NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Two pregnant women have been brutally murdered in our area just this week.
Qiana Elzie says her 21-year-old cousin, Raven Veal, was murdered the night before her due date.
"She was 9 months pregnant. She was going to deliver the baby the next day after the incident happened," said Elzie.
But, instead of welcoming a baby boy into the world, you'll now find a memorial on General Meyer and Sullen Place in Algiers where Veal died. The NOPD hasn't identified a suspect in the case. But, according to a preliminary police report, witnesses heard the victim arguing with a man in a car. They then heard 4 to 5 gunshots and saw the victim trying to get away. Witnesses told police the suspect ran over her, then backed up and ran over her again. The NOPD says the pregnant victim's 3-year-old daughter was with her at the time. The little girl was taken to the hospital for minor injuries. Police say they recovered the car used in the crime.
"We're doing horrible and we're just asking the public to just please come out and say something, we don't need you to tell us what happened, we just need a description so we will be able to put him behind bars where he belongs at, because he's a monster, if he would do that to her being pregnant, no telling what else he'll do," said Elzie.
Monday in Old Jefferson, there was another horrific crime. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office says Jatory Evans murdered his ex-girlfriend, Sydney Hanson, who was 7 months pregnant with their baby girl and also killed her parents, Dwayne and Samantha Hanson. The Hanson family got a restraining order against Evans just days before they were murdered. The Sheriff says he believes Evans set his ex-girlfriend on fire, underneath her body, he says investigators found that restraining order against him.
Eva Lessinger is with the New Orleans Family Justice Center, a non-profit dedicated to ending family and domestic violence.
"Louisiana is ranked number two in the nation for homicides of women by a male," said Lessinger.
Lessinger says violence can get worse when a woman is pregnant.
"One of the things that we always ask folks as part of our assessment of lethality is whether there's been violence during pregnancy because we know that that is a high-risk factor and highly correlated with homicide," said Lessinger.
Now, Veal's family just wants whoever is responsible for her murder caught and taken off the streets.
"My cousin suffered and if it was your family member you would want justice too so please somebody speak out please," said Elzie.
Lessinger says while getting court intervention is an option, victims should find a safe way to talk to someone who can help.
You can call the New Orleans Family Justice Center for help at (504) 592-4005 or you can call their 24 hour crisis line at (504) 866-9554.