TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A Topeka family has a warning about domestic violence after a relationship turned deadly for their sister last week.
It was Friday night that police were called to a Topeka home because of reports of a gas leak. They found 36-year-old Brandi Prchal dead inside.
Her older sister Shannon Reed was shocked by the news.
“I couldn’t breathe. That wasn’t the phone call I was expecting, obviously,” Reed said.
Police immediately began investigating Brandi’s death as suspicious. Now Brandi’s former boyfriend Jeremy Lardner is in jail on charges of first degree murder.
Her younger sister Harlie Torbert said Brandi was fed up with Lardner.
“I think she was going over there to leave him, and that’s the hardest part,” Torbert said.
Brandi Prchal, was a single mother of three and worked at the Shawnee County department of corrections. Her sisters both said she was fun and loving and always had a smile on her face. Because of that constant smile, no one would have ever noticed the dark reality she was living.
Brandi’s family describes her being regularly abused by her boyfriend.
“She was always having bruises that she couldn’t explain. She was always trying to cover things up with makeup,” Reed said, “She was a fixer and I think she thought she could fix him.”
“I thought she would come to her senses and leave him before it would ever go this far. I didn’t know the extent of the abuse and I wish that I did,” Torbert said.
Her family spoke out about the abuse, causing arguments more than once.
“One of the last things I told her was apparently I love you more than you love yourself, because I can’t watch you get hurt anymore,” Reed said.
For Brandi, now it’s too late.
“He took a mother away from 3 children. He took my best friend,” Torbert said, “She was only 36 years old and she will never see her grandchildren, and that’s because of him.”
Her family is sharing her story as a warning, because it isn’t too late for the millions of others who suffer in an abusive relationship every single year.
“It’s not shameful. You shouldn’t be embarrassed. You shouldn’t feel you have no where to go. There’s always someone willing to listen,” Reed said. “That’s how we’re going to keep her memory alive, is to be advocates for people who think they have no voice.”
If you or a loved one is suffering from abuse, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or you can call the Kansas Crisis hotline at (888) 363-2287. Victims and survivors can also access where to find help and resources and information on the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence’s website.
There is a GoFundMe set up for Prchal’s funeral and her 3 children. You can find that here.