On the evening of Friday, January 21, 2011 in Tacoma, Washington, Georgia Gunzer had plans to meet her ex-boyfriend and the father of her 10-year-old daughter, Alphonso Bell. Prior to their date, Gunzer had apparently agreed to let five of her daughter’s friends sleep over. Gunzer worked as a medical assistant and, according to friends, “She was funny and liked to make other people laugh. She was always positive – that’s the thing that sticks with me the most.”
She may indeed have been the greatest friend on earth, but during the last moments of her life, she failed six little girls, including her own. But she’s not alone. Every parent of those little girls is accountable for the nightmares and potential danger they experienced during the hours they were at the Gunzer home.
RULE #1 of PARENTING: Know the parents of your child’s friends, ESPECIALLY if you are going to turn over supervision.
Apparently, it would seem, not one parent asked about Gunzer. Did she have a boyfriend? Live alone? A simple routine set of questions would have revealed that her ex, Bell, was a convicted felon who was recently released for jail prompting her to seek a protective order. Gunzer was open about her ex and, “her fear of Bell was no secret to co-workers,” said a friend.
When the protective order was denied, her friends suggest Gunzer felt she had to be nice to him, which meant staying out with him until 3am and then bringing him BACK to her home where the girls were slumbering. I don’t discount that she felt the need to “control” her situation. Victims often do what is necessary to survive and I’m quite certain she felt “being nice” would help. In denying her the protective order (which I’m certain Bell would have disobeyed), she was essentially being told that she would NOT be able to seek legal protection and she was on her own.
According to the News Tribune, “Commissioner Mark Gelman denied the protection order after reading a letter from a state Department of Corrections employee that said Gunzer had been to visit Bell at least six times while he was jailed in Kitsap County.”
The end of this story comes very quickly. After arguing at the home, and being hushed by their daughter, the girls fall asleep while Gunzer is being stabbed more than 20 times. Police wake the child at 7:30a based on a tip, presumably Bell, that a woman inside is hurt.
“The girl thought her parents were in Gunzer’s bedroom but the door was locked. She was able to jimmy the lock for officers and immediately saw her mother lying on the floor covered in blood,” says the News Tribune.
News site King5.com found two of the girls’ parents, “(Georgia’s daughter) screamed and all the little girls came running into the room.”
“My daughter’s been crying all weekend since it happened,” said another parent.
I told you this is wrong on so many levels. The commissioner, the parents, Gunzer, the police, the best we can do is learn from it.