When Michelle Arbuckle heard her best friend from high school, Jillian Riddle, was killed this week she couldn't believe it.
“She would do anything she could to help somebody, you know, all she could. If she had it she gave it away,” said Arbuckle.
She and Riddle met in choir at Capitol Hill High School but lost touch several years ago. The two had planned to meet to reconnect this week, but it never happened. Arbuckle attended Riddle’s funeral on Thursday in Moore.
According to police, Riddle was allegedly killed by her boyfriend Bobby Rogers, 36. He allegedly broke her neck while strangling her during an argument.
Unfortunately, Riddle isn't alone. Thursday another woman died after spending nearly a month in the hospital after being beaten. And Arbuckle is also a victim of domestic abuse, luckily she lived to tell her story.
“I try not to remember any of it, like a lot of it, because I’ve blacked (sic) it out and because I don't want to remember it.” Arbuckle said. “Domestic violence is a bad epidemic.”
Oklahoma routinely ranks in the top ten for domestic violence rates. This year the state came in at number six, according to the YWCA. A new report from the Violence Police Center says Oklahoma ranks fourth in the number of women killed by men.
While the state does have a shortage of shelters, victim advocates point to Oklahoma's lax gun laws. The center's legislative director Kristen Rand said in a statement, “guns in the hands of abusers can escalate domestic violence to homicide in the blink of an eye. Removing guns from a domestic violence situation is crucial."
But for Arbuckle, she's hoping Jill's death will be a warning that might help someone else before it's too late.
“It was a big ole wake up call for me. Like I could have been her, and I still can.”
She added Riddle’s family didn’t have enough money to bury her, so Arbuckle said she’s planning on using some of her tax return money this year to help pay for a proper burial.
Domestic violence advocates and shelters: