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Did confrontation over racial slurs lead to Murray stabbing death?

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MURRAY — A 16-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing of a woman at an apartment complex parking lot.

The incident happened about 6 p.m. Thursday at 4439 S. Brick Oven Way (170 West). Melissa Wood, 34, "suffered fatal stab wounds during a confrontation with (a) 16-year-old juvenile," according to a prepared statement from Murray police.

The boy, whose name was not released, was booked into juvenile detention for investigation of undisclosed charges.

A woman on Facebook, who identified herself as a friend of Wood, claimed Wood was killed in front of her apartment while confronting the teen suspect about using racial slurs.

"I was told by neighbors she heard a man using racial slurs to a family of color, she didn't hesitate to go downstairs and confront him and tell him it wasn't okay," according to the post by Kelsey Robertson.

That's when Wood was stabbed, according to the friend.

Murray police declined comment on whether detectives believe the confrontation may have been started by use of a racial slur, stating: "Investigators are aware of the confrontation. They're not going to discuss the details of the confrontation."

"Melissa died standing up for equality and everything she believed in," Robertson posted. "Melissa died doing the right thing, she lost her life to put an end to racism and inequality. Her death shouldn't be in vain, or swept under the rug.

"She was doing what she believed in and what we all should do in a situation like that, this world is evil and let this be a reminder to hug your friends a little closer, tell them you love them as much as possible, don't stew on fights and let them last too long," she continued. "Melissa you were definitely one of a kind and you were bold and you were smart and outspoken and you didn't deserve this."

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021 after many years of reporting for the Deseret News


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