Woman reportedly talked out of killing herself
July 8, 2006
Kamas resident Casey Chestnut watched as a SWAT team swarmed into town Wednesday afternoon and began gearing up near the library on Main Street.
Meanwhile, a pastor cancelled a meeting at the Kamas Bible Church after a road was closed as deputies, trained to negotiate the release of hostages, reportedly helped persuade a woman not to kill herself.
"I’ve never had to call and tell them not to come to church, but I did," said Sharon Van Buren, whose husband serves as pastor to roughly 25 parishioners at the Kamas Bible Church. "I’ve never seen anything like that. It looked like they were having a real problem."
Officers in Kamas closed 100 West between 200 North and 360 North around 4 p.m., Kamas police officer Adam Jones said.
"They said she was suicidal and they were trying to get her out of the home, so we stayed away," said Van Buren, who lives on 100 West. "They were all dressed up and they told us to stay in the southern end of the house in case there were bullets that flew."
But no shots were fired, Jones said, adding that the woman refused to open her door for police.
Recommended Stories For You
Officers armed with machine guns arrived at the house wearing riot gear but a laptop computer connected to the Internet proved to be the negotiators’ most effective tool, Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds said, adding that the woman was the only person inside the house.
"She wouldn’t talk to us on the phone but she would talk to us over the Internet," he said. "She answered her e-mails."
A woman who is approximately 51 years old had barricaded herself inside her house, Jones said.
"We wanted to give her every option to come out," Jones said.
Before the woman gave up officers communicated with her using e-mail for about four hours, he added.
"We knew she wasn’t in a whole lot of danger so we didn’t want to force the issue by going in," Jones said. "We knew there weren’t any hostages so we were giving her every opportunity to come out on her own."
The woman only made threats toward herself, Edmunds said.
"She did inflict some superficial wounds upon her body. They were not life threatening however," he added.
Jones this week wouldn’t release the name of the woman.
"She was pretty upset," he added.
She won’t likely face any criminal charges, Jones said, adding that no weapons were recovered at the home.
"We didn’t know what we had. It ended without incident but I guess you could describe it as a stand off for several hours in Kamas," Edmunds said. "We initially received reports that there could have been a firearm in the home. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed on her part."
Hostage negotiators and the Sheriff’s Office Special Emergency Response Team assisted the Kamas Police Department at the scene, he added.
"Evidently, it was an amorous relationship she was having with a gentleman who had decided to break it off," Edmunds said, adding that the woman was treated and released at University of Utah Health Sciences Center. "A typical situation where you had someone who was heartbroken."
The woman involved in the stand off lived alone at the house and had attended the Kamas Bible Church, Van Buren said.
"We would be glad to talk to her if there is a need for that," she added.
The Kamas Police Department has dealt with the woman in the past as she has had property disputes with neighbors, Jones said.
"There is some property involving her and the neighboring properties and there are some issues there that they’re working on," he said, adding that the arguments haven’t escalated into violence.