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Scott G Winterton, KSL

Children ran for help as their father killed their mom, police say

By Amy Donaldson, KSL | Updated - Oct. 28, 2020 at 10:04 p.m. | Posted - Oct. 28, 2020 at 7:58 p.m.



MIDVALE — Two children ran to a neighbor's house for help as their father stabbed their mother to death Wednesday night, according to Unified police.

"We had children that ran to a neighbor's house that said their dad was attacking (their) mother," said Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler, who said the call came in about 6 p.m. "When officers arrived on the scene, they spoke to the children, and found out that both parents were still inside the house."

Police entered the home near 115 W. Settlement Circle and found two people with stab wounds.

"They found a female who was in extremely critical condition, as well as a male," Cutler said. "That individual had some wounds as well, that from ... what we can tell at this point, were self-inflicted."

Utahna Halona, 41, died after the fire department and paramedics arrived to administer aid, Cutler said. And her husband, John Weston Erickson, also 41, was taken to Intermountain Medical Center in serious condition, Cutler said.

"He is in police custody right now," she said. Erickson remained at the hospital and hadn't been booked into jail as of 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Cutler said a 7-year-old girl sustained "a minor injury to her hand" from trying to defend or render aid to her mother. She was taken to a different hospital in fair condition.

A Unified police officer walks in the street motioning to traffic at the scene of a domestic violence homicide at 115 W. Settlement Circle In Midvale on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (Photo: Scott G Winterton, KSL)

"We think the little girl was trying to help or intervene," Cutler said. The boy, who is 11, was with victim advocates while police officers notified the deceased woman's parents that she'd been killed.

"We don't know exactly what transpired that led to this incident," Cutler said, noting that they were awaiting a search warrant so they could continue processing the crime scene. "It's still really early in the investigation at this point."

She said investigators would likely be at the house gathering evidence until morning.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic violence, there is a 24/7 confidential hotline available for help: 1-800-897-5465. You can access the national hotline at thehotline.org where confidential online chat is an option, as well as a 24-hour hotline.

Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting:

Amy Donaldson

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