Alicia Schmidt, 31 years old and mother of two, made local news headlines this morning in an all too familiar tragedy.
She was apparently murdered and her boyfriend Edwin Carrero is a suspect.
According to a search warrant, Carrero told his ex-wife he choked Schmidt, pushed her down the steps of the basement and "may have killed Schmidt," 69 News WFMZ-TV reported.
Police found Schmidt's body on Thursday at the bottom of the basement stairway in her home on Cherry Street in Pottstown.
The Montgomery County coroner's office will autopsy her remains.
Sadly, Schmidt's death fits the description of some domestic violence cases that happen every day in the U.S. and at a growing reported rate in Pottstown.
"Typically, something like this isn't an isolated incident," said Kristine Wickward, legal advocate and domestic violence counselor at the Women's Center of Montgomery County in Pottstown.
She said her office last year received 631 domestic violence case referrals from police. That number is up by roughly 200 cases in 2010, she said.
"(They're) very frequent," Wickward said of cases she sees in her office.
She's hopeful the increased volume means more people are aware of the warning signs that a relationship is headed for danger.
"Part of me would like to think that more (victims) are coming forward," she said. "Awareness I think has improved over the years."
But the sick economy, and financial strains it adds to families, might also contribute to the growing number of domestic violence reports, she said.
And statistics show the number of reported cases is significantly less than those that go unreported, she said.
Wickward said the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Women’s Center plan to work with local police on a new project that would encourage victims to seek immediate help during a domestic, violent event.
"Hopefully, we could prevent an incident like the one today," she said of Schmidt's alleged murder.
Meanwhile, two Pottstown children are left without their mother, and a man is wanted for homicide.
Anyone with information should call Pottstown Police at 610-970-6570.
• A free support group for people impacted by domestic violence meets at the Women's Center of Montgomery County's Pottstown office from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. To learn more, call 610-970-7364.
• The Women's Center also offers a free 24-hour hotline: 1-800-773-2424.