Teen dating violence goes undetected by parents putting child In danger

PHOENIX - Thirty-three percent of young people admit to knowing someone in a violent relationship, one in five say it's them.

But the most shocking statistic from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention may be that 80 percent of parents don't realize the danger their child is in.

Bobbi Sudberry of Phoenix knows that all too well. Her daughter Kaity, a senior at Moon Valley High School was killed by her former boyfriend who was waiting outside her home after school in 2008. .

"He was laying in wait. She took off and ran to the next door neighbor's house and he caught up with her. He pulled out a shotgun from a duffle bag and shot her and then shot himself," says Sudberry. 

Sudberry says the relationship didn't start out violent, in fact Daniel Byrd seemed to be a nice boy, at first.

"He was a nice kid, very polite, mannerly, treated her very special," Sudberry says.

But six months into the relationship that all changed.

"He became very possessive and jealous ... demanding and verbally abusive ... emotionally abusive, too, trying to isolate her. Wanting her to himself always," remembers Sudberry.
 
Sudberry says she tried to educate Kaity on what a healthy relationship looked like. When Kaity realized the relationship was becoming too dangerous for her is when she ended it.

Unfortunately at that time in Arizona there weren't many laws to help keep Daniel away from Kaity.

As part of the healing process, Sudberry has helped pass Kaity's Law in Arizona.

"It's real simple," says Sudberry. "Those in dating relationships now have protection under the domestic violence statute 13-3601 so long as it's romantic or sexual in nature. Basically the protection you can get is the officer with or without a warrant can arrest the person who has committed the offense and an order of protection can now be obtained, something that we were not able to get. There is a three strikes provision of the law. It can be pled down to a misdemeanor and often is, but the third time is an absolute felony and that includes incarceration and 26 weeks of DV counseling."

The law was named after Kaity and Bobbi believes it would have saved her daughter's life if it was in affect when she was trying to distance herself from Daniel. 

Bobbi has also started a website called Kaity'sWay.org . where parents can help teach their children how to strive for healthy relationships and right choices in seeking PEACE.

"PEACE for us is Patience, Empathy, Acceptance, Caring and Equality," Sudberry says.

Kaity's been gone five years now, but a day doesn't go by that Bobbi doesn't think of her daughter.

Sudberry says, "All the time... all the time... and I feel this is something she would have wanted me to do."  
 

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