WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – There are new details into the murder arrest of Nathen Cameron. Police say the 27-year-old threw his girlfriend off a third floor balcony.
Police arrested Cameron on Friday, April 1, more than a month after what he claimed was an accident.
Trisha Kunze died Feb. 12, the day after she suffered fatal injuries in a fall at Sun Prairie Apartments in West Des Moines. She was 23 years old.
According to the criminal complaint, Cameron arrived at the apartment complex just minutes before Kunze, and sat in his car waiting for her to arrive. Once Kunze went into the building, police say Cameron followed. About 15 minutes later, police say Cameron called 911 to report she jumped from the balcony.
The criminal complaint goes on to say: “Some of the injuries suffered by Kunze are found to be inconsistent with a fall.” Police also say messages between the two show “Cameron threatening to kill Kunze if she is not home before he gets there.”
This isn’t the first time Cameron has been accused of domestic abuse. According to a criminal complaint from June of 2020, he shattered a window causing Kunze to suffer cuts requiring stitches. Police say Cameron also threatened to kill her. Charges in the case were dropped later that same year.
The horrifying allegations don’t come as a surprise to two domestic survivors, whose work is now dedicated to help others escape the violence.
“When domestic violence ends in a fatal tragedy such as this, it’s certainly a wake-up call,” Melissa Vine, executive director of The Beacon, said.
They say we all have something to learn when things like this happen.
“I think it’s gut-wrenching every time we see that another person is lost to homicide by domestic violence,” Tiffany Allison, founder of the Soaring Hearts Foundation, said. “And especially because I’m a survivor, there is some survivor’s guilt there when I read these stories. Just wondering if there was something that could’ve been done to change the circumstances.”
After being attacked by her boyfriend in 2009, Allison formed the Soaring Hearts Foundation to advocate for victims of violent crimes. She’s also worked with lawmakers on different domestic violence legislation.
Melissa Vine leads The Beacon, an environment that helps women overcome trauma. They both say there are several different reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships, and it’s important to change the conversation to prevent tragedies from happening.
“The important piece is shifting the question from ‘why did they stay?’ to ‘how can I support them?’” Vine said.
“If people would respond to victims’ asks for help or their stories of abuse with compassion and resources instead of that sort of critiquing eye and you know maybe a you know best attitude, I think that a lot more people would speak up and ask for help and live a life free from abuse,” Allison said.
If you are suffering from domestic violence, you can call the Iowa Victim Service Call Center at 1-800-770-1650 or you can text ‘IOWAHELP’ to 20121.
For more resources from the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, click here.