Utah's rate of domestic homicide among the highest in the country

ROY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - A Father's Day tragedy. A mother, her two children are shot to death and the husband, the children's father is believed to be to blame. Shawna Smith and her two young children were found dead in their home at 2106 West and 4750 South in Roy on Sunday.

A relative came to the Smith home late Sunday because no one had heard from the family all day. Inside, 26 year old Shawna, 6-year-old Tylee and 2-year-old Blake were found shot to death.

Shawna's mother, Sheila Lyon-Pruitt said, "My Shawna was a wonderful loving mother, she's my daughter and she's my heart."

Police say it appears Shawna's husband, the children's father, Russel Smith was the one who pulled the trigger.

Roy Police Lt. Kevin Smith explained, "The investigation is still going on right now, but at this point it appears to be a murder suicide."

Police say they've never been called to the Smith home before and even Shawna's mother said she had no idea there was trouble in the home.  "No, no I never did," said Lyon-Pruitt.

Just because there were no signs doesn't mean this isn't a case of domestic violence. The Executive Director of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition says this is the worst kind, domestic homicide.

Jenn Oxborrow told ABC 4 News, "In most of our domestic violence fatalities in Utah the police are not called, police don't have a history."

Incidents of domestic homicide are all too common in Utah. Shockingly, Utah has a much higher rate of domestic homicide than the national average. Oxborrow said, "Our domestic homicide rate in Utah is about 43% of all our homicides, nationally it's about 30% so we're significantly higher."

That's over a ten year period. Some years those numbers are as high as 55%. The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition says it doesn't have to be that way, there is help available. They have a help line that anyone, whether it's victims, abusers, neighbors, or concerned family members can call for help. It's anonymous and allows people to get the information about available resources. The number is 1-800-897-LINK.

More Stories

Don't Miss

Latest News

Video Center