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Family of slain Phoenix mother urge domestic violence victims to seek help before it's too late

The relatives of Lanae Mouton say there were signs she was being abused by her husband before he allegedly killed the 32-year-old mother and their baby daughter.

PHOENIX — The family of a slain mother and child in Phoenix is trying to bring public awareness to the lethal dangers of domestic violence. 

Lanae Mouton, 32, and her 11-month-old daughter, Ava, were allegedly shot and killed by Lanae Mouton’s estranged husband on Oct. 4 at the family's home on 83rd Avenue. 

Lanae Mouton’s twin sister, Lauren Riley, says the manipulation between Louis and Lanae started when the couple started dating as teenagers. 

“He was always manipulative. She just never saw it,” said Riley.

Louis Mouton III has been charged with murder and burglary for the deaths of Lanae and Ava Mouton in Phoenix. 

Lanae and Louis Mouton had four kids together, before becoming estranged in April. Investigators say Lanae was holding Ava while hiding in a closet when her husband fatally shot both of them.

The mother and daughter died at the hospital.

Lanae Mouton’s family said it took years for her to leave Louis' alleged abuse, despite them previously telling Lanae to leave him. 

"There was literally nothing anybody could do," Riley said. "I could’ve gone to the police and told them stuff, but they’re going to go back to her to back it up and she’s going to protect him.”

RELATED: Domestic violence cases on the rise in the Valley

Lanae Mouton’s family said they knew she was being abused by Louis and gave her the option of living with them, but she didn’t take it.

“We all think tomorrow we’ll do this, tomorrow I’ll do that, and at some point you won’t have tomorrow. The biggest challenge for so many relationships is that person making that final decision and taking action on it,” said Robert Wheatley Jr., Lanae’s brother.

Lanae Mouton’s family says she was trying to divorce Louis at the time of her death.

Now her family is urging anyone in a similar domestic violence situation to get out as fast as they can.

“If you’re scared he’s going to kill you, if you stay there he is,” said Robert Wheatley Sr., Lanae’s father.

Victims needing help can reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence also has resources for victims needing to escape an abusive home.

“Just remember the wonderful outgoing, beautiful smile, selflessness -- never forget Lanae,” said Kathy Wheatley, Lanae’s mother.

RELATED: 11-month-old child, woman dead after shooting in Phoenix, police say

RELATED: Domestic violence helpline extending hours after uptick in calls

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