FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Officials are asking the community to speak up against abuse after two separate domestic violence homicides took the lives of two young Clovis mothers.
“I went to the front door and opened it and it was my grandson pounding on the door to say his dad had killed his mother,” said Eleanor Richards whose daughter died near Los Altos and Bliss. “I couldn’t process it. It didn’t make sense to me. We were so happy 20 minutes ago.”
On October 7, Eleanor was in her home waiting for her daughter, 38-year-old Anna Richards-Anderson and her 8-year-old grandson to come back from the fair.
Eleanor said when the two arrived home, Anna spotted her abusive 40-year-old husband Cory Anderson.
Anna told her son an escape word, he opened the car door, rolled out, and hid in the bushes in front of the home
Police investigators said that is when Cory killed Anna, took off to another home, and ultimately killed himself.
“So, it took my grandson, 8.5 years old, to say that his mom was gone,” said Eleanor. “He needed me to be his mom. And that was one of the first questions he asked me. Will you be my mom?”
Anna worked as a pre-school teacher for Clovis Unified for close to 20 years, touching the lives of nearly everyone she came across.
Anna tried to get away from Cory. She filed for divorce, got a restraining order against him, and used the Marjaree Mason Center services.
“Anna Richards story is not uncommon in Fresno,” said Fresno District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp. “Domestic violence is a cancer that is plaguing our community and it has been worsened by the pandemic.”
This is the second domestic violence-related homicide in Clovis within a month span. Back at the end of September, Police said 37-year-old Antonio Saldana shot and killed his wife, 33-year-old Lisa Saldana, injured another man, and then shot himself. Antonio is still in the hospital and his wife was in the process of getting a restraining order before the incident.
With a rise in domestic violence-related cases, Clovis Police Chief Curt Flemming asked the community to reach out for mental health services and report abuse if you see it.
“Each of us play a roll in our communities where we need to stand up when we see this occurring,” said Flemming. “And help these victims get out of these dangerous relationships.
Anna’s mother asks people to do a good deed each day in honor of her daughter. If you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone you can contact the 24-hour Marjaree Mason Center’s crisis hotline at 559-233-4357.