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Why Syracuse mom killed her 2 daughters still unknown

Newly released reports provide clues and details, but few answers

Kyler Ramsdell-Oliva, 32, shot and killed her two daughters, Isabella, 7, and Kenadee, 13, in their Syracuse home on Jan. 14 before killing herself. Newly released police reports provide clues and details but don't explain why the mother killed her daught
Kyler Ramsdell-Oliva, 32, shot and killed her two daughters, Isabella, 7, and Kenadee, 13, in their Syracuse home on Jan. 14 before killing herself. Newly released police reports provide clues and details but don't explain why the mother killed her daughters.
Family photo

SYRACUSE — Kyler Ramsdell-Oliva, 32, once told her fiance that if she were to ever commit suicide, she would "get a gun" and take her two daughters with her.

The woman did just that on Jan. 14, shooting her two daughters, ages 13 and 7, before killing herself in their Syracuse home.

The tragic details of the double murder-suicide and the woman's seemingly increased erratic behavior in the days just prior are detailed in newly released police reports obtained by the Deseret News through a public records request.

The woman was upset about a recent breakup with her fiance and argued with him during the days before, but the reports stop short of explaining why she would take the lives of her daughters Kenadee and Isabella.

The deaths weren't discovered until that evening, after Ramsdell-Oliva's ex-fiance and his family spent most of the day going in and out of the house helping him move out. They were unaware that the three bodies were lying behind the locked door of the woman's bedroom.

Ramsdell-Oliva and Michael Johnson had been fighting the day before. She refused to talk to him, and he eventually decided it would be best if he moved out and lived with his sons from a previous marriage in Layton, a report states.

"Michael advised me that the tension between Kyler and his boys was too much" and that "he couldn't handle the rules that Kyler was putting down in regards to his boys and felt that she was ruining his relationship with them," a Syracuse police detective wrote.

It was during that argument that police were called. Johnson said he remembered leaving the house about 4:15 p.m. on Jan. 13. He continued texting Ramsdell-Oliva, however, after he left. She eventually stopped responding. He also monitored her Facebook posts that night in which she talked about their problems, until she eventually blocked him from her page, according to the report.

Ramsdell-Oliva's sister told police she exchanged text messages with her about 6 p.m. That was the last contact she had with her sister.

The next day, Johnson arrived at the house at 9:30 a.m. to move his possessions out. He told police he knocked on her locked bedroom door several times to ask her to move her car, but no one replied. After he loaded his items into a U-Haul trailer and drove away, Johnson drove by the house again and noticed Ramsdell-Oliva's car was still parked in the same spot where it had been all day, and there was only a single bathroom light on. At that time, he "just felt something was wrong," a report states.

Johnson called his brother and Ramsdell-Oliva's sister to go into the house and check on her. Johnson's brother picked the bedroom door lock and discovered Ramsdell-Oliva's body on the bedroom floor, which was partially blocking the door.

After informing Johnson of their discovery, Johnson "lost control and became very angry and emotional," police wrote. When officers arrived, Johnson was observed in the driveway crying and yelling, "She had no right to do that to them!"

The bodies of Kenadee Oliva, 13, and Isabella Oliva, 7, were found lying on a single bed. Both had gunshot wounds to their chests, the report states. Their mother was found lying on the ground next to the bed. A black handgun and spent shell casings were recovered.

Where Ramsdell-Oliva obtained the weapon was not revealed in the reports. Johnson told police he had helped her move three times and had never seen a firearm in her house and did not believe that she owned one.

Autopsy results were not included in the reports that would have indicated whether Ramsdell-Oliva had any drugs or alcohol in her system at the time of the shootings.

A suicide note addressed to Ramsdell-Oliva's sister was discovered that "described why Kyler shot the two juvenile females and took her own life," but those details were not made public.

Johnson told police that his ex-fiance had attempted suicide a couple of times in the past "but was always able to get the help she needed," a report states. He said he could usually tell when she was getting to that point, and would "go back to the doctors and get her medication adjusted."

Johnson told police that he and Ramsdell-Oliva had problems off and on throughout their relationship. Just a few days before the shooting, the couple were driving and arguing about his boys when she "snapped and started screaming at him, pulling her hair and acting crazy," a report states. Ramsdell-Oliva then rolled down the window, threw her wedding ring out the window, climbed into the backseat of the car and continued to scream and pull her hair.

Johnson compared the incident "to a small child throwing a temper tantrum."

Johnson thought the situation was so bad that he drove to University Hospital. Ramsdell-Oliva calmed down, however, and the two talked in the car parked in front of the emergency room without ever going inside, he told police.

Johnson and Ramsdell-Oliva had not lived in the Syracuse house for very long. Kenadee, who was an eighth-grader at Syracuse Junior High School, had only been to school one day since moving into the area. Isabella, who was in first grade at Syracuse Elementary School, had been attending classes for about a week.


How to get help

SALT LAKE CITY — In Utah, crisis intervention starts with a phone call.

The CrisisLine is operated by the University Neuropsychiatric Institute is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week service staffed by mental health professionals. The number is 801-587-3000.

The CrisisLine provides a wide array of assistance depending on what a person needs. It is also the Utah affiliate for the National Suicide Prevention Network Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and provides statewide assistance.

People in Salt Lake County undergoing mental health treatment can also call UNI's Warm Line, a recovery support line operated by certified peer specialists available daily from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Certified peer specialists are people in recovery from their own mental health issues who have been trained to provide support and encouragement to individuals experiencing mental health crises. The Warm Line can be reached at 801-587-1055.

Sometimes people just need emotional support to help them through a rough patch in life. Other times, they need the help of community mental health or other supportive services in the community. The CrisisLine provides those referrals, too. Callers who live outside Salt Lake County are referred to services in their own areas.

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