Screenshot from Seal Beach Police shooting of Michael Emch, Jr January 16, 2003

Restraining Orders, Stalking, And Death by Cop

A violent ex meets a bloody, untimely end in Southern California

Amy Sterling Casil
8 min readMar 20, 2023


I still get the daily news briefs from Orange County in Southern California, where I attended school, taught, and lived for a number of years.

I don’t often address the most fundamental component of wellness, which is physical safety and security, probably because I’ve taken care of that for myself by marrying a decent, kind and caring man. And, I live in a gated community surrounded by decent, kind, and caring neighbors in a safe, non-violent area.

There was a time in my life when I experienced relentless and unpredictable domestic violence about which authorities either could not, or voluntarily would not, do anything. My only recourse was to physically remove myself, and I did so. You can read about the situation that contributed to my baby’s death and poor quality of life for me and my daughter here, in one of my most-read articles.

Back in California this past January in Seal Beach, it was 9:30 at night when a sleeping woman and her children were awakened by an intruder on her patio. At first, it seems as though the woman didn’t know who was outside her home. During the course of the 9–1–1 call, police arrived and when they shone a light on the man, she recognized her ex-boyfriend and told the dispatcher that she had a restraining order on him.

It was 47-year-old Michael Emch, Jr. He had come to the home with a handgun (Glock), extra ammunition, and three knives.

Listening to the woman’s terrified voice on the 9–1–1 call, I was drawn back to a long-ago night after my baby died, when a man who actually had — at one time — some pretense at being a “sci fi writer” had driven his wife and at least one child to my former residence in Woodland Hills and the woman had broken in, destroying my baby’s Christmas houses, ripping up my clothes, and smashing every pot and pan in the house. Just a couple of cranked-up narcissistic losers.

Oh! I forgot. On the fully-recorded 9–1–1 call for that incident? You could hear my dog Badger yelping. He was staying in Woodland Hills temporarily, where I wrongly thought he’d be safe — because I could no longer afford to board him indefinitely. I thought…



Amy Sterling Casil

Over 500 million views and 5 million published words, top writer in health and social media. Author of 50 books, former exec, Nebula nominee.