Man killed wife at her job after she called cops on him at least 13 times, lawsuit says

The family of an Iowa woman is suing after they said police failed to enforce a restraining order, ultimately leading to the woman’s death.

On April 18, 2022, Christopher Prichard was arrested after he was accused of committing domestic violence against his wife Angela Prichard, according to a federal lawsuit filed April 9.

A no-contact order was issued, however on May 3, the order was terminated, the lawsuit said.

Sometime in July or August 2022, Angela noticed a tracking device was placed in her Jeep and two hidden cameras were in her home, the lawsuit said. She contacted the Bellevue police, but they refused to arrest Christopher, according to the court document.

On several occasions in August, Christopher continued to harass Angela and sent her threatening text messages saying “it is going to get real (expletive) ugly” and saying he “will destroy her business,” the lawsuit said.

Angela reported the harassment to Bellevue police, but Christopher was not arrested, according to the lawsuit. A temporary restraining order was placed on Christopher on Sept. 1, 2022.

Between Sept. 7 and Sept. 23, Angela called police at least 13 times to report harassment by Christopher, the lawsuit said.

On one occasion, Angela reported that Christopher pulled up next to her at a gas station and just stared at her, according to the lawsuit. When she reported it to police, they told her, “it’s a small town, you will have that,” the lawsuit said.

On Sept. 9, Angela reported to police that Christopher rode past her house six times in one hour, which was in direct violation of the restraining order, but he was not arrested, the lawsuit said.

On Sept. 15, the lawsuit said Angela reported to police that she found a note on the steps of her home written by Christopher. The officer responded by telling Angela “[you] can’t prove it” was Christopher and said he “will tell [Christopher Prichard] to knock it off,” the lawsuit said.

Angela repeatedly reported to police instances of Christopher watching her, following her and sending her messages, according to the lawsuit.

“The City of Bellevue and its police department fully recognizes that domestic violence is a serious and pervasive public health and legal issue. Accordingly, the City and its police department responded appropriately to Ms. Prichard’s calls for service,” a statement sent to McClatchy News from city officials said.

On Sept. 15, 2022, Christopher was arrested after Angela showed officers a text message he sent her. He spent one night in jail and was released the next day, the lawsuit said.

Christopher continued to harass Angela and put up signs at his business with negative comments about Angela, according to the lawsuit.

After failing to appear in court on Sept. 29, Christopher was sentenced to six days in jail. He was given 24 hours to get his affairs in order and turn himself in, the lawsuit said. However, he never did, according to court documents.

The lawsuit said the police knew Christopher’s “usual whereabouts in a small town of under 2,500 people, and the unique vehicle he drove.” However, they did not arrest him after he failed to turn himself in, according to the lawsuit.

On Oct. 8, police received a 911 call from Angela’s job. When they arrived, they found her dead from a gunshot wound to the chest, the lawsuit said.

Christopher was “easily” found by police the next day at a known residence and he had the murder weapon on him, according to the lawsuit. He admitted to shooting Angela, the lawsuit said, but told police it was an accident.

“He stalked her, confronted her at her place of work with a loaded shotgun and pointed the shotgun at her, but that he pulled the trigger by accident,” he told police, according to the lawsuit.

“Angela Marie Prichard’s death in October 2022 at the hands of her estranged husband was a tragedy,” a statement from city officials said.

Angela’s family said police failed to protect her and uphold the restraining order over the numerous times she reported violations.

“The City and all named defendants deny the allegations in the lawsuit filed by Ms. Prichard’s estate that they failed to enforce a no-contact order against Christopher Prichard or disregarded Ms. Prichard’s safety. They are confident a jury will conclude that the City and its police department adhered to all relevant laws, policies and procedures aimed at protecting a victim of domestic violence,” the city’s statement said.

Bellevue is about an 85-mile drive northeast from Cedar Rapids.

If you are experiencing domestic violence and need someone to talk to, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support at 1-800-799-7233 or text “START” to 88788.

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