Angelina’s story on domestic violence

This article contains information on domestic violence and sexual assault. If you or someone you know is being abused, you can call National helpline on domestic violence at 800-799-7233 for free 24/7 support. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 for confidential support.

EAU CLAIRE, Wisconsin – A Wisconsin native who has lost both parents to domestic violence shares her story, in hopes others will learn of the loss of her family.

Data shows that every five days, someone in Wisconsin dies from causes related to domestic violence.

Angelina Schnook grew up in the Eau Claire neighborhood. Asked about her mother, she took a big, deep breath as a smile grew on her face.

“My mom… she was such an amazing person,” Schnook said.

Her mother, Karie Lantz, was her best friend.

Karie held two jobs for most of Schnook’s childhood, most notably at Pizza Hut.

“In college, I actually worked at Pizza Hut as a part-time waitress,” Schnook said. “And honestly, I did it to get a free pizza and so we could work together.”

Karie was involved in all the children’s activities. Schnook has no idea how she had so much time and energy.

His father Dean Lantz provided everything he could for Schnook and his four siblings.

“He worked more than 70 hours a week; he did construction, landscaping, snow removal, and then he did odd jobs, ”she said. “Every trip we took cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. I did figure skating; my older brothers played hockey. My younger brother played traveling soccer. That’s a lot of money. It had to come from somewhere. And it comes from my father.

In 2017, Dean and Karie had been separated for about two years. Dean seemed to move on, he was engaged to someone else. But by the time Karie finally filed for divorce papers, something seemed to change about Dean.

“Just the obsessive, controlling, semi-stalker behavior,” Schnook said. “Although this is new and we had never seen it before, it was more dangerous than we thought.”

In February 2017, Dean shot and killed Karie, then himself.

“It’s not just losing my mother and mother figure, it’s… I lost my best friend,” Schnook said. “We talked every day. We saw each other two, three times a week. We went to the gym together; we did crafts together. My sister was in college at the time, so she still had all of these activities that we went to together. So I lost that part of me.

To say their children were shocked would be an understatement. While Dean seemed to have experienced some sort of mental health issue very recently before they died, he had never, ever been violent. In addition, he had never owned a gun.

But as Schnook became more and more involved in advocacy, she got the chance to discuss her parents’ case with police officers and lawyers. She realized that some of the signs were there, and her family just didn’t know how serious they could be, or what to do about them.

“There’s no way she didn’t know her life was in danger. She just didn’t know how to relate my dad’s behavior to, that’s where it could lead, ”Schnook said.

Angelina has been involved in domestic violence awareness work through End Abuse Wisconsin.

She was able to see the Eau Claire emergency response team, which involves people from law enforcement and social services. They come together to discuss how they can best work together to spot these situations before they become life-threatening.

They also worked on what’s called a lethality assessment. It’s an 11-question way for police to determine if conditions could lead to a homicide for domestic violence.

Schnook said everyone should be on the lookout for these signs because it could save a life. Even several lifetimes.

“My dad could have gotten the help he needed,” she says. “My goal isn’t just, could I have saved my mother?” In fact, we could have saved them both.

Since the death of their parents, Schnook and her husband have raised her younger sister Breanna. She is now in college studying photography in Colorado, where Schnook and her husband now live.

Domestic violence doesn’t always look like it is in the movies, with one partner physically hurting another.

End Abuse Wisconsin has a directory of places to go for help with domestic violence. You can find it here.

If someone you love seems to need help with mental health, This is a good place to start. If they threaten violence or show signs of violence, of course call 911.

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