Last summer, Ivy Nicole Mayhew told an Anne Arundel County court that her husband tried to strangle her.
In neat, loopy handwriting, the Arnold woman wrote that her husband, Aubrey Bernard Mayhew Jr. shoved her against a car, wrapped his hands around her throat and choked her in her driveway. The couple's 3-year-old son watched from a truck.
After letting his wife go, Mayhew threatened her. "You're lucky the kids are around, wait until we're alone," he said, according to her account of the ordeal, detailed in her application for a protective order. The case was dismissed after neither of them showed up for a scheduled August 2005 hearing.
Almost a year later - and after more threats and at least one more report of an assault - Ivy Nicole Mayhew, 31, was found dead on the kitchen floor of her Arnold home. Her husband's family found her at 1:14 p.m. Sunday with cords wrapped around her neck, police said.
Anne Arundel County police said they believe Mayhew was either picking up or dropping off the couple's 11-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son when he killed his wife. Police said they don't believe the children were in the house and that they did not realize their mother had been killed.
Afterward, police said, Mayhew brought the children to his parents' home in Lothian. He told a family member - either his sister or his mother -that he "did something bad to Ivy Nicole Mayhew" and he "thought he killed her," according to police charging documents.
Hours later, police arrested Mayhew at a friend's house and charged him with first-degree murder.
"She was my only child," said Ivy Mayhew's mother, Madeleine Parkinson of Annapolis, after a court hearing yesterday at which Aubrey Mayhew, 31, was ordered held without bond.
"She was very outgoing. She just wanted her marriage to work," she said.
Parkinson has filed a petition to gain custody of the two children. "She said if anything ever happened to her, she wanted me to take care of them," she said.
A review of court records for the past five years shows Ivy Mayhew repeatedly accused her husband of abuse. In addition to last summer's alleged choking, she said he had stalked her, left threatening messages on her voice mail and had access to a gun. The couple had separated, and he was unemployed, according to court records.
"These are indicators of high risk" of a potentially lethal abuser, said Michaele Cohen, the executive director of the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence. "She might not have realized that she was in that danger."
Choking is "an incredible red flag of the potential lethality," Cohen said.
Cohen said that such conduct reflects a desire of the abuser to control another person. She said that as a victim stands up for herself and takes steps to rid an abuser from her life, he can become desperate and violent.
In July 2001, after 1 1/2 years of marriage, Ivy Mayhew filed for divorce, citing cruelty and vicious conduct as a reason. The divorce was never finalized.
In December of last year, she said her husband moved out of the home they shared on Beechwood Drive, and she applied for a protective order - alleging that he was "stalking me at home and at work" and that she was suffering from "verbal and mental abuse," court documents show.
On Jan. 6, District Court Judge Megan B. Johnson issued an order that made it illegal for Aubrey Mayhew to contact his estranged wife unless he was making plans to visit their two children.
But on July 22 he assaulted her, according to police. She was driving with a male friend on Cape St. Claire Road, and he came up behind her sport utility vehicle, "flashing his headlights ... and attempted to force her off the road," according to police charging documents.
When she pulled over he jumped onto the hood of her SUV and tried to get into it, according to charging documents. She continued to drive. He stuck his hand in the driver's side window and tried to grab the wheel and grabbed her hair, documents say.
The alleged assault was on a Saturday. The following Monday he appeared in Anne Arundel District Court for a bail review hearing. A note scribbled on the court file, which was signed by District Court Judge Robert C. Wilcox, said "[victim] not fearful." Wilcox ordered Mayhew released on his own recognizance.
The judge declined to comment yesterday evening.
Twenty-one days later, Mayhew appeared before Wilcox again, accused of killing his wife. This time he was not released.
The news that Aubrey would remain locked up provided little relief to Ivy Mayhew's friends. "All I can keep thinking is that I didn't get my hug goodbye," said Adina M. Lavoie, a managing partner at Outback Steakhouse in Bowie, where they worked together for eight years.
Ivy Mayhew spent the summer coaching her son's T-ball team and had helped with her daughter's cheerleading competitions, Lavoie said.
"She loved her kids more than anything," Lavoie said. "She was doing it all on her own. She took it all on her shoulders."