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Vigil honors Utah family killed in murder-suicide

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Family picture of the slain Boren family from Facebook.†

By Michael McFall

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Jan 18 2014 08:13PM
Updated Jan 18, 2014 11:04PM

More people signing the photo album. The vigil is moving into the aerobics room of the gym. pic.twitter.com/OR8wTlPy6c— Mikey McFall (@MikeyPanda) January 19, 2014

Spanish Fork • Heidi Wollebaek was running a few months ago when she broke down bawling. She had her first cage fight coming up and did not think she could face it.

Then Kelly Boren, her friend running out with her, told her that she could. On the day of the fight, Boren was ringside, cheering on Wollebaek. For the fighter transplanted in Utah from Wyoming without family or friends to support her, Boren was a light and a strength in her corner.

"She was there with me every step of the way," Wollebaek said.

But now Wollebaek has to enter the ring without her. Boren, 32, her two children and her mother were shot and killed Thursday night at their Spanish Fork home. Police suspect that Boren’s husband, Lindon Police Officer Joshua Boren, 34, killed his wife as well as 7-year-old Joshua "Jaden" Boren, 5-year-old Haley Boren and 55-year-old Marie King then killed himself.

The family’s friends, relatives and coworkers gathered at Gold’s Gym Saturday night for a vigil to honor their memories. The gym was Kelly Boren’s second home; she worked out and socialized there nearly every day.

"This is where we all met and bonded," said her friend RiRi Whiting, who was among about 100 people who filed into the building, embracing each other and shedding tears.

Whiting was driving to work Friday when she heard the news. After the shock, she broke down at work and went home early. This feels like a movie that she just wants to end. She never saw a temper in Josh Boren. He was an awesome dad, as best she knew.

That is how his niece Ashley Ohran wants the world to remember. The 17-year-old tearfully recalled hanging off his arms as a child as he lifted her up. He was a "big guy," which intimidated some people, but to her, he was a "big teddy bear."

Kelly Boren was the best mother, and their children were sweet as well, said Ohran, who lived nearby and used to watch them.

"It was hard for me. I was really close to them," she said. "I saw them all the time. ... Nobody saw this coming."

The deaths blindsided Stacy Archuleta, Kelly Boren’s gym partner and concert buddy. Kelly Boren would get into the middle of any mosh pit and fight her way to the front, Archuleta recalled. "She loved to rock."

Archuleta, like many others, stepped forward in the aerobics room of the gym during the vigil to share her memories of Boren. She pointed out that several purple balloons around the room symbolize domestic violence awareness.

"If you see something, say something," Archuleta said. "... I will never again not say something."

The book attendees signed Saturday night will remain available at the gym until Tuesday, for anyone else who wishes to sign it. The book will be sent to Kelly Boren’s father, who lives in Syracuse.

Investigators did not find a suicide note or other message to explain why Joshua Boren murdered his family, but they learned that the Borens had been experiencing marital problems for the past several months.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mikeypanda

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