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Three deaths over the weekend have Utah domestic violence advocates worried

May 24, 2021, 8:31 AM | Updated: 8:33 am
Police crime scene tape. A Springville murder marks the third in a week....
Springville Police Department responded to three murders in one week. Photo: Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY — Three people were killed over the weekend in Utah in what police suspect may be domestic violence incidents. And experts worry about a trend.

One of those is a suspected murder-suicide in South Salt Lake. Police say they found evidence of gunfire inside the home, and a man and woman dead. Investigators are looking into the exact relationship between the two.

And then in Ivins, in Washington County, police say a man shot and killed his wife after she told him she was leaving him. Officers say some of their children were home at the time but they are not sure if they witnessed the shooting.

Experts say there has been an increase in domestic violence deaths over the past year, and they think it is part of the pandemic’s collateral damage.

In 2019, there were 31 domestic violence deaths. That jumped to 46 in 2020. So far this year, there have been 11, including this weekend’s deaths.

“It’s sad,” Dr. Sonia Salari told KSL TV. She is on the board of directors for the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition and studies murder-suicides.

She thinks contributing factors are isolation, people mistakenly thinking emergency shelters were closed, and victims spending more time at home with their aggressors or choosing to postpone ending a relationship.

She is also worried about the increase in gun sales in 2020 and this year. She fears it could be a recipe for disaster.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship there is help available here in Utah and nationwide.

  • YWCA’s Women in Jeopardy program: 801-537-8600
  • Utah statewide Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-897-LINK (5465) and udvc.org
  • 24-hour Salt Lake victim advocate hotline: 801-580-7969
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

 

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Three deaths over the weekend have Utah domestic violence advocates worried