LOCAL NEWS

‘We stand with them’: Community members rally around family of American Fork couple found dead in murder-suicide

Jun 23, 2024, 10:22 PM | Updated: Jun 24, 2024, 9:21 am

AMERICAN FORK Family, friends and those who worked closely with an American Fork couple who died this week honored them with a candlelight vigil Sunday night. 

Married couple Kerilyn and Olin Johnson were found dead in their home Thursday. Police ruled their deaths as murder-suicide

Melanie Cartwright, a family friend, said the vigil was held to help the community and family heal. 

“Everyone grieves in their own way, and we just hope that tonight there’s enough space for everyone to come and have the experience that they need to have in terms of finding hope and peace and healing,” she told KSL. 

Cartwright said she met Kerilyn at Brigham Young University. 

“We’ve been in some productions, the Nauvoo pageant, and I’ve had the privilege of being in her home and meeting all of her family,” Cartwright said. 

She said the 52-year-old was a well-known and talented performer. Vigil organizers encouraged people to eat the sweet treats there in honor of Kerilyn, who they said was a baker and cook. 

“Kerilyn was always so full of light and just everyone’s cheerleader. Everyone just loved being around Kerilyn,” Cartwright said. 

In addition to BYU voice students and community theatre friends, Cartwright said members of the search and rescue team Olin was part of came to the vigil. 

‘Near and dear’

“This couple was just near and dear to this whole community,” she said. 

A family member spoke at the vigil, thanking the community for its support, and asking for continued privacy and space. 

Many people were hugging and crying days after the deaths. 

They wrote tributes and memories that will be compiled into books and gifted to the Johnsons’ six children. 

“We just wanted to rally around this family and let them know that they are not alone and that we mourn with them,” Cartwright said. 

Police have not said what led up to Olin shooting his wife twice and then killing himself. They are still investigating but told KSL there were no signs of a struggle or arguments on scene. 


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.

Additional resources

  • 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.

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‘We stand with them’: Community members rally around family of American Fork couple found dead in murder-suicide