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East Texas couple opens domestic violence safe house in remembrance of late daughter

A couple in Harrison County has turned their tragic loss into a resource for the community.

MARSHALL, Texas — October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four women and one in seven men will experience violence at the hands of their partner. It's something two local educators know all too well. 

Heather’s House is a safe haven dedicated to Heather Mouton. She was a 37-year-old woman who was violently killed while in an abusive relationship.  

Her father, Tracy Andrus, remembers it like it was yesterday. 

"The first time I knew about her having problems with her husband is when I got the telephone call that she was dead," he said.

According to the Crowley Police Department in Louisiana, Heather was lying on the couch when her estranged husband broke into her home and shot her twice in the head — right in front of her children. She left behind three children and two devastated parents.

Tracy and his wife decided to channel their pain into something positive by helping others escape abusive environments.

Credit: Shandel Menezes

They were very intentional when choosing the location for Heather’s House. They wanted a place where guests couldn't be found unless they wanted to be.

 "Get out, the couple said. "There are opportunities of help for you, but a closed mouth doesn’t get fed."

Many of those resources for help are listed on domesticshelters.org. Heather’s House will be listed there this week. 

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