PARK CITY — As the Summit County Attorney's Office prepares to file formal charges against a former football player accused of killing his wife in a Park City hotel room, the family of Keri "KC" McClanahan is preparing to take her body home.
Heather Gauf flew into Park City Sunday "to bring KC home," she said on a GoFundMe account created to help pay for funeral expenses and to transport her sister's body.
"I just wanted people to know what an amazing woman she was," Gauf told "Good Morning America."
On Thursday, McClanahan, 28, was found dead inside a room at the Park Regency Resort, 1710 Prospector Ave. She was stabbed several times in the neck, according to police.
"Initial reaction was shock and disbelief. We definitely as a family have mourned her loss. I want justice for my sister," Gauf told the TV news show.
Park City police have named her husband, former professional football player Anthony McClanahan, as the primary suspect. No formal charges have been filed against him in the homicide investigation as of Monday.
Family members say KC Gauf McClanahan "was well-known for her beautiful smile. Even when she was having a bad day she still had a smile on her face. She was a loving mother of two beautiful children. KC loved helping people as much as she could."
Gauf said her sister recently returned from Puerto Rico and Texas where she helped those affected by the recent hurricanes.
"RIP KC. I had the honor to have you in my house a few months back because she came on a 'mission to help Puerto Rico,'" one man posted on Facebook. "KC you will always be remembered the little time we knew you — you won our hearts and the hearts of the Puerto Rican people. You are a HERO."
Anthony McClanahan also accompanied her on several humanitarian trips. He had an active presence on social media and ran a business called 41Sports, which touts itself as "helping people through boot camp training, adventure training, and private training programs."
On Monday, the 41Sports website simply stated: "This website is in memory of 'KC' Gauf."
Anthony and KC McClanahan were married in January. They later moved to Arizona where friends on social media say allegations of abuse surfaced.
In October, Anthony McClanahan allegedly kidnapped his son from a previous relationship. He was charged in 3rd District Court on Friday with child kidnapping, a first-degree felony, stemming from the custody dispute.
McClanahan picked up his son from school in Maricopa County, Arizona, on Oct. 3 and refused to give him back to the boy's mother, according to the charges. Police in Las Vegas located McClanahan and the boy the next day, but charging documents allege McClanahan wouldn't release the boy to them.
McClanahan and the boy were later located in Salt Lake City and McClanahan was arrested Oct. 12 in a joint effort by Unified police and Phoenix police. The boy was returned to his mother.
In requesting that McClanahan be held without bail as police investigate KC McClanahan's death, Park City Police Lt. Darwin Little noted in the charges that not only is McClanahan suspected of the homicide involving domestic violence, but "multiple individuals known to the defendant … now fear for their safety," including the mother and her 3-year-old boy.
On Facebook, a page called Justice for KC Keri Colleen McClanahan was created. Many people who know both Anthony and KC McClanahan posted comments as well as messages of support and tribute.
On that page, readers have posted a copy of a 20-minute video of McClanahan speaking from inside a Salt Lake area hospital. It appears to have been recorded at 9 a.m. on Nov. 1 — about 16 hours before his wife was found dead — through Facebook Live, but was later deleted.
No explanation is given in the recording about why McClanahan is in the hospital or how long he had been there, though medical personnel interrupt him briefly to say that a doctor will be by soon to discuss "test results."
McClanahan, lying shirtless in a hospital bed, claims in the video that he has been suffering from severe, regular headaches since his professional football days. Those injuries have been made worse, he claims, since he says he slipped and fell in the back of a truck in the midst of Hurricane Harvey relief in Houston.
"So uh, I just want to let you guys know I'm sorry for anything that has happened over the last four to six weeks, eight weeks, and that I'm dealing with a bunch of head stuff, man," the video begins. "I've been having these headaches that just won't stop. I suffered over 70 to 80 concussions from playing in the NFL, CFL, World League and the NCAA."
McClanahan goes on to say he hasn't been sleeping because of the pain that comes at night and claims that it brings on aggression.
"Most importantly it causes you to like, not like anybody. Like, I've kept myself individually by myself just because everybody that I look at is a linebacker or a running back or a quarterback."
His rant goes on to include tackle football programs for children as he says, "I'm 46 years old and I feel like I'm dying every second of my life since I played that damned sport. Tackle football is the devil. And all you parents that put kids in football, shame on you man, put them in soccer. Put them in a less invasive sport that's (not) going to hurt them physically and mentally later in life."
McClanahan's video also references the custody issue with his son, criticism from his daughters on social media and his plans to have his wife help him with natural remedies for his pain so that he doesn't have to rely on medications.
The video ends with McClanahan saying he will organize a celebrity flag football tournament and children's camp in Salt Lake City, promising to continue discussions about children playing tackle football, and closing his eyes as he rubs his head.
Later that day, according to friends, McClanahan picked up his wife, who flew into Utah, and they went to Park City.Comment on this story
McClanahan grew up in California where he played football for Bakersfield High School. He went on to play as a linebacker at Washington State. While he had prospects to play with the Dallas Cowboys, he was cut from the team prior to the 1994 regular season and never played a game in the NFL. He went on to play for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League from 1995 to 1998.
Free and confidential help and support for victims and survivors of domestic violence is available 24/7 at 1-800-897-LINK (5465) or visiting udvc.org.