Latoshia Johnson never imagined that she would be a victim of domestic violence.
The 49-year-old employee of a Target store in Las Vegas said she had been in an on-and-off-again relationship with her boyfriend for a decade. They argued a lot, she said, but he had never physically hurt her.
“I thought the relationship was good and fine, but every time he came back, he always seemed more jealous,” she said. “That is the one thing I kept noticing.”
Johnson said she was with her boyfriend on Feb. 16 at her central Las Vegas apartment, and the two argued about jewelry worth roughly $1,200. Her boyfriend wanted the items back, Johnson said, because he was apparently planning to leave her.
After that, Johnson said, “I don’t remember anything.”
Johnson’s son found her badly beaten and unconscious in her bedroom the next morning.
She spent three days at University Medical Center with multiple facial fractures. Her eyes were still so swollen a week later that she could barely open them. Doctors told Johnson she will require surgery in March, and she likely will have limited vision the rest of her life.
“This came up totally out of the blue,” said Johnson’s mother, Andrea Love. “It is upsetting to my soul.”
Las Vegas police spokesman Larry Hadfield said a felony domestic violence investigation is continuing, and a suspect has been identified. But as of Thursday, no charges had been filed. Police denied a Las Vegas Review-Journal request for an incident report in the case, citing an open investigation.
Johnson’s daughter, Jamila Jones, said police have been helpful. A detective told her that police are pursuing charges but are still gathering evidence.
“It’s horrible,” Jones said. “As her daughter, to see my mom go through this, having her rushed to the hospital, it is traumatic. The pictures I have, I can’t look at them.”
She’s created a GoFundMe account to help her mother pay what are expected to be extensive health care bills. The goal is to help her mother “get her life back,” Jones said.
SafeNest CEO Liz Ortenburger said about 100,000 calls involving domestic violence are made to 911 each year in Clark County, with roughly 25 people killed annually.
“The pandemic of coronavirus has only highlighted that violence,” Ortenburger said. “It is an incredibly scary situation for any survivor to have to live through, and unfortunately, we have way too many victims of domestic violence who don’t live through it and become homicide victims.”
She said that sometimes, as in Johnson’s case, offenders with no history of physical abuse seem to “just snap.”
Ortenburger encouraged those suffering from domestic violence to call the nonprofit’s hotline immediately at 702-646-4981.
Johnson said her facial injuries — and the overwhelming sadness she feels from being victimized — have been immensely painful. Now she wants her abuser to be arrested and incarcerated.
“It is very emotional because I never thought this would happen to me,” she said.