GREENSBORO, N.C. -- In her seven years of life, Alyssa Gonzales has been through more heartache than most. Her mom, Sellis Gonzales, was shot to death by her dad in their Brooklyn, N.Y., home in September 2013. What’s even more tragic is that Alyssa and her big sister Khadija are the ones who found their mom lying in a pool of blood.
“Those girls are so resilient, so strong,” said uncle Kirt Gonzales. He received full custody of his sister’s children and moved them to Greensboro shortly after the murder. Gonzales said the pain of losing his baby sister hasn’t gone away. “At times I get knots in my stomach,” he said. “I look at her pictures and I keep asking myself, ‘Why? Why didn’t you come to me?’”
Years earlier, Sellis did go to Kirt when she was in a different abusive relationship in their home country of Trinidad. Kirt, being the protective brother, moved Sellis to his home in Brooklyn. Little did he know, Sellis would soon fall for a neighbor named Eric McCormick.
“She knew from the very beginning I never liked him,” Gonzales said. “I didn’t want her associated with him so she hid a lot of it from us.”
But Gonzales admits there were signs of abuse. “Sometimes I live with regret because I kind of suspected that she was being abused in the beginning,” Gonzales said. “So the moment I suspected something, why didn’t I do more?”
Gonzales could not save Sellis from McCormick, so he turned his heartbreak into a book called, “The Chauncey Street Monster: Domestic Violence is a Worldwide Epidemic That Has to End.”
“I can make this my life’s work to advocate against domestic violence and help as many people as I can,” Gonzales said. “So that some people don’t have to go through what my sister went through and end up the way my sister ended up.”