MIDVALE — The family of a woman killed by her husband as their two children fled their Midvale home to get help says their hearts are broken.

“We’re at a loss and our hearts have been crushed since we lost the most beautiful, loving and amazing soul Utahna Halona Erickson. She made everything beautiful and always went out of her way to bring family and friends together,” Halona’s family said.

On Friday, Halona’s mother, Shirlee Silversmith, and her family released a prepared statement regarding the death of their loved one, marking their first public comments since the tragedy.

“The best daughter, sister, auntie, granddaughter, friend and above all wonderful mother to her two children. Her physical presence in our family will be greatly missed. She was taken from us way too soon in a way that we will never understand,” the family stated.

Help for people in abusive relationships is available in Utah and nationwide

  • YWCA’s Women in Jeopardy program: 801-537-8600
  • Utah statewide Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-897-LINK (5465) and udvc.org
  • 24-hour Salt Lake victim advocate hotline: 801-580-7969
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

On Wednesday, Halona, 41, was allegedly stabbed to death by her husband, John Weston Erickson, 41, inside their home near 115 W. Settlement Circle. The couple’s two children, an 11-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl — identified by the family as Preslee and Weston — ran from the house trying to get help as the attack was occurring. Unified police say the girl suffered a minor injury to her hand while trying to protect her mother.

Erickson was taken to a local hospital in serious condition from injuries that police say appear to be self-inflicted. As of Friday afternoon he remained in the hospital but was expected to be immediately transferred to the Salt Lake County Jail as soon as he is released. Outside of traffic tickets, Erickson has no criminal history in Utah, according to court records. A possible motive for the crime has not been revealed.

Children ran for help as their father killed their mom, police say

Halona’s family said Friday that they have been lifted by the outpouring of support from the community.

“The posts and beautiful comments from everyone that knew her have touched us all and for that you’ve joined our ‘family circle,” the family stated.

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But they also noted that her children have a difficult road ahead of them.

“May you all love your kids relentlessly, give your siblings an extra call to tell them you love them and cherish the moments with your parents and grandparents whenever you can. We miss you Tahna, and we will forever cherish our memories. Until we meet again we’ll keep the imprint of your love permanently engraved in our hearts and souls and we will honor you by raising your kids together and staying strong together as a family.”

A funeral for Halona was scheduled for Saturday. A fundraising page has been set up by the group Utah Homicide Survivors to help her children.

The family also thanked the first responders who attended to Halona, as well as other “public servants who have sacrificed their time to support, uplift, and mourn with us.” They also encouraged anyone in an abusive relationship to seek help by calling the Utah Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).

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