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Springfield area coping with string of violent deaths

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) _ Springfield-area leaders are trying to respond to 12 violent or suspicious deaths in an eight-day span.

Authorities say at least seven of the deaths recorded starting Feb. 12 are linked to domestic violence. They include a murder-suicide in Willard Feb. 12, a double homicide in Springfield Feb. 13 and three bodies found Feb 20 in a burning house in Springfield.

The Springfield News-Leader reports ( ) city police responded to 2,701 domestic assaults in 2014, the highest rate per capita for any city the state.

A Family Violence Task Force has been working against domestic violence since 2013. Brandi Bartel, who leads a group that provides services to victims of violent or sexual crimes, says she hopes the recent deaths will raise awareness of the domestic violence issue with area residents.

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