Even after seeking help through the legal system, two women in Harris County were killed by their significant others this year in unrelated cases.
Chi Le, 29, was found dead in a freezer in May after her family said they had not been able to get in touch with her for several days.
In a document filed by the district attorney's office, Le reportedly posted that if she went missing, it would be Curtis Holliday responsible for her murder.
"Guess what? She was right," victim's right advocate Andy Kahan said. "It was a tragedy, and yet it was so utterly preventable because the signals were sent out galore and we sat and did nothing."
Holliday was charged with continuous family violence in January for two incidents in 2019. He was released on a $30,000 bond and Le was granted a protective order.
Even though he was ordered to stay away from Le, Holliday reportedly did not and was charged with violating the protective order in May, according to a charging document.
The Harris County Sheriff's office executed a search warrant at his place of business on May 2 and found her body in a freezer. Court records indicate she was likely murdered on April 3.
The medical examiner's office lists her cause of death as homicidal violence.
Holliday was subsequently charged with her murder in July.
The same week he was charged, Kimberly Robinson, 28, was shot to death by her ex-boyfriend, according to the Harris County Sheriff's office.
Cedgadrick Harris, 24, is charged with her murder. Authorities said he kicked in the door of her apartment and shot Robinson and her 4-year-old daughter as they laid in bed together at 4:20 a.m.
Court records show Robinson pressed an assault charge against Harris in November of 2019 and she was given a protective order at the time. He was given a $3,000 bond and was released. Harris was arrested on a seemingly unrelated charge of tampering with a government document in April of 2020 and was released from jail in May. July 16 is when Harris is accused of killing Robinson.
"A protective order can be an incredibly important tool as part of your tool belt for your safety plan, but it does not prevent you from getting killed and that is unfortunately what we saw in this case," said president and CEO of the Houston Area Women's Center Emilee Whitehurst.
Whitehurst said when someone experiencing domestic violence gets to the point where they are reaching out for help, it ends up being the most dangerous time for them.
"If the abuser gets a notion that the person they are in a relationship with is asserting their independence and autonomy, that can feel very threatening to an abuser," Whitehurst said. "It is important that someone wanting to get out of that situation has a safety plan."
Kahan said there is a "bond pandemic" taking place in Harris County. He is now keeping a list of people murdered by an offender released on bond by judges in Harris County.
"We need to do better," Kahan said. "People in Harris County deserve better and elected officials, community safety people, law enforcement, we all need to do better. We need to start looking at what can we do to protect the Chi Le, Kimberly Robinsons and the 40 some odd people who have paid the price under the criminal justice and bond reform."
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Advocates say partners in Harris Co. are being killed after offenders get bond