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Family photo
Rebecca "Becky" Michelle Sullivan

SALT LAKE CITY — After months of investigation, the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office has filed a murder charge against a man accused of killing his girlfriend in his Salt Lake City home in October.

Nathan Edwin Parry, 34, of Salt Lake City, was charged in 3rd District Court with the first-degree felony as well as obstructing justice, a second-degree felony. A $1 million warrant for his arrest was issued and he was booked into Salt Lake County Jail later Friday.

On Oct. 21, Parry called 911 claiming that his girlfriend, Rebecca "Becky" Michelle Sullivan, 41, was dead after the two engaged in "aggressive sex," according to charging documents. Medical crews responded to 734 Park St. and found Sullivan on the living room floor in full cardiac arrest.

Sullivan had "a large V-shaped laceration on her forehead and visible strangulation marks on her neck," according to charging documents.

Parry claimed the two "placed restraints" around each other's necks while engaging in sex and lost consciousness, the charges state.

When emergency room doctors stated that Sullivan's injuries were not consistent with Parry's version of events, Parry changed his story and "stated that he and Ms. Sullivan were trying to commit suicide together but he had to cut them down," according to charging documents.

Investigators learned that Parry also called his ex-wife that night and told her "Rebecca is dead" and that she "hung herself right in front of me," the documents state.

When Parry was interviewed by police on Nov. 9, he claimed that when he and Sullivan engaged in hanging themselves together, he was able to grab a pair of scissors sitting on a drawer with his feet and cut them both down, the charges state.

"Parry stated he lied to 911 and said he was 'ridiculously' drunk and terrified," according to charging documents.

As investigators continued to look at the crime scene, they determined that the scissors Parry allegedly grabbed were over 9 feet away from where he claimed he was hanging. A detective noted that "Parry's multiple explanations were inconsistent with the evidence with the reconstruction," the charges state.

Furthermore, "the reported explanations of how the injuries occurred were inconsistent with autopsy findings," according to charging documents.

The complicated case has taken months to investigate. Sullivan's family believed from the beginning that their loved one was murdered and did not believe any of Parry's explanations. During a celebration of Sullivan's life in November, family members asked the public to make donations to the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition. A bank account was also established to take donations, with money being donated to YWCA.

Sullivan's family provided the Deseret News a prepared statement Friday and called her "a light in the lives of all who knew her."

"We are grateful for the work the (Salt Lake City Police Department) has done, and have trust in the justice system. We know there is a long road ahead, and we ask that everyone respect the justice system and process, as well as the privacy of our family. … And we have confidence that justice will be served," the family said.

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Sullivan received a full scholarship to Stanford University and graduated in 1999 with a degree in languages. She studied in France, according to her obituary, and later taught at West High School.

Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting the YWCA's Women in Jeopardy program at 801-537-8600, or the confidential statewide Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online at udvc.org.

Correction: A previous version incorrectly identified Nathan Edwin Parry as Nathan Edward Parry.