10-Year-Old Boy Watches Mom Get Stabbed to Death by Stepdad, Who Then Took His Own Life

Authorities say that Oscar Salazar killed Byanca Cruz Tovar and himself during an argument on how to best discipline a child

Byanca Cruz Tovar
Photo: Volusia County Sheriff's Office

A Florida couple is dead after authorities say a man stabbed his wife and then himself on Monday night during an argument over how to discipline their 5-year-old child.

According to CBS-12, deputies in Deltona, Fla., responded to a call on Monday evening just after 6 p.m. When officers arrived at the couple's home, they were met by a neighbor.

The a neighbor told deputies that a 10-year-old boy had run to their house for help saying his stepfather, 31 year-old Oscar Mercado Salazar, had stabbed his mother, 26-year-old Byanca Cruz Tovar.

The neighbor said he had entered the home and found Salazar and Tovar on the floor, covered in blood. There were two younger children unharmed at the scene. The neighbor then called 911.

Oscar Mercado Salazar
Volusia County Sheriff's Office

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Tovar was pronounced dead at the scene. Salazar stabbed himself in the neck and was rushed to the hospital with a faint pulse. He was later pronounced dead from his injuries.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood tells WFTV-TV that the argument began when the couple disagreed about disciplining their child. The argument escalated and turned deadly.

Chitwood expressed concern about the child who witnessed the attack.

"For the 10-year-old to have witnessed that, I can't imagine what the rest of their lives are going to be like," he told the station.

The Daytona Beach News Journal reports that the 10-year-old was Tovar's son from a previous marriage. He is now with his father. The other two children are with Tovar's parents.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. An estimated 10 million people per year are physically abused by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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