LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Slain celebrity family therapist Dr. Amie Harwick, who was killed Saturday morning at her Hollywood Hills home, was abused multiple times by her ex-boyfriend, according to court documents.
Gareth Pursehouse was arrested Saturday afternoon in connection with her murder. He bonded out of jail Tuesday evening after being held on a $2 million bail.
Harwick applied for a restraining order against Pursehouse on two separate occasions, once in 2011 and again in 2012, but neither were still in effect at the time of the killing. Harwick had seen Pursehouse two weeks prior to the killing, police said.
“He has suffocated me, punched me, slammed my head on the ground, kicked me,” Harwick told police, according to the restraining order.
She said Pursehouse also broke into her apartment complex previously and “smashed 10 picture frames on my door.”
According to the restraining order, Pursehouse also texted Harwick saying “things will get worse,” which prompted her to call the police.
“It was a person whose name would come up over the years as someone she was concerned about,” Robert Coshland, a friend, said. “And she did run into him recently at an event, and he did behave bizarrely and then this happened.”
Dr. Hernando Chavez was with Harwick when that most recent encounter happened.
“He was irate, angry, aggressive, verbally abusive, distraught, under duress,” Chavez said. “And she was trying to calm him down, she was trying to help him soothe, she was trying to be compassionate and empathic.”
One of Harwick’s specialties was helping people who are experiencing domestic violence.
“Amie cannot die in vain,” Chavez said. “Her life had meaning, her life was so important to so many people, and we’ve got to utilize this as an opportunity to move forward with more protection and more safety for people.”
Her longtime friend Rudy Torres told CBS2 that the system failed her.
“The system will not act until something happens, and it’s always too late for them,” Torres said. “It’s always too little too late. I was there when it all started, and they didn’t do much for her then, definitely didn’t do anything for her now.”
Jessica Everleth, another friend of Harwick’s, started a campaign in her honor to bring attention to domestic violence and encourage changes to stalking laws.
“Our friend Dr. Amie Harwick endured nearly a decade of stalking and online harassment from her ex-boyfriend and even filed two restraining orders against him,” the site states. “This obsessive behavior should have been enough to arrest Gareth Pursehouse of felony stalking.”
Harwick was formerly in a relationship with comedian Drew Carey. A rep for Carey confirmed their engagement in February 2018, according to Entertainment Tonight. Their relationship ended last year.
Carey responded to Harwick’s death on Twitter Monday, and encouraged his followers to sign a Change.org petition addressed to California lawmakers that advocates for changes to domestic violence and stalking laws.
I hope you’re lucky enough to have someone in your life that loves as much as she did. pic.twitter.com/xMkQIwR6d6
— 🅳🆁🅴🆆 🅲🅰🆁🅴🆈 (@DrewFromTV) February 17, 2020
Harwick had written a book, created podcasts and used social media to talk about her work as a therapist.
“It’s very tough,” Coshland said. “I’m holding it together right now, but it comes in waves.”