Divorced couple found shot to death had history of domestic violence

Published: Tuesday, July 23 2013 10:25 a.m. MDT

Debra Eatchel, 53, and her husband Steven Vaughn on their wedding day in early July 2013. Debra Eatchel and her ex-husband Calvin Eatchel, 51, were found dead Monday, July 22, 2013, following a murder-suicide in the Poplar Grove neighborhood of Salt Lake City. The divorced couple had a history of domestic violence-related incidents, police said.

Family photo

SALT LAKE CITY — A divorced couple found dead in a Poplar Grove neighborhood Monday following an apparent murder-suicide had a history of domestic violence-related incidents, police said.

The body of Calvin Eatchel, 51, was found in the street near 1670 W. 330 South shortly after 1 p.m. Debra Eatchel, 53, was found dead in a car just 50 feet away. Investigators did not release a possible motive Monday or provide any details about what led up to the shooting, but said they believe Calvin Eatchel shot and killed his ex-wife before turning the gun on himself.

The couple had five children together and had been involved in a bitter divorce, according to court records.

Steve Vaughn said he and Debra Eatchel were married at the beginning of the month. He claimed an ongoing dispute over a large amount of money Calvin Eatchel owed Debra from their divorce settlement boiled over Monday when Debra went to Calvin's house to pick up their 13-year-old daughter.

For years, Vaughn said Debra Eatchel was "afraid of Calvin."

"Whatever Debby achieved or earned herself, he would find a way to ruin it or take it away from her," Vaughn said Tuesday.

According to Utah state court records, Debra Eatchel filed for a protective order against Calvin Eatchel in April of 2007 following a domestic violence-related incident. Calvin Eatchel was charged in 3rd District Court with simple assault, a misdemeanor, and child abuse. The charges were later dismissed after he completed treatment. Friends say she was acting in self-defense in that incident.

Debra Eatchel filed for divorce a week after requesting a protective order, court records state. But their divorce proceedings had been continuing in court ever since. The most recent entry in their case was on Friday when a summons was filed, according to court records.

She was charged in Salt Lake City Justice Court in 2005 with simple assault and five counts of committing domestic violence in the presence of a child. Those charges were later dismissed after she, too, completed a domestic violence treatment program.

Calvin Eatchel applied for a protective order against Debra Eatchel in 2005, according to court records.

Vaughn said Debra would pick up her daughter from her ex-husband's house every other day and every other weekend. He said both of their lives had been much better since they met.

"She's one of a kind. I'll never find another one like her," he said. "It's all gone now."

Contributing: Nkoyo Iyamba

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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