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Traffic stop leads to homicide investigation in Cottonwood Heights

Published: Monday, Nov. 26 2012 9:30 p.m. MST

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Police are investigating an apparent homicide after a man told officers during a traffic stop Monday that his wife was dead in their home.

Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Gary Young said police had the man and another female relative, who was found in the house with the body, in custody Monday night, though no arrests were made. Young said later the woman is believed to be the couple's daughter.

The deceased woman was identified Monday night as 58-year-old Zita Gruodis.

Young said the wounds on Gruodis' body indicate a homicide, and police are obtaining a search warrant to investigate the situation. It appears Gruodis may have been dead "for some time," Young said, though he wouldn't speculate how long.

Young said police began observing a vehicle in Little Cottonwood Canyon about 3:30 p.m. based on reports of a possible drunk driver. Police stopped the man after he overcorrected several times while driving. He later told police he was upset and that they would find his wife's body in their home at 7941 Chadbourne Drive.

Police did not release the names of the people in custody Monday night.

A search of court records revealed a history of cohabitant abuse and domestic violence reported at the Cottonwood Heights address dating back to 2001, including a protective order filed in November 2010 by Zita Gruodis against her daughter, Airida. 

Airida Gruodis was charged with a third-degree felony and booked into jail for violating that protective order in February. Airida Gruodis was also charged with assault by a prisoner, a third-degree felony, in April after police say she kicked an officer during transport.

Court records indicate Zita Gruodis was convicted of driving under the influence, a class B misdemeanor, in 2005. She also entered a plea in abeyance for class B misdemeanor assault charges in 2010.

E-mail: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @McKenzieRomero

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