Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Salt Lake County deputy sheriff Ben Pender makes way for a vehicle in Magna near where a woman was killed Friday.

MAGNA — A Magna woman was killed Friday afternoon by a man police say broke into her home and stabbed her.

The victim's 14-year-old daughter also was assaulted, police say, but fled the home as the attack began and called police from a neighbor's house at about 4:15 p.m.

The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office received a second call five minutes later from a home about three blocks away. They arrested a man, who was an acquaintance of the victim, in connection with the killing.

Molly Robbins, a 51-year-old mother of five, was pronounced dead at the scene of the attack near 7300 West and 4000 South.

Neighbors said the man police arrested, 52-year-old Charles Gunkel, was at

one time a boyfriend of the victim. Wendy Carmean said she had known Robbins for 20 years and had seen her and Gunkel holding hands together in church two weeks ago.

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Paul Jaroscak said Gunkel was booked Friday night on investigation of aggravated murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated assault. Jaroscak said the exact cause of Robbins' death would be determined by a medical examiner, but that she had suffered stab wounds. A knife was recovered in a front hedge at Robbins' home.

Another neighbor and long-time friend of Robbins, Joy Laisnez, shook her head in disbelief over the incident and said no one she knew had witnessed any indication that the relationship between Gunkel and Robbins could turn violent. Laisnez said her daughter was a friend of Robbins' daughter and had spent time around Gunkel and Robbins. After the incident Friday, Laisnez said she asked her daughter if she'd ever seen anything "inappropriate" happen while around the couple, and her daughter said "never."

"My daughter was in shock. 'How could he do that? ... How could he do that? ... He was the nicest guy,' was what she said to me," Laisnez said.

A neighbor of Gunkel's who asked not to be identified said he knew the suspect only in passing, but he couldn't believe what happened Friday night.

"This is a quiet, family-oriented neighborhood. ... It's just not the kind of thing you'd ever expect," he said.


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