5 dead after officer kills family in Spanish Fork

Published: Friday, Jan. 17 2014 9:10 a.m. MST

"They were just concerned he hadn't arrived for work," Spanish Fork Police Chief Steven Adams said. "If an officer is supposed to be on duty at 10 o'clock, he should be there at 10 o'clock. It might not be that in other businesses or employment. But if an officer doesn't arrive on duty at the time he's assigned, there's something amiss."

When officers arrived at the home, they looked through the windows. The lights were on and the front door was unlocked.

Through the window, the officers could see blood on the carpet, shell casings, a handgun and even a slug, Adams said. After officers entered the home, they discovered "a large quantity of blood on the stairway leading to the second floor of the residence."

The mother-in-law was found deceased in one upstairs bedroom, and the four others in another.

The last known phone contact with the Boren family was about 4:30 p.m. Thursday. That phone call was not of a distressed nature, Adams said. Police have never been called to the Boren house for a domestic call or complaint of any kind, he said. The family apparently had lived there for four or five years.

Police said neighbors did not report hearing any gunshots.

"This is a tragedy in anybody's life, whether you're in law enforcement as Joshua is, or not. Many of my officers that went on the scene are having a hard time with it. The things that go through their minds, asking the question that can't be answered, which is 'Why?'" Adams said.

Adams declined to say what evidence led detectives to believe Josh Boren killed his family before shooting himself. "There are specific things we believe have happened in the home, those specific things I'm not going to get into today" he said.

Police noted, however, that no suicide note was found.

Adams said investigators would likely be going through the house for a couple of days collecting evidence. However, the biggest question may never be answered.

"We hope to gain an understanding at some time of all the things that were going through Josh's mind, but I'm certain we'll not be able to do that," the chief said.

The children, Josh and Haley, attended the American Leadership Academy charter school in Spanish Fork. The Nebo School District sent crisis counselors over to the school to assist students at the school Friday. The district also sent counselors to Spanish Fork Elementary School, even though the children never attended that school, to help other young students who may have heard the news.

On Kelly Boren's Facebook page, she posted an old picture of her children on Thursday. There are several pictures of her and her children enjoying a trip to Southern California and Disneyland at the end of December.

Despite their known marital problems, Cannon said there was never a hint of potential violence on the part of Josh Boren.

"There was no indication to anybody this was going to happen. A number of people knew he was having struggles in his marriage, but that's not uncommon. People in all professions, in all areas of life, some have struggles with their marriages," he said. "There was nothing going on that rose to the level of concern that anything bad in any way might happen."

Josh Boren was hired by the Utah County Jail as a corrections officer in 2006. He worked several jobs, including as an animal control officer at one point. He left the jail to become a patrol officer for the 15-member Lindon Police Department in October. But he also continued to work at the jail part time. He was selected from a field of 70 qualified applicants to fill the Lindon position.

Utah County offers an employee assistance program for anyone who is having problems at home or feeling stress, Cannon said. Employees can talk to counselors and their conversations will be kept confidential from their employer, unless the employee confesses illegal activity, he said.

The tragedy in Spanish Fork is the second incident in less than a week of a parent killing other members of their family before taking their own life.

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