A former friend and co-worker of a Colorado Springs man accused of murdering his wife says that she was shocked when she learned of the investigation. But experts say an abuser can hide in plain sight.
Frederick Young, 42, was arrested after authorities found his wife, Jennifer Young, dead in their home last week. Young was arrested on first degree murder charges, but those who knew him say he was “kind and helpful” and the last person that would be involved in such a horrible crime.
Still, experts in domestic violence and criminal law say often times an abuser can hide in plain sight.
Frederick Young worked as a bouncer at Good Company Restaurant & Bar. His co-workers say he was big, but never a bully.
“For lack of a better term, I trusted him with my safety,” said former friend and co-worker Ana Wende.
Wende says news of the homicide had her reeling.
“I was like, ‘What are you guys talking about,'” she said.
Wende now lives in Texas. She described Young as a man who loved his wife and his family.
“Very kind, very helpful,” she said.
That image is now in direct conflict with what police found at the Young’s home. Detectives at the scene say Jennifer was deceased when they arrived, lying facedown on the kitchen floor. She may have suffered a head injury and the floor and counters were covered in blood.
Wende remembers Jennifer as being quiet and beautiful.
“She was just this bright beam of light. Just smiles,” she said.
According to friends who spoke with detectives, Frederick and his wife had been at a wedding the previous day. They say Frederick was showing signs of jealousy.
“Two of the characteristics that are really common among domestic violence abusers are being controlling and jealous,” said Joanne Belknap, a professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder. “There’s a lot of overlap between both of those as you can imagine.”
Belnap says control is often a characteristic of emotional abuse. She explains that the person we see in public is often times not the same person behind closed doors.
“One of the characteristics many of them have will be being incredibly charming,” she said.
She says abusive behavior can escalate over time, starting as non-violent, but then turning ugly when other control tactics no longer work.
CU law professor Aya Gruber agrees. She says that although it’s possible Young could have just snapped, it’s most likely that tensions had been building for a while.
“This is the way that women are killed,” said Gruber. “Men mostly get killed by other men. Women who are a smaller portion of homicide victims — that is true — they get killed by domestic partners.”
A GoFundMe has been created to support Jennifer’s son. So far it’s raised more than $20,000.
If you’re experiencing domestic violence or know someone who is, TESSA in Colorado Springs is a non-profit that can help.
KRDO Only 2019