Sparks, NV (CNN) – A well-known reality TV ghost hunting couple are dead following a hostage situation in Nevada. Now, local authorities say the incident is shedding new light on domestic violence.
On screen, Mark and Debby Constantino were a team, a husband and wife with a shared passion, communicating with ghosts through EVP, which stands for electric voice phenomena.
Off screen, though, a different story emerged. The story is one that ended in homicide.
Mark held Debby hostage at the Courtside Garden Apartments in Sparks, according to police. Both were dead when SWAT teams finally entered.
It’s a story that Sue Mueschke has seen before. She’s the director of the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence.
“When these kind of stories come up, the numbers of calls to our hotline goes up as people understand, that that could have been them,” said Mueschke.
Last year in Nevada, over 40,000 people called help hotlines. Eighteen people died in homicides related to domestic violence statewide. Just last week, Violence Policy Center ranked Nevada fifth for the highest per capita rate of men killing women. South Carolina ranked #1.
“It isn’t always easy to reach out, and it isn’t always easy to accept the help. These are very complicated situations,” said Mueschke.
Court records illustrate a history of domestic violence with the Constantinos. Six weeks before their death, Mark Constantino and their daughter were accused of kidnapping and strangling Debby. Both were ordered to stay away from her.
In March 2014, Debby was also arrested for domestic battery with a deadly weapon. The couple filed for divorce just two weeks ago, on September 10th.
Mueschke says victims are most at risk when they leave a violent relationship, and they should have a safety plan. “Think about what can happen if you left. What kind of threats have there been already? What kind of means does the person have to carry out those threats? And, what steps can you take to make yourself as safe as possible?”
The Constantinos were featured several times on the Travel Channel series “Ghost Adventures”.