Woman killed by man in Chesapeake murder-suicide was ‘just a good human being,’ friend says


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Chesapeake Police are investigating a murder-suicide that happened over the weekend.

In a press release Thursday, police said it happened around 5:30 a.m. Sunday in the 900 block of Hathaway Court. Witnesses told police there was an argument inside and then they heard gunshots.

When officers arrived, police say they were able to rescue two residents from the home. They discovered 38-year-old Brent Walker, of Chesapeake, had shot himself and 33-year-old Marissa Free, of Virginia Beach. Both died at the scene, police say.

No other details were shared Thursday afternoon in the press release, however a friend of Free spoke with 10 On Your Side.

“You just never imagine something like this could happen,” said Laurie Cust, who was a friend and coworker of Free’s. “I’m still trying to make sense of it all, it just doesn’t make sense.”

Cust says Free and Walker knew each other for some time. They had dated briefly while Free was on a break with a longtime boyfriend.

Cust says Free tried to end things and still remain friends with Walker, but there was turbulence.

Marissa Free

A criminal complaint Free filed back in July in Staunton, Virginia, details an attack: Walker hit Free repeatedly while in a car.

Free filed charges with the magistrate’s office, which granted a warrant and temporary protective order. Court records show Walker was charged with assault and battery and released on recognizance.

“So there were charges brought up a couple months ago and then she was trying to get away and stay away,” said Cust.

A hearing set for July was continued to December, but there was another attack Sunday morning, this one fatal.

“She was meeting somebody for breakfast Sunday morning and he hunted her down, wrecked her car, took her to Chesapeake and then he killed her and killed himself,” Cust said.

Cust spoke out to share Marissa’s story and spirit.

“She was a good human being,” said Cust. “She donated her time, she volunteered, she was always there when you needed her…just a great, great person.”

She hopes speaking out helps other victims of domestic violence.

“I hope that if there’s anybody out there that’s dealing with this kind of situation that this can wake you up to get out,” said Cust. “Leave, get away, don’t try to help because you’re never promised tomorrow.”

The family created a GoFundMe to cover funeral expenses. Click here to donate.

10 On Your Side has compiled a list of local and national resources for residents to fight and prevent domestic violence and child abuse.

In the United States, about 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) including sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Domestic Violence Prevention Resources

10 On Your Side is committed to help Break The Cycle of domestic violence in Hampton Roads. 

Here is a link to all of the local groups or agencies we have highlighted. The page also shares testimonials of survivors.

Here are some local and national resources for victims in need of help.

Transitions Family Violence Services in Hampton

YWCA South Hampton Roads in Norfolk

Avalon Center in Williamsburg

  • Phone: 757-258-5022
  • Offers transitional housing, emergency shelter, youth services, legal advice, and counseling.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 757- 258-5051

Samaritan House Inc. in Virginia Beach

  • Phone: 757-631-0710
  • Offers counseling, emergency shelter placement, and safety planning.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline 757-430-2120

HER Shelter in Portsmouth

  • Phone: 757-485-1445
  • Offers emergency services, court assistance, shelter, employment, housing assistance.
  • Hotline: 757-485-3384

National Domestic Violence Hotline1−800−799−7233

Virginia Domestic Abuse Hotline1-800-838-8238

About 11 million women and 5 million men who reported experiencing sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime said that they first experienced these forms of violence before the age of 18.

At least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the past year and in 2018 nearly 1,770 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States, according to the CDC.

Prevent Child Abuse America – Coronavirus Resources & Tips for Parents, Children & Others.

Child abuse and neglect are serious problems that can have lasting harmful effects on its victims. For more information on preventing child abuse and neglect check out resources from the CDC or call The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 for help.

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