Friday, March 25, 2005

Not So Ordinary Tragedy

A day after Petrinja massacre, Croatian public was disturbed by somewhat similar sort of crime that had happened on the streets of Zagreb.

36-year old male - who is currently known only as “Dragan Č.” – has confronted 36-year old Danijela Petelinc and tried to talk her into starting romantic relationship again. When she snubbed him, he reacted by following example of Vlastimir Kihalić (Vlastimir Kihalic) in Petrinja. Fortunately, he wasn’t carrying any pistol but hammer was enough to cause severe injuries on the woman’s head. Physicians have managed to save her life, but it is still too early to tell what kind of long-term damage those injuries might cause.

At first sight, this looks just like many of all-too-familiar stories of Croatian women trying to escape clutches of abusive relationship. But in past few days some details have emerged making the story even more depressing.

It turned out that Danijela Petelinc and the suspected assailant have met over Internet. He was living in USA and apparently left what he (later, during police interrogation) claimed to be lucrative IT carreer only to return to Croatia and start new life with a woman of his dreams.

Another interesting detail is that Danijela Petelinc was Ministry of Interiors employee. Later it was revealed that she was not an ordinary employee – she was high-ranking official, who had led Juvenile Delinquency Division within Split-Dalmatia Police District. She was also a trained psychologist.

It was also revealed that her former lover had been under police investigation for alleged spousal abuse nine years ago. His record was, in most likelihood, available to Danijela Petelinc.

The more I think about this story, the more I feel sadness over the fact that the tragedy could have been avoided.


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