By Ed Brock
Riverdale police are searching for a suspect in the fatal stabbing of a man and woman early Monday.
The killing may be related to an ongoing case of domestic violence and comes at a time when the city of Riverdale is hoping to hire an extra officer to focus on those kind of cases.
Officers responded to a disturbance call around 3 a.m. Monday at the Wren's Crossing apartment of Rashae Alicia Morgan, 20, and found her bleeding to death from multiple stab wounds in the apartment's entryway. They found a man, whose name was not released on Monday, stabbed to death in the bedroom.
During the day officers were looking for 21-year-old Christopher Durr, Morgan's ex-boyfriend with whom she had a history of domestic violence. In mid-afternoon a canine unit was called to the complex to search for a man seen coming out of a shed with bloody hand wrapped in a towel.
Durr and Morgan's two children, a 2-year-old and a 10-month-old, were also in the apartment. They were taken to the Department of Family and Children Services and a hearing was held in Clayton County Juvenile Court to determine if the children would be placed with Morgan's relatives.
"We always look for relatives in a case like this," said DFCS Director Cathy Ratti.
The results of that hearing were unavailable Monday evening.
The Riverdale Police Department has applied for a federal grant from the Department of Justice that would supply the salary for an officer who would focus on follow up investigations in aggravated assaults related to domestic violence, Riverdale Police Chief Thetus Knox said.
"We had a slight increase in domestic violence in Riverdale over a period of time," Knox said. "It wasn't substantial ... but any increase is a big increase for us."
Knox said they will know by August if the department will receive the grant for a little less than $30,000. She did not have more details about the grant.
Women in abusive relationships shouldn't hesitate to call for help, said Tanika Nicholas, program coordinator for the Securus House shelter for victims of abuse in Clayton County.
"We're going to be the best resource they have to connect to services in the community," Nicholas said.
The shelter can help women leave the relationship safely, even helping them to relocate when necessary. Statistically the chance of the abusive partner killing the victim goes up when the victim leaves, Nicholas said.
Planning for a safe escape is essential, Nicholas said. A temporary protective order that restricts the abuser from having contact with the victim is not always effective.
"The TPO is just a piece of paper," Nicholas said. "When people make up their mind that they're going to harm somebody, they're going to do it."
Securus House's emergency help line is (770) 961-7233 or those in need of help can call 1-800-33-HAVEN.