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Spanish Fork • Everyday marital problems are the only clue investigators have so far in their effort to explain why a well-liked Lindon police officer allegedly shot and killed his wife, their two children, his mother-in-law and then himself Thursday night.

Spanish Fork police were asked to drop by the home of 34-year-old Joshua Boren after he failed to show up at the start of his 10 p.m. shift as a police officer for Lindon city and his commander was unable to reach Boren or his wife Kelly, 32, by telephone.

Officers arrived at the home, located at 37 N. 630 West, at 11 p.m. They found the family's vehicles parked at the residence and lights on inside but no one would answer the door, which was unlocked.

"Through a window, officers noticed blood on the carpet of the front room as well as empty handgun shell casings," Spanish Fork police chief Steve Adams said. Once inside, police discovered a large quantity of blood on the stairway leading to the second floor.

In an upstairs bedroom, officers located Kelly's mother, 55-year-old Marie King, dead from a gunshot wound. In another bedroom, police found the bodies of the couple and their children, 7-year-old Joshua "Jaden" Boren and 5-year-old Haley Boren.

Adams said investigators did not find a suicide note or other message to explain what happened, but they learned that the Borens had been experiencing marital problems for the past several months.

Lindon Police Chief Cody Cullimore said he and his department were "shocked and saddened" by the events.

Cullimore called Boren, who previously spent seven years as a corrections officer with the Utah County Sheriff's Office, "a great officer — very likable, very pro-active."

The chief said that despite Boren and his wife having "a brief period of separation," there were no "red flags," no indication something like this might happen.

In fact, the family had taken a trip to Disneyland over the Christmas holiday.

Cullimore said that when he called the other 13 officers in the department to inform them of the deaths, the officers "universally" expressed shock.

"We're a small department — one big family," the chief said, adding that Boren adored his two children, who were often at the police department with their father.

"It's just a tragedy," Cullimore said.

The chief said Boren was hired on Oct. 14 from a field of 76 highly qualified applicants. Boren had, in his brief time with Lindon, "performed admirably as a patrol officer," Cullimore said.

"We are working closely with the Spanish Fork Police Department to investigate and hopefully come to an understanding of this tragic occurrence," the chief said.

Kelly Boren worked as the finance director for Bluffdale city.

City attorney Vaughn Pickell said Kelly Boren also was responsible for human resources and, though hired just five months ago from an accounting position in Vineyard, had quickly become a well-liked and respected member of the Bluffdale governmental family.

"She was a wonderful person," Pickell said. "Everyone liked her. She was helpful, friendly, always had a smile on her face."

Pickell said he was unaware, until revelations on Friday, that the Borens' marriage was in trouble.

"This all came as a shock to us here," he said, his voice breaking. "It's pretty somber and gloomy here today. Folks are having a hard time with this. We're really sad. Our hearts go out to her family, along with our prayers."

Shawn P. and Karim Johnston met the Borens at a fitness gym about two years ago, but knew Kelly Boren best. Karim and Kelly had worked out together almost daily for the past five months or so. Kelly Boren was training for her second body building/bikini competition in March; on Jan. 6, she posted three words on her Facebook page: Discipline. Determination. Faith In Yourself.

Joshua Boren was "nice and very polite." Kelly Boren was more outgoing, a very "upbeat, positive person who never talked bad about anyone, Shawn Johnston said.

"She would do anything for anybody," he said, adding that Kelly Boren was a "very good mother to her kids, always attentive to her kids." On Thursday, Kelly Boren posted a collage of photos of her beaming, tow-headed children taken in 2010.

Haley, whose nickname was "Bug," and Jaden were "fun-loving, normal kids," Shawn Johnston said.

Whatever Kelly Boren did, "she would do it 100 percent," Karim Johnston said, and was a very trusting, loving and affectionate friend who was always complimenting others and making them feel good about themselves.

All of their get-togethers and every conversation ended with an exchange of "I love you's," Karim Johnston said.

The Borens moved into their home, located in a newer, picturesque subdivision adjacent to Spanish Fork High School, about four years ago. Marie King had lived with her daughter and son-in-law for about a year, police said.

Adams said investigators believe the last time Joshua Boren had been heard from was in a 4:30 p.m. Thursday telephone call, but the chief declined to specify either the recipient of the call or the nature of the conversation.

Adams said there had been no calls or complaints to police from the home while the family had lived there. Nearby neighbors told police they did not hear gunshots or any other sounds of trouble coming from the home on Thursday night. The bodies were turned over to the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office for autopsies and an official determination on causes of death.

The Spanish Fork deaths occurred just days after another Utah murder-suicide that left three people dead.

Kyler Ramsdell-Oliva, 32, fatally shot her two daughters, 13-year-old Kenadee Oliva and 7-year-old Isabella Oliva, on Tuesday evening before killing herself at their home in Syracuse, police said. The shootings happened a day after Ramsdell-Oliva's fiance moved out of the house, authorities said.

Twitter: @remims

Twitter: @Brooke4Trib —

Suicide prevention

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free number, 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255), is available 24/7 and can be used anywhere in the United States. It connects the caller to a certified crisis center near where the call is placed. More information can be found on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website: Vigil planned

A candlelight vigil for the Boren family is scheduled for Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Gold's Gym in Spanish Fork,