun in a duffle bag,” Sudberry explained.

Police believe an altercation took place between the two teenagers. Eventually, Kaity began to run from the boy. When he caught up with her, the boy shot and killed Kaity then took his own life.

Since that day, Bobbi and her husband have devoted their lives to ending domestic violence in teen relationships.

“We were astonished to find out that adults and parents didn’t even realize that teen dating violence was an issue,” she said.

They eventually started an organization called Kaity’s Way. Their mission is to help teens get out of violent and abusive relationships.

Every day, Bobbi relives the nightmare of her daughter’s murder. She said she hopes that sharing Kaity’s story might save the life of another teen.

“It’s a bitter sweet type of thing.” Sudberry said. “I’m glad that it’s available for everybody out there that is in a dating relationship. I just wish that my daughter were here to benefit from it too.”

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