Burlington murder victim’s mom urges domestic abuse sufferers: take refuge now
The mother of a woman whose relationship ended in her death implores others trapped in abusive situations to seek assistance, before another life is wasted.
Christina Domans and Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina jointly issued the plea as the case develops in the death of Felicia Domans.
Her significant other, Laura Bluestein, is charged with murder, a weapons offense and evidence tampering, for the August 6 incident in Mount Holly.
The full text of their message follows:
"Felicia Dormans and Laura Bluestein were going through difficult times and had been discussing a separation when Laura fatally shot Felicia in their Mount Holly home on August 6.
Earlier that day, Felicia told her mother during a phone conversation that she and Laura had been arguing, and her mother urged her to leave the house. It was the last time that Christina Dormans ever spoke to her daughter.
Felicia had previously informed her mother that her relationship with Laura had become abusive. Christina now wishes she had been more insistent that her daughter leave the residence, and is encouraging anyone in a similar situation to reach out for assistance.
"People in abusive relationships are not trapped. They do not have to stay there," Christina Dormans said. "If you are in that kind of situation, please know that there is a way to get out before it gets to a point where somebody loses a life."
Bluestein, 28, has been charged with Murder (First Degree), Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Second Degree) and Tampering with Evidence (Fourth Degree). The case is being prepared for presentation to a Burlington County Grand Jury.
A funeral was held on Monday for Felicia, who would have turned 30 in October. She will also be remembered at an upcoming vigil known as the Burlington County Silent Witness Project, which pays tribute to fatal victims of domestic violence and also honors survivors. There were 61,659 domestic violence offenses reported to police in New Jersey in 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available. The number of offenses represents a 1 percent decrease compared to the prior year. However, the number of domestic violence-related homicides rose by 7, to 49.
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said his Office is committed to prosecuting domestic violence offenders. He, too, urged those who are in abusive situations to take advantage of the resources that are available.
"Our hearts go out to the Dormans family and we deeply appreciate Christina Dormans' willingness to speak out at this most difficult time and encourage victims of domestic violence to seek help," Prosecutor Coffina said. "If anything good can come from Felicia's tragic death, it would be for anyone caught in an abusive relationship to realize that resources are available to them, and to seek help before it is too late. I understand the fear that comes with reaching out for help. It is a very brave step, and it is crucial in order to escape a violent situation. There is immediate assistance available to those who are being abused, as well as their family members."
In Burlington County, help for victims of domestic abuse and their children is provided free of charge by Providence House. The organization emphasizes that services are offered regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
Providence House can be reached through a 24-hour hotline at 1-877-871-7551 or 609871-7551. They can be found online at https://www.catholiccharitiestrenton.org/domesticviolence-services/
Christina Dormans is hopeful that her daughter's death serves as a warning for those who are presently being abused by a spouse or intimate partner.
She plans to volunteer her time at a non-profit organization near her home in Pennsylvania that offers services to domestic violence victims.
"If I can save someone else's life, then that is what I want to try to do," she said. "I don't want to see someone else go through this. Felicia was a beautiful person and my best friend. I miss her so much. She kept saying 'Maybe we can work it out,' and I just kept telling her to come home."