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‘You look for understanding, and there is none’

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LAYTON — Jeff King was in the Khobar Towers of Saudi Arabia when they were bombed by terrorists in 1996, but that was nothing, he said, compared to the news he got early Friday.

"The doorbell rang in the wee hours of the morning, and a couple of very compassionate Davis County sheriffs came in and told me the unimaginable," King told the Deseret News on Monday.

"Police show up at your door in the early hours and tell you your only child is dead, your grandchildren are dead, your ex-wife is dead and the son-in-law you trusted and counted on to look after your child is …" his voice trailing off.

Police believe Josh Boren, a Lindon police officer, opened fire on his wife, Kelly Boren, 32, two young children — Joshua "Jaden," 7, and Haley, 5 — and his mother-in-law, Marie King, 55, before killing himself late Thursday.

"You look for understanding, and there is none," Jeff King said. "You can't describe how you're feeling. … They were my whole world."

The first sign of trouble came Thursday night when Josh Boren, who was scheduled to be at work at 10 p.m., hadn't arrived by 11 p.m. Officers went to his house in Spanish Fork to do a welfare check.

Through the window, the officers reported that they could see blood on the carpet, shell casings, a handgun and even a slug, police said. After officers entered the home, they discovered "a large quantity of blood on the stairway leading to the second floor of the residence."

Marie King was found deceased in one upstairs bedroom. Kelly Boren, Josh Boren and their children were in another.

Jeff King doesn't hesitate when asked if he is angry with his son-in-law.

"Like you wouldn't believe," he said. "I feel so betrayed, angry, hurt, and then talking to Josh's family, his sisters and his brother and, I mean, they're every bit as much or worse. It's so much hurt and pain you can't understand."

And when Josh Boren took his own life, Jeff King said, he also took any kind of explanation with him. "I can't even question him. I can't strike out at him. He even took that away from me."

Jeff King said his daughter and Josh Boren met in Ogden. He described his son-in-law as an old-fashioned, shy, polite man who doted on his children and trembled when he asked him if he could marry his daughter.

"It hurts so bad," he said. "I let him into my heart and trusted him and believed in him and counted on him to look after my daughter."

He said Kelly and Josh Boren had been "having a little bit of trouble" in their marriage and that Josh Boren had moved into an apartment in September, but they were co-parenting and the separation seemed amicable.

Jeff King, said he and his wife, Cheryl, just spent Christmas with Josh and Kelly Boren and their children in southern California. They visited Disneyland and SeaWorld, and spent time on the beach.

"They got along great," he said of the couple. "They were doing date nights. We saw nothing, nothing that could possibly prepare you. I still can't wrap my head around it."

Jeff King said Kelly and Josh Boren were both "great" parents who loved and wanted to be with their children.

"That's part of why she wanted to work it out, so that he was always part of her kids' lives," Jeff King said. "That's where you can't comprehend it as a dad. There's nothing you wouldn't do to protect your kids, and I always thought he felt that way too."

He said Jaden was known for his hugs, which he gave using the force of his whole body.

"Straight from the heart" was how Jeff King put it. "Every time you saw him, he'd just run up, 'Grandpa!,' jump in your lap and give you a big old hug."

Haley was just like Kelly Boren as a child, he said.

"She was just the cutest little girl that you'd ever care to see," Jeff King said. "Bossy, sassy … poor little boys didn't have a chance. She'd drag them around, make them do everything at her beck and call."

Kelly Boren was always social and outgoing, her father said. In an airport at age 4, she pulled together around a dozen children to play with in 20 minutes. Since her death, friends from every place she has lived have reached out to him.

"I'm amazed at how many friends she had," Jeff King said. "People loved her and remembered her forever. … She cared about everybody. She would go so out of her way just to make people happy and put a smile on their face."

He said Kelly Boren was also always the social director of her family. She planned trips to Yellowstone and Goblin Valley State Park. For this past weekend, she had planned a trip to see the ice castles in Midway.

He can only imagine that Haley would have wanted to dress as a princess for the outing. Instead, he brought a tiara to Lindquist Mortuary on Fairfield Road to bury her in.

"Trying to arrange the funeral of four people," Jeff King said. "It's three generations all in one shot."

With sleep "no longer an option," Jeff King said the planning has at least filled up the time.

The last thing he said was more of a plea for his daughter.

"Somehow you've got to spread the word of how wonderful she was."

Funeral services for Kelly Boren, her two children, and her mother, Marie King, are scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Lindquist Mortuary, 1878 N. Fairfield Road. A viewing will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam