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Hot tub scandal victim reported dead

By Marjorie Cortez | Posted - Jul. 11, 2011 at 3:04 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — A woman who as a 15-year-old was involved in a hot-tubbing incident with married state lawmaker Kevin Garn has been killed in New Hampshire.

Cheryl Maher died in a murder-suicide in Weare, N.H., her brother confirmed.

Garn, who was 28 at the time, asked her to hot tub with him in Salt Lake City in 1985. Garn was a friend of the Maher family and had taught the girl's Sunday school class.

Garn admitted to the incident on the closing night of the 2010 Legislature and subsequently resigned. He had been serving as House majority leader. Garn said he paid the woman $150,000 to "help her heal" and she had agreed to keep the incident confidential.

Rick Maher said he was still waiting to hear details of the murder-suicide, but said his family was offended and saddened by media reports of her death that linked her to the incident with Garn.

She was the mother of four children, including autistic twin daughters, her brother said.

"She was the type that she'd do anything for you," Rick Maher said.

Maher said his sister had "a hard time from adolescence on," explaining that her involvement with Garn set her on a difficult path.

Garn insisted there was no physical contact during the 1985 nude hot tub incident, but last year Cheryl Maher told the Deseret News that wasn't true and said they had a relationship that lasted several months.

Garn did not return a telephone message left at his business Monday.

The people closest to her knew her as a "strong willed and intelligent" woman, Rick Maher said.

Several condolences have been left on Maher's Facebook profile. Law enforcement officials have not confirmed she was the victim in an apparent murder-suicide that occurred Sunday in Weare, N.H.

Maher, according to the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, registered in June for a state business license at the same address where the murder-suicide occurred.

In March, Maher's ex-husband, Eric Knight, issued an Amber Alert when she did not return their three children, of whom he has primary custody, the Monitor reported. Maher served three weeks in jail. Then in April, the state Supreme Court reversed a domestic violence protective order filed against Maher by Knight, the newspaper reported.

Senior assistant attorney general Susan Morrell told the newspaper that two bodies were discovered about 6:30 a.m. at a River Road residence by Weare police responding to a 911 call. She would not say if the victims were related or who called the police. It appears the man killed the female victim before shooting himself, Morrell said.

Police said they believe the shooter is also responsible for a 5 a.m. armed home invasion Sunday at 477 Concord Stage Road, just over a mile away. There, the man entered the home and fired a shotgun, which misfired, Morrell said. No one was injured.

Rick Maher said his family was still trying to piece together information about the incident and make arrangments for his sister's funeral.

Email:mcortez@ksl.com

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Marjorie Cortez

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