ONLY ON 12: Family of murdered 22-year-old sheds light on victim's abusive relationship

News 12 at 6 o' clock/ July 8, 2012

HEPHZIBAH, Ga,-- A Hephzibah family is mourning the loss of their 22-year-old daughter. It's a death they're struggling to come to grips with, but in an interview you'll see only on News 12, they say it's something that didn't come as a surprise.

The victim's sister, Bonnie Salter, is still in shock, and says "I'm just hoping to wake up from this horrible, horrible dream. You'd never expect to wake up and your sister be gone."

Deputies say a domestic dispute turned deadly. Officials say Tiffany Salter was strangled by her boyfriend of six years, Todd Goff after an argument.

Saturday morning, police were called to a residence on Reynolds Street in Hephzibah for an unresponsive female, but when officials arrived, it was too late. The 22-year-old woman's body was found in the woods in the backyard. Investigators say Goff had dug a large hole near her body.

According to Salter's step-brother, Christopher Kerlin, there was an obvious shift in Tiffany's personality after she began her relationship with Goff. He says, "Ever since she started dating him, I lost the Tiffany I knew. She was in 9th grade and dropped out and started dating him."

Salter's father tells us, "This guy was her first love out of high school, and she never got over him. And she was with him ever since."

No one can prepare for this kind of tragedy, but Salter's family say they knew something like this was coming. Goff had always been an abusive boyfriend.

The victim's friend Kimber Mckinney told New's 12, "I've tried to save her, but you can't save someone who doesn't want you to. I've gone to her house at 2:00 in the morning, begging her to just leave, just come home with me, I will do anything for you. But, she was scared to leave."

Salter's father tells us, "It's hard to tell your child that's that age, you need to leave."

The family just hopes this is a wakeup call for others in abusive relationships.

The father of the victim, left us with these words, "If you've got a daughter in a bad relationship, do something. Do something. Don't wait like I did, because you're gonna be sitting right here, and it's not a place you want to be."

Goff is in jail but not formally charged until autopsy results confirm Salter died from strangulation. A memorial fund has been set up
at Regions Bank in Tiffany's name to help with funeral costs. Any extra funds will be donated to help abused women.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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