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View Full Version : Help my MC escape from her abusive relationship!



kjarva
01-21-2013, 06:39 PM
Hey guys,

my female MC is a victim of domestic violence and I need a way for her to escape her husband. I need a way for her to 'die' so he won't come looking for her initially, believing she's dead. I did think drowning but it's far too sleeping with the enemy.

I also thought they could be in a car wreck with another passenger, the passenger would die, he'd be in a coma and she'd walk away. Only thing is that the police would never buy it, especially because they'd have dental identification done pretty quick.

My book is based in the UK, so earthquakes are out.. can anyone help me out on another way I can 'kill' her and keep the husband and police thinking she's dead for at least 6 months?

James simpson
01-21-2013, 07:21 PM
You could always have her take out vials of her blood for months until she has enough that it would be considered fatal if it was all found at once. Then one day when he is out have her mess the house up and empty all the blood in one location like over the bed. The police will consider it a murder because of the amount of blood. The only problem would be if someone sees her leave (that could be how he finds out later) or the police arresting him for 'killing' her.

mreilly19
01-21-2013, 08:01 PM
I'm an IT guy, not in law enforcement but I would think it would be very tricky to get the police to think she's dead without positive confirmation of the body (fingerprints, dental records, etc.) Even if there was a body found which seemed to be hers but they couldn't prove it, my guess is that it would still be an open case pending further details. I believe that for years after 9/11 here in the US there were people still considered "missing" even though they had obviously died in the terrorist attacks; their bodies hadn't been recovered. Of course that being said I'm sure the families as well as the police unofficially considered them dead.

Which brings me to my next point (and I admit it may sound a bit bloodthirsty): can you conjure up some sort of disaster which your MC could capitalize upon to insert herself into and then disappear? Let's say a jet crashes in a suburban area wiping out a strip mall; could she immediately leave a note at home for her husband stating she was going to be in such-and-such store in the strip mall, and then he comes home that night, finds the note and presumes her dead since the plane destroyed the entire block and she hasn't returned or called since? She could park her car around the block from the disaster and then vanish, so the police would find it later. Might sound a bit too convenient but hopefully it's an idea you might built upon.


Hey guys,

my female MC is a victim of domestic violence and I need a way for her to escape her husband. I need a way for her to 'die' so he won't come looking for her initially, believing she's dead. I did think drowning but it's far too sleeping with the enemy.

I also thought they could be in a car wreck with another passenger, the passenger would die, he'd be in a coma and she'd walk away. Only thing is that the police would never buy it, especially because they'd have dental identification done pretty quick.

My book is based in the UK, so earthquakes are out.. can anyone help me out on another way I can 'kill' her and keep the husband and police thinking she's dead for at least 6 months?

Buffysquirrel
01-21-2013, 08:09 PM
Anything that looks like foul play is going to get the police to investigate. If an adult goes missing and there's no immediate evidence that they've been murdered or abducted, say, the police will not prioritise an investigation into their whereabouts. Adults are allowed to go missing. But the point at which people try to escape these abusive relationships is when they're most likely to be murdered. So as soon as the police learn he's an abuser (eg from family, medical records, neighbours, previous girlfriends), they're going to be thinking homicide. Murder cases have been successfully prosecuted in the absence of a body, but they're much easier when you have one. So if they think the MC's been murdered, they'll look for her body.

OTOH, convincing the police she's been murdered by her husband will probably put him out of position to search for her, because he'll be in custody.

We've had some cases recently of 'believed dead' people turning up alive--notably the canoe case, although you say you don't want a drowning. And of course if she's in this controlling relationship, her sphere of action is going to be limited. She can't go off climbing in the mountains and conveniently disappear when there's an avalanche. And DNA testing means even badly damaged bodies can be identified.

I suppose if she is in the accident you describe, she could swap her identification with the dead woman's, then pull out some of her hair and take it home and wind it round a hairbrush or something, in the hope the police will use that for a DNA test to identify the passenger as her. But then you have to wonder what'll happen when the passenger's family report her missing.

Sarpedon
01-21-2013, 08:43 PM
If she can fly a plane she can Amelia Earhart herself.

Or skiing with an avalanche! they wouldn't expect to find the body till spring.

Or a suicide note, the cliffs of Dover, timed so the tides would drag the body out to sea. Dover's a classic spot for British suicides.

Or a trip to the Middle East, fake kidnapping, demands to release notable prisoner, followed by an execution video, if you want to get dramatic and don't mind involving MI6.

A visit to CERN with an 'accidental' disintegration!

ClareGreen
01-21-2013, 09:48 PM
Have you looked into ways that real people get out of abusive relationships? It's perfectly possible to vanish into the system, as a woman - it's a perennial problem, and there are organisations etc. to help.

If she absolutely has to seem to be dead for the story's sake, that's one thing, but there are shelters etc. for those who need the refuge to rebuild their lives.

melindamusil
01-21-2013, 11:42 PM
If you want a "dead without a body" scenario, think water. Perhaps someone sees her walk out into the ocean, but no one sees her return (she swam aways down the shore before coming out). Or even just, she went to the beach one day and never came home. Or you could have her go out in a boat (sailing, maybe?) - she gets off her boat and gets onto a friend's boat, and they find her empty boat floating a few days later.

She could also have a "friend" in the medical examiner's office who switches her records (dental/fingerprint/dna) for those of some homeless person, so that it looks like she died.

quickWit
01-21-2013, 11:50 PM
Aliens.



yeah, just let that wash over you a bit... :)

Debbie V
01-22-2013, 01:09 AM
Have you looked into ways that real people get out of abusive relationships? It's perfectly possible to vanish into the system, as a woman - it's a perennial problem, and there are organisations etc. to help.

If she absolutely has to seem to be dead for the story's sake, that's one thing, but there are shelters etc. for those who need the refuge to rebuild their lives.

My thoughts exactly. Forensics are so good today that they can tell how long blood has been out of the body, etc - decay rate, refrigeration, contamination. Also abusive spouses are very controlling. But it takes one phone call. Oprah did an episode on how women escaped - hiding money, help of a friend/family member, calls to hotlines. The support exists.

Faked deaths are much harder than they used to be. If you're not contemporary, you can get away with more.

When my kids are done with toys, those toys go to a shelter for women who have escaped Domestic Violence with their children run by the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (Long Island, New York.)

cbenoi1
01-22-2013, 01:10 AM
It would be easier for her to invest in a new identity and wait for the right moment to leave. If the husband notifies the police and the police finds out he's abusive, they'll suspect he murdered his wife and he's the one with the problem now. She could sprinkle her blood in the trunk of the hubby's car to make this scenario even more likely.

-cb

evilrooster
01-22-2013, 01:35 AM
Seconding the idea of faking a suicide. Call in a report of seeing someone jumping off of a bridge (from a pay phone or a pay as you go mobile), leave the car behind, leave the purse in the car.

She will have to have prepared the second life to step in to -- bank account whose statements go to a post office box, someplace to stay, yet another mobile, personal documents. It takes time to build up money in a separate account if all of your expenditures are checked; it takes patience to organize the duplicate documents so that the originals are left behind. Keeping that kind of organizational work secret means not having a checklist anywhere her husband can find it -- online would work. She'd have to use anonymous browsing, though, or clear cookies and history...

kuwisdelu
01-22-2013, 02:41 AM
Have you looked into ways that real people get out of abusive relationships? It's perfectly possible to vanish into the system, as a woman - it's a perennial problem, and there are organisations etc. to help.

If she absolutely has to seem to be dead for the story's sake, that's one thing, but there are shelters etc. for those who need the refuge to rebuild their lives.

I agree with this.

Why do the police have to believe she's dead?

In many ways, the hardest part of escaping can be making the decision to leave. There are much more believable ways for her to get away than faking her own death.

AKyber36
01-22-2013, 07:12 AM
That timing's gonna be tight, I would think. In some of the really abusive and controlling relationships, the man can spy on his wife from his computer, monitor her keystrokes, check her e-mail and instant message accounts, have camera surveillance on her around the clock, call every half hour or so to make sure that she's at home, ad nauseam. If she disappears, he'll be the kind to harass her friends and family - and he would know if he has her cell phone records - and some even start looking in the domestic violence shelters for their wives.

Case in point: http://www.ncdsv.org/images/Man%20Kills%20Wife%20in%20Domestic%20Violence%20Sh elter.pdf

If she does disappear, she would have to assume a new name, a new SSN, maybe even have plastic surgery or dye her hair. Some of these abusers are obsessive and downright scary, and would hunt her until they found her.

Kylabelle
01-22-2013, 10:55 AM
Hmm. Well, for what it's worth, I ran across this article earlier this evening and was riveted by it: http://www.xojane.com/family/what-my-mother-taught-me-about-the-eff-words-feminism-and-fear/

It's about a woman who helped many other women escape abusive situations. It does not go into a lot of detail about the women's lives afterward, but there might be something in here for you.

pkbax
01-28-2013, 12:31 AM
In many ways, the hardest part of escaping can be making the decision to leave. There are much more believable ways for her to get away than faking her own death.

So true! Victims of abuse usually have low self-esteem and don't believe they deserve better. The abuser will frequently have cut-off the victim from anyone who would be likely to boost that self-esteem, such as family or friends that were not his friends first. They are also likely to believe he means it when he says he'll never do it again, or they believe they brought the "punishment" on themselves. It takes a lot for them to finally say enough and decide to get out.

AKyber also has a good point that a very controlling abuser is likely to have a tight reign on the money and a close eye on any discrepancies in money given to her vs. money spent, her time, where she goes, etc. Organizing a fake death would take a lot of effort on her part.

Is it essential that he think she is dead? Or could your storyline work if it just takes him 6 months to find her?

ElaineA
01-28-2013, 04:06 AM
Aliens.



yeah, just let that wash over you a bit... :)

I'm sorry. It's just that THIS :e2point: resulted in THIS :roll: It seems inappropriate given the subject matter of this thread but, DAMN...that was funny.