SPANISH FORK — Kelly Boren was a person who made a big first impression with everyone she met.
"The first time I ever met her she was so nice to me, and I was like, OK, this is somebody I want to be friends with," said Heidi Wolledaek, a workout partner and longtime friend.
"She was instantly someone I'd always remember. She just had that smile that was contagious that I personally wanted to be around. You just don't forget somebody like that, that spirit, that aura, whatever you want to call it. That goodness about them," said Travis Young, who had only met Boren recently.
Between 100 and 150 people gathered Saturday night at Gold's Gym, 795 E. 800 North, to remember and share stories of Boren and her family.
The bodies of Kelly Boren, 32, Joshua “Jaden” Boren, 7, Haley Boren, 5, and Marie King, 55, and Joshua Boren, 34, were found inside their Spanish Fork house, 37 N. 630 West, late Thursday night. Police believe Josh Boren, who was an officer with the Lindon Police Department and had previously worked for the Utah County Sheriff's Office, shot and killed his family in the upstairs area of their house before turning the gun on himself.
By 3 p.m. Saturday, Spanish Fork police had finished collecting evidence and processing the crime scene, taken down the yellow police tape surrounding the property, and released the house back to relatives.
A crew later showed up at the house to begin cleanup. In front of the house, a couple of balloons, teddy bears and flowers were left on the front of the lawn as a makeshift memorial was started.
While the entire Boren family was mentioned during a vigil Saturday night, the focus on was Kelly Boren and her children.
"My heart is really broken. I don't know the reasons exactly (for the killings). I think that she was a sweet girl, funny, very dedicated to her family and kids," said Karin Johnston, a friend and workout partner.
Gold's Gym was Boren's second home. She was a fitness fanatic who entered competitions showing off her toned physique. Both she and her husband were close friends with a group of about 10 people who would often go hiking or go out with each other when they weren't together at the gym.
But James Bjerregaard said whenever the group went out, Kelly Boren insisted it had to be a kid-friendly activity so her children could also attend.
"I think that being a mother was her greatest passion in life. There's nothing that was more important to her than what kind of mother she was. Instead of just going out with the adults, she wanted to make sure it was kid-friendly," he said.
Inside Gold's Gym on Saturday, mourners signed a book, writing down their favorite memories of Kelly, and left photographs of her. The book will be at Gold's Gym until Tuesday and then presented to her father, with whom friends say she had recently reconnected. Kelly Boren's father lives in Syracuse.
Next to the book were pictures of Kelly Boren and her children, some printed on large candles. Mourners left flowers and teddy bears on a table next to the book and candles. Next to the framed pictures of Kelly was one of her heeled shoes she wore during competitions, as well as a Boston Red Sox ball cap.
The song "Drink a Beer" by Luke Bryan was performed before the floor was opened up for anyone to share their memories of Kelly and the children. The vigil ended in the parking lot where candles were lit before a moment of silence, followed by the release of Chinese lanterns into the air, along with purple balloons.
"Kelly was the most amazing, kind-hearted, generous person I've ever met in my life. She made me want to be better," Wolledaek said, wiping away tears. "I don't think I ever heard something negative come out of her mouth about anything."
RiRi Whiting, Kelly Boren's best friend and one of the organizers of the vigil, said she was driving to work Friday morning when she heard what had happened.
"It was like a movie. It wasn't real. You just wanted to hit pause and throw it out and not watch it and let it be over," she said.
Whiting said the last time she talked to her friend was about 5 p.m. Thursday when Boren was driving home from work. She said Boren was tired from work and glad it was nearly the weekend and excited to go home. Police believe Kelly Boren was killed a few hours later.
Some people at the vigil said they were aware Josh and Kelly were having marital problems.
"I just think they were at that end of the road where they both wanted to separate. She wanted to go ahead and move along with life," Whiting said.
But there wasn't anyone who thought Josh Boren would take such violent action against his family. Now, those who knew him have mixed feelings about how to remember him.
"Hate, bitter, I'm extremely mad. It's a super selfish act. Coward. I don't know what state of mind a person can be in to do that, especially to children. When children are involved, it just makes me sick," Whiting said.
"I think it's kind of too fresh to really know what my opinions and thoughts will be of him down the road," Bjerregaard said. "Everybody does a lot of good in this world, and it's a shame when we only remember them for something bad. I hope that despite what happened, people will still remember the good times they had with him, the service he provided, the friendships he gave to people. Josh wasn't a bad guy. He was a gentle, personable guy. I don't even necessarily have anger toward him for what he did. I just have disappointment for what he did."
Those who knew Josh Boren said he was a good father.
One person who tearfully defended him was Josh and Kelly Boren's 17-year-old niece, Ashley Ohran.
"It's really hard for me. I was really close to them. I saw them all the time. I lived just right by them. I watched their kids all the time.16 comments on this story
"Everybody says how horrible that my uncle was. That's the thing, my uncle was the best person ever. He was a great guy. Nobody knew that this was coming. Nobody was expecting this to happen from him," Ohran said.
"He was a big guy and he was intimidating to people, but he was just a big teddy bear to me. When I was little, he used to let me climb on his arms and lift me up and down. I don't want people to remember the pain that he was in and the mistakes he made. I just want them to remember the guy that he was and how great he was and not all these negative remarks from people. It hurts me and my family. We don't want to hear that about him, because we don't want to remember that about him. We want to remember the good things."
A funeral for Kelly, Haley, and Jaden Boren and Marie King will be held Wednesday in Davis County.
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