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Specialist in domestic abuse talks about resources after the murder in Howard County

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Kokomo, Indiana – Pamela Hunter, 73, had a heartbreaking Christmas with her family this year.

The public can now learn more about her relationship with the man who is allegedly responsible for her death and the subsequent fire that day in her home.

As the smoke grew around Hunter, the neighbors had no idea that she was inside when they dialed 911. She had already passed away from blunt force trauma, not the fire.

Authorities soon had suspicions that 44-year-old Curtis Freeman—whom neighbors claim Hunter was letting live with her—was at fault. Recently made public court records now show that Freeman told police he had beaten Hunter to death after altering his account of events a few times.

“Pam spoke to us and said she was afraid of him,” one neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, recalled on Dec. 27.

Hunter told a family member and at least one neighbor that Freeman had become violent in the months before she was killed. Plus, more than once, Freeman threatened to kill Hunter and burn the house down “before he would ever leave.”

“For him to say that – that’s very disturbing, very disturbing indeed,” Cheryl Pittmon, a case manager for the Family Service Association of Howard County, said. “Because sometimes they won’t tell you, and then they’ll do it.”

According to Pittmon, this anecdote emphasizes how critical it is to get assistance if you ever witness warning signs or acts of violence at home.

“If you have a feeling in your gut that something’s not right, don’t push that to the side,” Pittmon added.

Since you can never be sure when or if things will get out of hand. After a fight with Hunter, Freeman told the police he was upset and lost control. “I think I hit her too hard the second time,” he added.

The charges state that he then remained with her body for two days before putting gasoline on an outlet and starting the fire.

“Some people might feel like, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t get involved.’ Yes, you should. Because someone’s life could be depending on that,” Pittmon said. “The hardest thing sometimes is to be a friend of someone that you know is in a domestic violence situation and they’re not ready to leave – but don’t leave them.”

A family member of Hunter’s remembered a moment when, out of concern for her safety, she was thinking about checking into a women’s shelter. However, Pittmon claims that a lot of the time, people are unaware of the options that are accessible to them, and loved ones are unsure of how to best assist. To help organizations like the Family Service Association assist victims in finding refuge and support before it’s too late, she urges anyone with questions to get in touch.

“Even if it might be difficult, it might be uncomfortable – let them know that you will always be there because you never know when you’re going to get that phone call, and the individual says, ‘I’m ready to go now,’” Pittmon said. “I wish that she could’ve reached out to us.”

The Family Service Association of Howard County provides a 28-bed facility to victims of domestic abuse who need refuge. The organization is open twenty-four hours a day. Survivors are allowed to remain there for a month while case managers assist them in developing a plan for permanent housing, attending support groups, and getting legal assistance as needed. Call 765-868-3154 for more details about all the programs they provide.

 

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