Friends: Wife in murder-suicide felt ‘unsafe’ around husband
Spanish Fork • Woman’s friend says the Lindon cop killed Kelly Boren, her mother, their 2 kids and himself the day she decided to divorce him.
Published: January 23, 2014 07:54AM
Updated: January 22, 2014 10:11PM
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Family picture of the slain Boren family from Facebook.†

Two friends of Kelly Boren say she had separated from Lindon police Officer Joshua Boren because she felt unsafe around him.

Neither RiRi Whiting nor Stacy Archuleta thought it was appropriate to go into detail, but Archuleta told The Salt Lake Tribune on Tuesday that “many other people in our community knew of these problems, and none of us dared to go to anybody.”

Whiting says she was in Kelly’s close-knit group of workout partners and helped persuade Kelly, 32, to separate from Joshua, 34, a couple of months before Thursday’s alleged quadruple murder-suicide in Spanish Fork.

Earlier that day, Whiting says Kelly sent her a text message that said she’d decided to get a divorce, and that she couldn’t stand Joshua’s rage anymore.

Whiting texted back, “Rage?”

Kelly told her she’d explain later that night at the gym. But she never made it.

Joshua Boren didn’t show up for work, either, and when Spanish Fork police arrived at the couple’s 37 N. 630 West home, they found him, Kelly; her 55-year-old mother, Marie King; and the couple’s two children, Joshua, 7, and Haley, 5; dead with gunshot wounds.

State court records do not reveal whether Joshua Boren had a history of violent crimes or domestic abuse, and police have said they were never called to the home on a complaint during the four years or so the family lived in Spanish Fork. But Kelly’s friends say — albeit in unspecific terms — that Kelly had repeatedly told them he had been abusive.

Spanish Fork Police Lt. Matt Johnson said the department has been given information “that’s similar” to what Archuleta and Whiting told The Tribune. But he said detectives were interviewing family and friends and that he could not yet verify those claims. Johnson said he wasn’t aware of any indication that Kelly had just told Joshua that she planned to file for divorce Thursday.

Archuleta brought purple balloons to raise awareness of domestic violence during a Saturday vigil at the Gold’s Gym her old friend frequented. She says Kelly told her that she was unhappy “due to things that had happened with her and Josh that made her feel unsafe.”

But Kelly asked Archuleta not to tell anybody, out of fear that it would reflect poorly on Joshua and ruin their chances of salvaging the marriage.

“I wish I would have said something back then,” Archuleta said. “I was afraid I would upset her.”

Whiting said Joshua had been accompanying Kelly at family get-togethers, and friends believed they were making an effort to reconcile. They even had a counseling session scheduled for Friday, she said, and the side of Joshua that Whiting saw was a “gentle giant. We’d hear from Kelly’s story about how angry and mad he would get, but we never witnessed it.”

Nonetheless, Whiting said that she and other friends were all on Team Kelly. They believed her and pleaded with her to get away from Joshua and ask for help.

“We were glued to the hip,” Whiting said. “I didn’t let her out of my sight hardly at all. We’d text 50 billion times a day. … We all knew [about Kelly’s concerns], but we weren’t planning on him just showing up and doing that.”

Lindon Police Chief Cody Cullimore told The Tribune on Friday that Joshua Boren was “very likeable” and often brought his children into work. He was hired in October after beating out 75 candidates for a position with the 13-officer department after a seven-year stint as a corrections officer with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. Cullimore did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.

Archuleta said she and Kelly were not as close anymore, thanks to Archuleta’s refusal to pardon Joshua’s behavior. It wasn’t a new thing, she said. In 2010, the couple had gone through “a really bad time,” and Archuleta said Joshua had slept on the couch for six months while Kelly pondered divorce. Archuleta, whose ex-husband was once close to Joshua, said she no longer was interested in sharing Joshua’s company.

“She believed that things could be worked through, and my feeling was that what had been done couldn’t be worked through,” said Archuleta, again declining to get into specifics. “It drove a wedge between our friendship, I felt, because it got to the point that I didn’t want to be around the two of them.”

The last conversation they had, Archuleta said, was the Saturday before Kelly and her family were killed. Kelly asked her out to sushi with Joshua, and she declined.

She acknowledges that even if she had gone to the police, they may not have done anything about a secondhand report from the woman’s friend.

But, “I feel like maybe if somebody had went to the police it would have started the conversation, and maybe she would have had the courage to speak up.”

mpiper@sltrib.com

Twitter: @matthew_piper