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Woman dead, man in critical condition after homicide, attempted suicide

NORTH LOGAN — One woman is dead and a man is in critical condition after what police say appears to be a homicide and attempted suicide.

North Park Police Chief Kim Hawkes said a passerby reported an accident in the Canyon Ridge Estates just before midnight Saturday.

"We had one female victim, Amanda Hoyt, 26, in the passenger seat that was deceased at the scene," Hawkes said. "The driver of the vehicle had survived."

Christian Emerson, 26, had a gunshot wound in his head and was transported by air to the Salt Lake area, according to Hawkes. His injury was described as being a survivable head wound.

Hawkes said there were multiple gunshots fired at Hoyt, but it is unclear how many times she was hit. An autopsy is being performed in Salt Lake City. Samples were taken from Hoyt and Emerson to test for drugs and alcohol.

Hawkes said the car had only traveled a short distance up over the curb and was between the park strip and the sidewalk. The white Subaru Emerson was driving came to rest at 1830 Canyon Ridge Drive.

Police also confirmed there was a large purse and a bag in the car, as well as Hoyt's small dog, which has been returned to her family.

Hawkes said there are many details that remain unclear, including whether Emerson had been driving at the time shots were fired, where they were going, if Emerson owned the gun used, or if the event was premeditated.

"Those are things we’ll be piecing together, trying to find individuals who interacted with them throughout the day that we can interview and talk," Hawkes said. "It may give us a little clearer picture as to something that might have contributed to this catastrophic event."

Hoyt's stepfather, Jeff Tingey, said he didn't see any red flags.

"I feel pretty confident in my abilities to discern if there was something that didn't feel right, and I never saw this one coming," Tingey said. "All I saw was somebody who deeply loved Amanda."

Hoyt lived with Tingey and his wife. Tingey said Hoyt and Emerson, who had been dating for about a year, seemed to be in a very loving relationship. He didn't see any signs of abuse.

"When they were over here visiting, at times they would get in a little heated, not heated, but little scuttles — you know, little things that couples do," he said. "(Hoyt) never let on … that she was scared of him or that he hurt her."

Tingey said the couple had attended a birthday party together Saturday, and he spoke with Emerson that morning.

"Yesterday morning when Amanda went in to get her hair done and things, (Emerson said), 'Jeff, I think I'm going to give Amanda a ring for Valentine's (Day),'" Tingey said. "We talked for a little while, and then I knew that they were thinking about getting married around Christmas of this year."

Tingey said his stepdaughter had been diagnosed with diabetes at age 9, had been on dialysis for more than a year, and just had a pancreas kidney transplant last summer. He said she wanted to be a certified nursing assistant.

"She was just getting her life back in order," Tingey said. "Everything seemed to be going really good for her."

Emerson is listed on the sex offender registry for a 2007 rape conviction in Oregon. Tingey said Emerson did not try to hide anything and was open with them about the underage relationship.

Hawkes said there is a troubling trend across the country for couples to turn to violence in a relationship.

"There are so many resources out there that help people be able to work through these situations and the challenges they are confronting in relationships," he said. "All it needs is somebody to just ask for help, and our desire is to bring all the resources possible to these individuals so that they can resolve them peacefully."

Contributing: Sandra Yi

Email: ebench@deseretnews.com