Man arrested for murder of his wife in Tulare County, deputies say

Officials say the suspect was arrested last year for chasing his wife with a knife.

Kassandra Gutierrez Image
Wednesday, January 31, 2024
Man arrested for murder of his wife in Tulare County, deputies say
A man has been arrested for the murder of his wife in Tulare County.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A man has been arrested for the murder of his wife in Tulare County.

It happened just before 5 pm Monday on Ellis Road near Avenue 54 in Alpaugh.

The Tulare County Sheriff's Office says 56-year-old Robert Long shot his wife, 44-year-old Melissa.

Deputies say Robert Long then drove his wife to a hospital in Delano, where she later died from her injuries.

Robert was arrested and is currently in custody, facing homicide charges.

"For some reason, I just wanna forgive him and tell him I'm sorry his life was so horrible. That's the choice he had to make," said Chris Garrett, Melissa's dad.

Melissa's heartbroken parents say they tried to get her help.

They say Robert had a history of mistreating Melissa.

"I'm so upset. I just wanna say this man had been torturing my daughter for years, convincing her she was stupid and he wouldn't even let her go to her grandma's funeral. She was so upset," said Betty Martin, Melissa's mom.

Neighbors told Action News deputies had responded to the Alpaugh home multiple times.

The sheriff's office says its records show that deputies have been at the home at least ten times.

The most recent visit was just a few days before the shooting.

"I feel bad for them. I really do, they really needed help," said the neighbor who called 911.

Robert was arrested last year for chasing Melissa with a knife and just last week pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge.

Deputies had served him with a restraining order.

"Domestic violence is a hard thing for the sheriff's office to combat. it is extremely hard for the victims to get away from the suspects," said Tulare County Sheriff's Sgt. Josh Lowry.

The sheriff's office says there are resources out there.

Melissa's parents say they tried to get her home, but now they will live with the pain of losing their daughter forever.

"I want this to make a point for other women that there is a way out. There is a way out. You just gotta look, and you gotta say something," said Chris.

They hope one day, justice will be served for all victims of domestic violence.

"We want justice for our daughter. She did not deserve this," explained Betty.

"Actually, no woman deserves this," added Chris.

The family plans to fly Melissa's body back home to Missouri.

Her mother says she will be there for the suspect's hearing if and when charges are filed.

The sheriff's office plans to submit its report to the Tulare County District Attorney's Office by Wednesday.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Melissa's family.

For news updates, follow Kassandra Gutierrez on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.