A prosecutor has charged a Minnesota man for murder in the suicide death of his ex-girlfriend, alleging that he harassed and stalked her to the point that she killed herself, PEOPLE confirms.
Jessica Damian Haban, 28, of Stewartville, Minnesota, bore two children to Long Vang, 34, during an allegedly tumultuous, nearly 11-year relationship. She killed herself on Dec. 17, 2015, at her home.
The two were “culturally married” in 2010, according to Haban’s published obituary.
Now Vang, who was booked June 10, sits in the Olmsted County jail in Rochester, charged with third-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and stalking. He has not yet entered a plea, a spokesman for the Olmsted County District Court tells PEOPLE.
In announcing the charges, Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem’s office alleges that during the couple’s time together, “Mr. Vang subjected his partner to ever-increasing levels of domestic abuse. The abuse was verbal, emotional, mental, and physical.”
“In May 2015, Mr. Vang’s abuse resulted in a traumatic brain injury to his partner,” according to the prosecutors office. “Ultimately his partner took her own life to escape the relationship.”
Said Ostrem in a statement: “I believe Mr. Vang’s conduct directly contributed to the death of his partner. Mr. Vang was clearly aware of the precarious state of his partner’s emotions following her hospitalizations and he continued his relentless contacts until her death.”
The prosecutor says he’s aware such charges may be unprecedented in Minnesota or elsewhere. “We have put a lot more scrutiny into charging this than in a typical case,” he told the Star-Tribune. “We know there are going to be some challenges and some questions. We plan to have our ducks in a row.”
The Olmsted County Public Defender Office declined to comment on Vang’s case.
In their own statement shared with PEOPLE, Haban’s family said “knowing Mr. Vang has ben charged has brought our family some comfort.”
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“This case has brought back many emotions of all that knew and loved Jessica, especially us her family,” they added. “We are hoping and praying that through the court system there will be some justice for Jessica and that Mr. Vang will be held accountable on some level for years of abuse.”
Haban previously had spoken with authorities about the abuse she experienced from Vang, reports the Post-Bulletin.
A criminal complaint says that on May 11, 2015, Haban called 911 to report that Vang was allegedly throwing things at her. She alleged he’d overturned a coffee table and used it to restrain her on the couch, then broken the phone as she tried to call police, who showed up and said they found Vang hiding behind a vehicle near the garage.
Less than two weeks later, according to the Post-Bulletin, Vang allegedly punched Haban in the head with a closed fist in their home.
A domestic abuse no-contact order was issued in August 2015, but three months later a witness who “expressed fear that Vang would seriously injure or kill” Haban told police that Vang was allegedly contacting her, the newspaper reports.
Haban shared her fears with a social worker on Dec. 7. But after being hospitalized for mental health treatment, she called the social worker on Dec. 10 and asked to be discharged. The social worker learned Haban had been released on Dec. 13 – three days before Haban killed herself.
“Jessica was a beautiful, highly talented young woman,” her obituary reads. “She excelled in everything she did. She loved her children with all her heart and did everything she could to make their dreams come true.”
“She aspired to be a cosmetologist, also enjoyed spending time with family and friends. She loved to dance and was the Zumba queen of fitness. She had such an eccentric and loving personality; her smile could light up a room. She really made an impact on many people’s lives and was known for her caring heart, long conversations and putting others in front of her own personal needs. She was a beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother and genuine friend.”
“We all love and miss her so much!”