Utah mother who killed child struggled with depression, friends say
MAGNA, Utah (KSL) — The deaths of a Magna woman and her 9-year-old daughter were the result of a murder-suicide, authorities said Monday.
Investigators believe the mother shot her child, then turned the gun on herself.
Their bodies were discovered Sunday night in their home, 2665 S. 8990 West, after a neighbor requested a welfare check about 9:30 p.m.
The neighbor told police she had left a Christmas present on the doorstep of the home a few days before. Sunday, the present was still there, which concerned the neighbor, said Unified Police Lt. Brian Lohrke.
Officers discovered the bodies with gunshot wounds upon entering the home. Lohrke said the two had likely been dead for at least one week and perhaps as long as three weeks.
The two were identified as Karina Clark, 41, and Madison Clark, 9, and were the only residents of the home, police said.
Friends, family and neighbors on Monday expressed shock, saying they knew Karina Clark as a generous person who was actively involved in her LDS ward.
Karena Marvell said she saw her friend as a “sweet, sweet person” who struggled with depression and recently had surgery.
The two met as young teenagers at Kennedy Junior High in West Valley City, Marvell said, and struck a bond because they pronounce their names the same way.
“I can’t believe it,” said Marvell, also of Magna. “She’s been like a sister to me.”
The women stayed in contact as they both moved out of state and back, Marvell said, though they didn’t touch base as often in recent months.
“I don’t think she could do that to herself. She was very spiritual and everything, but you never know,” the friend said, fighting tears.
Ben Cummins said Clark was the first person he met when he moved to the neighborhood. Clark offered to send LDS missionaries over to help him get settled, Cummins recalled Monday. He said the deaths were upsetting and he sympathized with family members of the slain mother and daughter.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” he said. “It’s in your neighborhood. It’s right next door to you. And you feel like, ‘Why didn’t I see something?'”
On New Year’s Eve, “when most should be celebrating new beginnings and looking forward to living a healthier and happier life, our family got news that none of us were prepared to hear,” Clark’s niece Alia Hararah wrote in a public Facebook post.