The father of a woman fatally shot Monday during a fight with her estranged husband said he can't understand the circumstances of his daughter's violent death.
Larey Belka said he's shocked by the tragic events that took place Monday evening at the West Valley home he shared with his daughter.Amy D. Vanderveen, 21, died about 7 p.m. Monday at LDS Hospital after suffering a single gunshot wound to the right side of her head, West Valley police Capt. Steve Shreeve said. The fatal bullet was fired from a 9mm handgun.
Vanderveen and her estranged husband, Laurance Vanderveen, 22, Kearns, were apparently speaking together inside the West Valley house, 2515 W. 3077 South, when shots rang out, Shreeve said. A 17-year-old baby sitter witnessed the shooting, although there were no children in the home at the time.
Laurance Vanderveen fled the scene and was located about 45 minutes later when police investigated a one-car accident at the intersection of 2100 South and 7200 West. The officers discovered Vanderveen had apparently shot himself in the head while driving, Shreeve said. The Kearns man was in critical but stable condition Tuesday at University Hospital.
On Tuesday, Belka and the woman's extended family faced the daunting tasks of organizing her funeral and determining the future care of her children. Belka spoke of his daughter as an avid rollerskater with a fun-loving spirit.
"She loved going to places like Lagoon or 49th Street Galleria," he said.
The children, ages 3 and 4, stayed at their great-grandmother's house Tuesday, with several family members having offered to assume their care, Belka said.
"They don't know she's dead, as far as I know," he initially said. Later, he said he believed one of the children had possibly been told.
Police are familiar with the Vanderveens' ongoing domestic disputes and, prior to Amy Vanderveen's death, had taken a report on a domestic-related threat made against the woman.
However, Belka said he doubted his daughter realized the degree of danger.
"She didn't think he'd kill her. As far as I know, she didn't," he said.