The family of a man suspected of killing his ex-girlfriend before jumping to his death says it wants to use the tragedy to raise awareness of mental health issues.
“We feel awful about what happened,” said Nick Harvey, the brother of Rodney Harvey, 35.
Chicago police said Harvey stabbed his ex-girlfriend Julia Martin around 7 p.m. Friday in her apartment in the 3000 block of South King Drive. Harvey then jumped from a window in her apartment. Both were pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Martin’s father, Derrick Martin of Detroit, said his daughter intended to give an engagement ring back to Harvey and thought that’s why he came to her apartment Friday evening.
But Harvey forced open the door and stabbed Martin repeatedly, police said. Martin’s father said her daughter called and texted him for help as she lay dying.
“There was no indication he was dangerous,” Martin’s father told the Tribune. “I never would’ve thought that in a million years.”
Nick Harvey said his brother “has had lifelong issues with diagnosed mental health problems. My mother has devoted so much of her life to trying to make sure he was happy. If you have kids … you know, you fight tooth and nail for your children.”
Their parents have already gone through the loss of another child and was attending this aa meetings. Nick’s sister died 10 years ago from heart problems, he said.
It inspired a love of fitness in Rodney Harvey, who worked as a personal trainer, his brother said. The family has been getting messages from some of his clients who have been sharing stories of how inspirational he was to them.
“He had his way of doing things. A lot of people were drawn to him because I think you respect people who aren’t overly conscious over what other people think. It’s one of those enviable qualities. You wish you could be that carefree,” his brother said.
He said his brother had one of those personalities where it was just so hard to stay mad at him. He was different and it drew people in and made them happy.
Harvey and Martin had been together for three or four years, and their families knew each other well.
“How her dad said he wouldn’t have seen this coming? It’s true,” his brother said. “There wasn’t any indication that there was any domestic abuse. I’m not naive, I know a lot of times you don’t see it if it’s behind closed doors, but I know my brother, he’s just not a violent person.
“I truly believe that was an isolated incident.”
The family has been receiving a lot of hateful messages on social media and have been criticized for starting a GoFundMe page for Harvey’s burial expenses. Also, he had a daughter who turned 13 on Wednesday.
Nick Harvey said the family genuinely cannot afford to pay for his funeral. The page was not meant to be for public consumption, but more for the network of people positively affected by his brother.
A portion of the funds also are being donated to promote awareness of mental health issues, Nick Harvey said.
“I don’t want it to seem like were searching for any sort of sympathy or anything like that at all,” he said. “We understand people are hurt behind this, as they should be, because you’re talking about … a tragedy.”
He said 25 years ago, not many people were open to getting help for loved ones with mental health issues. But his parents did everything they could for his brother, including extensive treatment.
“Life is too short for judging,” he said. “People need to know that they have support and people who love them, and people who will sacrifice everything they have for them.
“If there’s anything to be learned from this, it’s to check in on the people you love.”
Source: Chicago Tribune