Police identify Utah couple killed in apparent murder and suicide
Jun 8, 2023, 2:43 PM | Updated: 8:48 pm
HYRUM, Utah — Two people found dead in a home Wednesday night in Hyrum, Utah were killed in an apparent murder and suicide and discovered by their daughter.
Cache County Sheriff’s Office said it is believed that 37-year-old Heather Preece was killed and then her husband, 38-year-old Dustin Preece, took his own life.
“This is a terrible incident that happened in our peaceful community, but especially for the 16-year-old daughter who discovered the scene,” Sheriff D. Chad Jensen said in a release.
Victims advocates are working closely with the girl according to a press release.
“It’s pretty quiet. Kids run around, play all day and they have a great time. And, I mean my son plays in the yard. He would play with her every once in a while,” neighbor Shay Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said the teen girl lived just two houses down. She seemed kind and happy.
“She seemed like she had great friends and stuff,” Rodriguez added.
That 16-year-old’s life was shaken and turned upside-down.
“We talked to them a few times. They came over and chatted with us when we first moved in and they seemed like, uh, they were just a fine, perfectly happy couple,” Rodriguez added.
A family friend left a balloon in memory of Heather Preece, who the friend said drove a truck for a local company.
The friend said Preece was a smaller woman but more of a spitfire. But it’s also hard to understand for surrounding families who maybe didn’t know the Preeces so well.
Rodriquez said she feels for the family, especially that teenage daughter, who now needs a lot of support.
Heather Preece was found dead in a bedroom with a gunshot wound while the suspected killer was found in another part of the home after taking his own life.
The Preece family released a statement Thursday that said:
“As our family grieves the loss of our loved ones we appreciate the outpouring of love from the community. At this time we ask that you respect our privacy and most especially the privacy of their child. We will not be accepting visitors at this time.”
Domestic violence resources
If you or someone you know is going through abuse, help is available.
- The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).
- Resources are also available online at the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition website.
- YWCA Women in Jeopardy program: 801-537-8600
- Utah’s statewide child abuse and neglect hotline: 1-855-323-DCFS (3237)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Suicide prevention resources
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 which is answered 24/7/365 by crisis counselors at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute. All calls to legacy crisis hotlines, including the old National Suicide Prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255, will also connect to a crisis care worker at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute as well.
- SafeUT: Parents, students, and educators can connect with a licensed crisis counselor through chat by downloading the SafeUT app or by calling 833-3SAFEUT (833-372-3388)
- SafeUT Frontline: First responders, including firefighters, law enforcement, EMS, and healthcare professionals can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUT Frontline app.
- SafeUTNG: Members of the National Guard can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUTNG app.
- Utah Warm Line: For non-crisis situations, when you need a listening ear as you heal and recover from a personal struggle, call 1-833 SPEAKUT 8:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- The Huntsman Mental Health Institute offers a wide variety of programs and services including suicide prevention and crisis services, hospital treatment, therapy & medication management, substance Use & addiction recovery, child & teen programs, and maternal mental health services including birth trauma, pregnancy loss, infertility, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
- LiveOnUtah.org is a statewide effort to prevent suicide by promoting education, providing resources, and changing Utah’s culture around suicide and mental health. They offer resources for faith based groups, LGBTQ+, youth, employers, firearm suicide prevention, and crisis and treatment options.
Counties in Utah provide services for mental health and substance use disorders. Centers are run by the thirteen Local Mental Health and Substance Use Authorities all across the state and offer therapy, substance use disorder treatment, support groups, mobile services, youth treatment, and more.
These resources and more information can be found here: https://www.uacnet.org/behavioralhealth.
Other community-based resources
- NAMI Utah provides education, support and advocacy for individuals and families impacted by mental illness.
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers prevention programs, public education, support for loss survivors, and fundraising for research.
- Encircle Utah: LGBTQ+ family and youth resource center.
- Utah Pride Center empowers Utah’s diverse LGBTQ+ community.
- The Trevor Project: LGBTQ teen resource center.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health
- Latino Behavioral Health Services
Center for Workplace Mental Health offers suicide prevention and response for employers.