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Intervention Center campaigns against violent relationships

The number of people killed due to domestic violence in Minnesota in 2014 has risen to three, with the murders of Katie Christopherson and Kiela Gem Knowles.

Kiela Gem Knowles, 19, was found in her apartment dead of asphyxiation by strangulation on Monday, Feb. 24. Harley David Leritz, 21, has been charged with second degree murder. Knowles was the mother of a two-year old.

On Monday, Feb. 24, Devin Blowers, 24, shot Douglas County sheriff’s deputy Dustin Alexander before killing his 29-year-old girlfriend, Katie Ray Christopherson, with whom he had recently had a baby. Blowers then committed suicide. The deputy was saved by his bullet-resistant vest, but Christopherson succumbed to her death.

In honor of Katie Christopherson and Kiela Gem Knowles, Headwaters Intervention Center is displaying the Live Free Without Violence flag. The Live Free Without Violence flag campaign is a statewide movement to raise awareness about intimate partner violence while honoring the victims of domestic violence homicides. The Live Free Without Violence flag is being displayed in communities across Minnesota.

The Live Free Without Violence flag campaign is a way for individuals and organizations to actively respond to a community crisis – domestic violence – and become part of a statewide visual acknowledgment of the domestic violence victims dying across our state.

Domestic violence is not just about the 1 in 3 Minnesotan women who suffer abuse; it is about an environment that promotes, excuses or ignores violence. Providing services to victims of abuse is critical for those individuals and engaging a community response is essential for ending violence. The flag campaign is one approach for a wider, on-going community response that raises public awareness and continues local conversations about how we will end domestic violence.

Individuals, businesses, organizations and agencies are all invited to be a part of the Live Free Without Violence campaign. For more information about the flag campaign and information about domestic violence, contact Kari May at Headwaters Intervention Center or go to the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women’s website at

National statistics report only 1 out of every 5 domestic violence victims seek services.

Headwaters Intervention Center of Park Rapids was organized as a non-profit in 1978. The goal of the agency is to serve the community through advocacy, education, violence prevention, and crisis intervention. Advocates at the center believe that all people have the right to be safe in their homes and in their communities. The main office is located in Hubbard County and the satellite office is located in Clearwater County.

If you are a victim experiencing abuse, contact our 24-Hour Crisis Line at 800-939-2199 or Day One at 866-223-1111 to connect with services.