Murder-Suicide Sparks Conversation: Can Restraining Orders Protect You?

Laurie Stribling
March 24, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. (KSAX) – After a Park Rapids woman with a restraining order against her husband was murdered, many are left wondering how to protect themselves from domestic violence.

Greg Duane Anderson shot and killed his wife, Dawn Anderson, before taking his own life at their Park Rapids home March 22. Dawn had an effective restraining order against him since November, but that was not enough to save her life.

“(Dawn) called 9-1-1; said that her husband was threatening to kill her,” Park Rapids Police Chief Terry Eilers said. “In the background, you could hear some loud noise and then the phone went dead.”

One can’t help but wonder, what can domestic violence victims do to protect themselves? Someplace Safe Program Manager Diane Kittelson said domestic violence is not the victim’s problem, but a societal one. She said victims should notify those around them of domestic abuse problems in order to make the community alert.

“(They need to) let their boss know and let their co-workers know,” Kittelson said. “If they see the abuser driving around in the parking lot or waiting outside their place of employment, they should call law enforcement.”

She said it doesn’t stop there. Kittelson said Someplace Safe advocates can provide many strategies that can help prevent danger.

“Do you have an exit plan?” Kittelson said. “Could you teach your children to dial 9-1-1 if you tell them a secret password? Do you have neighbors nearby? Is there a specific light you can turn on to let your neighbors know to call 9-1-1?”

Someplace Safe serves eight counties in central Minnesota. There is a shelter in Fergus Falls and a thrift store in downtown Alexandria. Vouchers can be given to victims to redeem at the thrift store, and all proceeds from the store go directly to help fund Someplace Safe.

To visit their Web site, go to

The Someplace Safe’s 2nd Annual Vintage Tea is April 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Marion Building in Alexandria. There will be a silent auction, tea cup sale and catered lunch. Tickets are $15.00.