REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - Pain and torment are now constant companions for Martin Castro, after the murder of the person he held closest, his daughter Karina.
"Some days I wake up, and I can’t get out of bed. And some days I get up, and I try to be normal, and I’m good for a couple of hours. But then I’m in the car crying," he said.
A little over a year ago, Karina Castro was killed when her estranged boyfriend allegedly beheaded her with a sword. Her death, which is tied to domestic violence, was a precursor of a growing problem this year.
"We had a special Domestic Violence Council meeting. And we created a task force," said Noelia Corzo, the Dist. 2 representative on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
She said the newly-created Domestic Violence Task Force is in response to a spate of crimes. So far this year, all five homicides in the county are linked to domestic violence.
"I think this issue is worth treating like the emergency it is. And we do not want to see not one more death because of domestic violence in our community," said Corzo.
The most recent case-in-point was the murder of 49-year-old Grace Marie Kelly.
Investigators responding to her home Sept. 6 in Daly City said they found her shot twice, and dead in her basement. Her boyfriend, Aubrey Avery was arrested and is charged with her murder.
"When I found out, it was really shocking. I was upset. I was shocked. My family, my mom, my grandma and grandfather that were in the home when it took place, they were all upset as well," said Elizabeth Quiroz, Kelly’s niece.
Corzo’s recently-created task force has nine people so far, representing various aspects of county government.Her goal is to create a network of services so that people in situations of domestic violence don’t fall through the cracks, and possibly lose their lives.
"When a survivor is in that small window of time where they want to change something, and they are seeking safety, that the resources be available immediately so that they can do that. And that they have a path out," said Corzo. Added Quiroz, "If she was aware of her situation, or she felt like she was safe. If she had somewhere to talk to, or someone to talk to, or resources to reach out to, it probably would have went down a different path."
And in response to the creation of the task force, Martin Castro said, "If the task force can prevent anything, I’m for it. I just hope that they would follow through."
The county’s Domestic Violence Committee meets Oct. 12. The task force holds its first meeting later that same month. Supervisor Corzo said she not only wants the nine experts and county leaders, but is also recruiting members who have "lived experience" dealing with domestic violence.
Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter), @JesseKTVU and on Instagram, @jessegontv