Domestic Violence expert weighs in on murder of pregnant woman

Suspect Emilio Calderon
Suspect Emilio Calderon

Deputies now believe a man who was pursuing a pregnant Jefferson Parish woman killed her because he wasn't the father of her unborn child. Investigators say 29-year-old Emilio Calderon stalked Katherine Martinez in the months leading up to her murder.

Detectives say Calderon killed Martinez, 23, on June 7 after a fight in her Terrytown home.

"He has confessed to the stabbing and the strangulation of her," Sheriff Newell Normand says of Calderon.

Mary Claire Landry runs the New Orleans Family Justice Center.

"We see 1,200 survivors every year and probably 80 to 90 percent report some type of choking or strangulation in the relationship," Landry said. "For women who die in pregnancy, domestic violence is the number one cause."

Sheriff Normand says Calderon and Martinez had an on-and-off relationship. In recent months, officers say Calderon stalked Martinez through social media sites.

"He had created a fictitious name to try to gain knowledge about her whereabouts and what she was doing on a daily basis," said Normand.

Martinez never called police or filed any complaints. It's something Landry says she should've done.

"I think it's hard for victims to understand - this is someone who would really harm me, this is someone who would kill me and my baby," Landry explained.

Within the past month, the sheriff says Calderon learned he wasn't the father of the baby girl Martinez carried. She was in her third trimester. This, investigators believe, is what set him off.

"Jealousy is a huge risk factor in these situations," Landry said.

After Martinez was killed, her body wasn't discovered for 12 hours. Landry wants women to know there are places for them to turn like the New Orleans Family Justice Center and other shelters. She says it's important to pay attention to warning signs, even if it's not physical violence.

Emilio Calderon will be charged with second degree murder and first degree feticide. He's currently being held in a Jefferson Parish jail.

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