Utah man accused of killing elderly parents booked on suspicion of murder

Neighbor says suspect was a caregiver to his parents.

(Courtesy Salt Lake County jail) Robert John Liddiard

A 51-year-old man accused of killing his elderly parents on Saturday has been booked into jail on suspicion of murder.

Robert John Liddiard was arrested at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, about three hours after Unified police found Robert and Diane Liddiard, ages 85 and 78, respectively, dead inside their Holladay home.

Carol Spackman Moss — a state representative for the Holladay area, who is a friend of the family and lives near them — said Sunday that Robert and Diane Liddiard’s son Robert John Liddiard had been taking care of them recently.

Moss told The Salt Lake Tribune that Robert John Liddiard “had been a caring, loving caregiver to his parents.”

About 5:30 p.m. Saturday, police found Robert and Diane Liddiard at a home near 4700 S. Wander Lane after being called there for a welfare check, Lt. Brian Lohrke has said.

Details about how the two died were not immediately available.

The son was located and arrested at a home in Millcreek, according to Lohrke. He was being held without bail.

“There was evidence recovered from the other residence and on [the suspect’s] person linking him to the primary scene,” according to a jail probable cause statement obtained Monday by The Tribune.

Lohrke said Saturday that the son “suffers from mental health issues, which we believe attributed to his behavior today.”

Earlier on Saturday, the Liddiards’ son had allegedly told family members some things that made them worry for the couple, which prompted them to call police. When police arrived at the home, they found the couple dead, Lohrke said.

The family of those involved declined, through Lohrke, to make a statement to the media, although they said the younger Robert Liddiard “has been battling serious mental health issues for quite some time.”

Moss told The Tribune said that the elder Robert Liddiard was a colleague who taught biology and horticulture at Olympus High School, where Moss taught English. She said the father — whom she called Bob — and Diane Liddiard had four children.

“They were just really nice,” Moss said of the couple. “They were gentle people. They were very kind.”

Moss said many people who posted on Facebook commented on how nice the older Liddiard was. “I taught with Bob. He was a very gentle man,” Moss, who is now retired from teaching, said.

The son, whom she called Rob, was a quiet kid in high school, according to Moss, who was not one of his teachers. Rob Liddiard, who graduated from Olympus High in 1984, is divorced and has children, she said.

“My heart aches for the entire Liddiard family,” Moss wrote in a Facebook posting on Sunday. “Rob had been off his meds for about two weeks. Imagine how he will feel when the realization of his actions hit him. His parents had helped him for years in every way possible. To all of us who interacted with Rob, he was always very pleasant and friendly.”