OAK GROVE, Mo. -- "It's terrifying. I'm worried that if I don't get help soon he's literally going to kill me."
Strong words from a young woman so concerned about her safety, after being ignored by law enforcement, that she called a TV station for help.
Brianna Fultz is worried about her ex-boyfriend, Danny Blazer. He’s already been convicted of assaulting her. Now, the 23-year-old said he’s repeatedly threatening her to do more.
She showed FOX4 the Facebook messages:
"I' am going to beat you for all the s**t you have caused me. Then I am going to shoot you in the face. Try to go to police because they won't do s**t."
"I will make you disappear. This isn't going to end well."
She said she contacted police near her home in Oak Grove, but they wouldn’t even take a report.
She also tried reporting Balzer to his probation officer since he had a court order not to have contact with her. The probation officer told she need more proof than just the Facebook messages, which didn’t include his photo.
"I feel I need help," Fultz said. "I can't get help."
It’s a common refrain in the world of domestic violence where victims never feel safe because of a legal system that seems designed to thwart every cry for help.
"This is not unusual," said KaMille Washington, a manager Rose Brooks Center for Domestic Violence in Kansas City.
"When it's verbal or when it's harassment, it's not taken as seriously as seeing a black eye or a cut or bleeding," Washington said. "But it as just as detrimental, and it can be just as lethal."
Add to that a complicated justice system that often leaves domestic assault victims in legal limbo.
For example, Fultz has a no-contact order in Lafayette County where her ex was convicted of assaulting her. That order doesn’t apply to any other county, including neighboring Jackson County where she now lives.
What Brianna really needs is an order of protection – that’s enforced statewide. Brianna said she tried to get one, but court records show no one could find her ex to serve him.
“I saw that. I literally started bawling my eyes out,” she said.
What Fultz was never told is that she should hire a private process server. It would have cost her about $100, but they are far more aggressive at tracking people down.
You need someone aggressive because it’s easy for perpetrators to escape justice by simply moving to a different county or to a neighboring state.
Fultz’s ex regularly moves between Kansas and Missouri. He has convictions in both states, including assault and stalking.
Despite the barriers, there are things that could and should have been done to help Fultz.
Problem Solvers talked to an Oak Grove police captain who said a report should have been taken when Fultz first complained about the threats. That report provides both police and Fultz with documentation of problems with her ex.
Shortly after FOX4 talked to the captain, he contacted Fultz and asked her to file a new complaint. She did.
Problem Solvers also called the Probation Department to find out why they didn’t move to revoke her ex-boyfriend’s probation after Brianna showed them the messages.
They said her probation officer felt there wasn’t enough proof Balzer had sent them, and the probation officer said Balzer denied sending them. FOX4 also reached out to Balzer several times, but we never heard back.
But domestic violence experts tell FOX4 the probation officer should still have taken action – not ignored Fultz. He should have referred the case to a judge
and let the judge decide whether a crime had been committed.
“If someone doesn't enforce this, that sends a message to the person that's committed the crime or the abuse: 'Oh, I can get away with this,'" Washington said.
If you are a domestic violence victim, there is help. Every courthouse has a victim’s advocate whose job is to help you navigate the system.
After Problem Solvers got involved in Fultz’s case, a warrant was issued for her ex’s arrest on a probation violation charge. However, that was nearly two months ago, and it’s never been served. We’ll keep checking.