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Friday, December 14, 2007

Victim had filed complaint over a year before shootings

By Mike Heine/The Week

Seventeen months before Ambrosio Analco murdered his ex-girlfriend, killed four others and then shot himself, the ex-girlfriend complained to Elkhorn police that Analco had choked her with electrical cords.

He was never arrested or charged.

Nicole M. McAffee wrote in a domestic abuse victim worksheet in January 2006 that Analco had abused her "around 50-60 times," including strangling her with electrical cords and pushing, kicking, punching, slapping, shoving, banging her head, pulling her hair and attempting to strangle or suffocate her.

"He has taken electric cords and has wrapped it around my neck and has strangled me to the point where I was gasping for air," McAffee wrote.

Despite McAffee's domestic abuse complaint to police, Analco never was arrested.

Police and prosecutors blame a breakdown in communication between their offices.

On June 9, Analco killed McAffee inside their Delavan apartment. He also killed their infant twin sons, McAffee's sister and their friend before he took his own life. He also shot his 20-month-old daughter in the chest during the rampage.

The baby survived.

The background


On Jan. 27, 2006, an Elkhorn police officer took a domestic violence report from McAffee at the apartment she shared with Analco, 29 West St., No. 4. McAffee, 18 at the time, told the officer she was afraid to leave Analco, who was 22.

"Honestly, I'm scared to death of him," McAffee said, according to the officer's report. "... I want him to be in his daughter's life, but I don't want to have to get killed for it."

On the day McAffee made the report, Analco had pushed her and started choking her because she told him she was going to leave.

Their baby, Jasmine, who survived the June 9 shooting, started crying during the abuse, and Analco went to check on her, according to the police report.

"Nicole stated she is afraid of what would have happened if the baby did not start crying to divert his attention," the report reads.

"He's also told me that if I called the cops he would kill me," McAffee told the reporting officer. "And he told me he would kill my family. He's threatened to kill my family to get to his daughter."

The breakdown


After McAffee's report, police sent a prosecution request to the Walworth County District Attorney's office, seeking charges of false imprisonment, a felony, and disorderly conduct and battery, both misdemeanors.

Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo wrote a letter back to police asking for verification of Analco's identity through his fingerprints. Analco has several aliases, including Gilberto Garza and Argenis Analco.

"It is of vital importance that the proper name for the defendant be listed on the warrant," Donohoo wrote in a letter to Elkhorn police. "We cannot ask the court to issue a warrant for a person until we have ascertained his identity."

Police sent a request for the analysis of Analco's fingerprints. The results from the state crime lab came back to Analco and Garza-apparently, the same man using two names.

But the investigation stopped there.

"It appears we didn't communicate (the results)," Elkhorn Police Chief Joel Christensen said. "As we saw in the report, there was no addition as far as (further) personal communication with the DA's office."

The district attorney's office never asked Elkhorn police if the results were returned, District Attorney Phil Koss said.

"I saw from the file that it was tickled to see if that information came in, and it didn't," he said "I can't tell that we ever contacted the Elkhorn Police Department (again)."

Koss said his office relied on the police department to submit the information when it was available.

"All I can say is that we have 2,000 some cases and they usually are very good when they get a crime lab report. They know it has to come to us," he said.

The office closed the report after it hadn't heard back from either Elkhorn police or McAffee, who was sent a letter to contact the district attorney's office about the pending charges.

The Elkhorn Police Department never heard back from McAffee either, Christensen said.

The bewilderment


Officers last spoke to McAffee on Jan. 28, 2006, a day after the reported abuse.

On Jan. 31, 2006, McAffee's mother, Christina M. Johnson, told police she had not seen her daughter since the day before. She suspected she might be with Analco.

The night of Jan. 30, Johnson drove by the apartment and saw several people moving items out. They did not know where McAffee was.

An officer, Johnson and an apartment manager went inside and found all of Analco's things gone and McAffee's things ready to be moved, according to the police report.

On Feb. 1, 2006, Johnson told police McAffee had called her sister and said she was OK and wanted to come home. She did not say where she was.

There was no further contact with any of the family members indicated in the police report.

The breakup


McAffee's attempt to leave Analco apparently was short-lived. The 72-hour no-contact order she signed when she made the complaint expired, and she never applied for a permanent restraining order.

McAffee and Analco later had twin boys, who were 6 months old when they were killed. That means they were conceived after McAffee made the police report.

"I think Nicole still wanted their children to have a part of their dad in their lives. That's who she was," McAffee's aunt Karen 'Dee Dee' Sittler said in an interview after the murders. "But I also believe in my heart that if she didn't (allow that) that he would do something."

Family of Analco say the two hadn't been seeing each other at the time of the shootings, but Analco had occasional custody of the children.

It was reported he was returning the children to McAffee the night of the murders.

The beatings


Leaving an abusive relationship is often difficult for a victim, said Gen Krahn-Reed, executive director of the Association for Prevention of Family Violence in Elkhorn.

There are a number of factors why people don't leave when it's obvious to others they should.

It could be financial or not having anywhere else to go, Krahn-Reed said.

Often times, abusers start out by attacking a victim's psyche, she said. They will give them a sense that they are worthless and that the abuser is somehow saving them.

In this case, it was probably fear that kept McAffee with Analco, Krahn-Reed said after hearing McAffee's statements to police.

"For her to say that she'll stay, she may have been thinking that she was protecting her child; putting up with it as long as he's not hurting my kids," she speculated.

"When a victim leaves, the abuser feels they've lost that control and are powerless and need to get it back."

The speculation


Christensen said police and prosecutors didn't know in January 2006 that Analco would go on a shooting spree more than a year later.

"It would be unwise to speculate other than from the history of domestic violence itself," Christensen said. "You never know which is going to result in a tragedy like the one that took place over in Delavan."

Even if Analco had been arrested, he might not have been charged, Koss said.

McAffee never again came forward to police, and she apparently ended up back with Analco. Victims' feelings are considered when making charging decisions, and it will never be known what McAffee would have wanted if Analco had been arrested, Koss said.

She also never had marks or bruises on her from abuse she reported to police, according to the police report.

"Knowing what I know now, I would have recommended the maximum (sentence) because he turned out to be a murderer," Koss said. "But I assume this would (have been) a probation with county jail case. Sentencing really depends on victim input, too. They did get back together, I know that."

It's too late for blame, Christensen and Koss said.

"I think Elkhorn does a fine job. It's sad to see it happen in one of these cases," Koss said. "It's an officer or department nightmare that something like this happens, but we see people who get out on signature bonds who go out and re-offend.

"That's always a concern with a department-that the unknown will happen or the worst-case scenario will happen," Koss said.

"In this case, it did."

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are they ever going to be done with the police report on all of this?

December 14, 2007 2:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Plutchak, editor said...

From what we hear, the report is pretty well done.

They're just waiting for the last of the forensic evidence to come in from the state.

December 14, 2007 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Sarah Iverson said...

It's pretty pathetic when the Police Dept and the DA's Office blame their failure to protect on each other. Thanks to them not doing their jobs my sister-in-law Vanessa Iverson was murdered along with 4 other innocent people. They should consider taking their jobs more seriously. The Delavan 911 officer, made it seem as if someone were prank calling. All calls and reports should be followed up on 100 percent. And if it turns out to be false or a prank, then it should be dealt with. With serious consquences. All of these lives could have been saved by the officials paying attention. We pay our taxes. They should stop focusing on such petty crimes and deal with the more serious immediately. Whether there is a response from the victim or not. She may have not even recieved the so called letter that was sent! I am happy to know that everything depends on a piece of paper. I can say I am ashamed to be part of this county, it's an embarrassment. We are still seeking closure. There seems to be no end. Who is really at fault?

December 15, 2007 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very sorry for your lost of your family. It is very hard for police to do their job when victim keeps going back to the abuser. I too stayed in a marriage for 14 years of abuse. Thank God he never hurt any of my children. I was confused and did not know how to get out. My 4 children were ages 13 through the age of 4 at the time. The police only can do so much. I just wish she would have had a restraining order and kept him away from her. I know she wanted to do what was best for her children and have there father in there lives. Sometings it is best not too. I feel so sorry for your lost and my prayers are with you and your family.

December 17, 2007 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Dan Neumeier said...

To add insult to injury in this whole situation is the complete breakdown on Local and Federal government on so many levels.

There is the now obvious breakdown between the Walworth County D.A.'s office (which is known for over prosecuting petty criminals and letting major criminals walk) there is the breakdown from the Elkhorn PD for not following up properly, but there is a bigger issue that could have prevented this if the Federal Government had actually done it's job.

From what I have heard this piece of work that did the shooting was an illegal. He was in the system, and not just in the social services system. If we would actually follow through on taking care of the illegal alien issue this would not have been possible to begin with. I realize it is all but impossible to round up every illegal alien, and I personally don't know if we should deport all of them, but it irritates me to no end when the system can deport one of the few good Milwaukee cops because he lied about his identity to serve the public, and we can let the scumbags get into the criminal system and leave them here. That cop is one of the few redeeming features for the illegals being allowed here at all. He served in the line of duty in a major city, he put his life on the line every day. He should have been awarded citizenship for his services, but he gets deported. The scumbags just hang around forever....either in our prisons sucking up tax money, or worse yet slipping through the cracks and staying on our streets. This is not mexico, let the mexican government have their scumbags back.

If an illegal alien comes into contact with the legal system, especially on the criminal side of it, they should be deported immediately. They should not get a trial if they are accused of criminal wrongdoing (that is reserved for citizens).....they should be shipped out immediately. They are here illegally which makes every action they take on US soil illegal. If they are going to then break other laws in the process they need to go. I feel for the illegal aliens that are trying to make themselves productive members of our society and wish to live the American Dream.....but if they are going to break the law further, they need to go and technically the INS should see to it that they do.

If the INS can conduct raids where people are working to round them up why the hell can't they take them out once they enter the criminal system? If we are in mexico for any reason and come anywhere near breaking the law they will lock you up and they are known for extortion before they will release you? Why can't we send them back? We need to follow mexican illegal immigrant policy. If we did they wouldn't come here. Mexican illegal immigrant policy is strictly draconion and strictly adhered to. Ours should be as well, and let all the pansies whining about how unfair it is sit down, shut up, and deal with it. Or keep complaining....which they seem to be so much better at doing.

December 19, 2007 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THESE PEOPLE WERE MY FRIENDS. AND I JUST WANT TO SAY HOW MUCH I MISS ASHLEY REMEMBER COMING TO MY HOUSE WHEN YOU WERE TO BE AT HOME!!!!!! NICOLE I KNEW YOU BECAUSE YOUR BIG SISTER ASHLEY YOU KNOW!!! WE ALL MISS YOU GUYS SOOOOO MUCH I HOPE YOUR ALL HAPPY TOGETHER LOVE YOU SOO MUCH!!!
THEY DID NOT HAVE TO GO THAT WAY THEY WERE TRYING TO GET A BETTER LIFE GOING FOR ALL OF THEM I GUESS I JUS DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS WHY DID IT HAPPEN WHAT WAS HE THINKING??? FOR REAL WHO DOSE THAT TO SOMEONE YOU LOVE AND HAVE HERMOSO CHILDREN TOGETHER I DO NO KNOW WHAT TO THINK THESE DAYS OF EVERYONE
WE ALL LOVE YOU VERY MUCH AND WERE ALWAYS THINKING OF YOU I KNOW IN HIGH SCHOOL WE GREW APART BUT I STILL CARE AND I DID NOT EVEN KNOW THAT THEY WERE LIVING ONLY 2 BLOCKS AWAY FROM ME FOR ALMOST A YEAR. LOS QUIERO MUCHO A TODOS!!!! SE QUIDEN Y QUE DESCANSEN EN PAZ TE AMO PARA SIEMPRE!!!!!

January 14, 2008 1:35 AM  

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