SALT LAKE CITY -- A husband and wife who abused each other. A family of three in Brigham City who fell on hard times. A son who, family members say, threatened to kill his father.
Six domestic violence-related deaths occurred last year in the Top of Utah, according to the annual report from the Utah Domestic Violence Council.
The report is compiled based on media stories through the year; the council uses it to convey the scope and tragic impact of domestic violence in Utah.
Since the council's first report in 2004, an average of four people have died as a result of domestic violence each year in the Top of Utah.
Statewide, 33 people died in 2011 as a result of domestic violence, compared with the average, from 2004 through 2010, of 24.
"Domestic violence definitely took a terrible toll on our state in 2011. ... But when people ask why, there isn't a single answer for that. We see fluctuations from year to year," said Kendra Wyckoff, the council's executive director.
Two of the three fatal domestic violence-related incidents in the Top of Utah were murder-suicides, part of what the report calls "an epidemic" throughout the state.
Murder-suicides accounted for about 57 percent of the state's domestic violence-related deaths, the highest it has been in the history of the reports. Murder-suicides have historically accounted for 27 to 44 percent of the total.
But, like the deaths as a whole, the new high only reflects what is going on in those relationships and is not, as far the council can tell, the result of some external factor, Wyckoff said.
Last March, James Hall, 58, shot his wife and wheelchair-bound son in Brigham City and then took his own life. The family had lost their house as the health of the mother and son declined.
In November, Grant Wadman shot his wife, Marilee, before turning the gun on himself in their Porterville home. Grant Wadman's son found their bodies a few days later.
The Wadmans' deaths also mark the first time Morgan County has shown up in the annual reports since the reports began in '04. After the discovery of their bodies, a neighbor said such a crime simply does not happen in Porterville.
But the council stresses that fatal domestic violence occurs in all communities, without respect to income, culture, age or any other factors.
"All communities are dealing with domestic violence and could potentially have a domestic-violence homicide," Wyckoff said.
"That's why it's so important to speak out."
Morgan County deputies said they were well-acquainted with the Wadmans and had been to their home several times for family fights and domestic violence.
The council wants to stress that ongoing domestic violence doesn't have to end the way it did for the Wadmans -- or the Nances, for that matter.
Joseph Nance awaits trial in the death of his father, Gregory Nance. He has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.
He says he shot his father in self-defense March 19 at a Kaysville motel after Gregory Nance had kicked out his ex-wife and Joseph from their room.
Gregory Nance and the ex-wife, Joseph's mother, had a history of domestic violence, though their daughters said Gregory Nance had sought help and had become a better man.
"These domestic violence deaths are preventable," Wyckoff said, and people need to see that they are a community matter, not a private one.
She urges people to recognize risk factors -- threats, physical violence that increases in frequency, threats of suicide or controlling behaviors, among others -- that could escalate to something worse
The Utah Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-897-5465, is confidential and available to anyone. The same goes for the hotline to any local domestic violence shelter, Wyckoff said.
Help and resources are on the other end of those numbers, and anyone who knows of domestic violence -- be it in their own relationship or that of a friend, family member or co-worker -- should call, she said.
The annual report mentions that some deaths that are solely suicides may have gone unaccounted for, as the media typically does not report on suicides unless some factor makes the death unique, such as occurring in public.