BOSTON (CBS) – Patty Martel says her daughter Jennifer felt trapped in her relationship with Jared Remy, feeling she was too dependent on the Remy family’s money to leave with her 4-year-old daughter.

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“She was afraid, she was afraid to leave,” Martel told WBZ on the phone Friday afternoon as she was traveling to Massachusetts from her home in Virginia. “But then she was telling me on our last conversation on Wednesday, she said, ‘I’m planning my escape.’”

Jennifer Martel. (Facebook Photo)

Jennifer Martel. (Facebook Photo)

That decision may well have been a fatal one. Remy allegedly killed her Thursday at a Waltham apartment. He is being held without bail.

“Leaving isn’t always the safer option,” explains Laura Van Zandt, executive director of the Waltham-based group REACH Beyond Domestic Violence. “The dangerousness increases when you try to leave.”

Jennifer Martel, according to her mother, was trying to navigate an impossible set of circumstances. Friends and family were telling her to get out of a bad situation, and she was trying to figure out how to get that done.

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“I kept telling her, ‘Jennifer, you can’t just stay with him because of your daughter. It’s not doing her any good.’ She says, ‘I know, I know, I gotta leave, I know I have to go.’”

Van Zandt says new laws won’t prevent tragedies like this one in the future. One solution, she suggests, comes when people stop treating domestic violence like a “private issue.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

“For us, doing this work, we have to view this is an opportunity to get people talking about this issue. People try to avoid it a lot,” Van Zandt explains. “The more we talk about that, then the more the people who are currently experiencing this can feel comfortable bringing it up and hopefully identifying some support and hopefully getting safe.”

“I think we want to believe that Jennifer did not die in vain,” she says.

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WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano and Jim Armstrong contributed to this report.