Butterfield: ‘She was like a little sister to me’ | ParkRecord.com

Butterfield: ‘She was like a little sister to me’

A grief-stricken Joe Butterfield, who was a close friend of the victims, talks with Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds at the home in Oakley on Sunday afternoon. Photo by Nan Chalat Noaker/PARK RECORD

In the aftermath of the violent deaths of two close friends this weekend, Joe Butterfield says he is struggling with conflicting emotions – anger, love, sorrow and regret.

Butterfield was a longtime friend of both Toni Cavagnaro and Sean Kenealey, the victims of the apparent murder-suicide in Oakley. It was Butterfield who discovered the bodies and called the sheriff’s department on Sunday.

Tuesday, Butterfield was still reeling. "I am mad at him, about what he did to Toni and what he did to himself," he said.

Butterfield said the two had been together for about 10 years and had been engaged to be married, but Cavagnaro had broken off the engagement two months ago.

"She was getting her life back together but he was having a hard time," said Butterfield, adding that on Saturday Cavagnaro had returned to the home in Oakley to retrieve some of her belongings.

Butterfield, though, said there was no "inkling" that she was in danger. "I never would have let her go by herself. I never thought he would do something like that."

He said Cavagnaro was "like a little sister to me" and that many people in the community are grieving her death.

Cavagnaro worked as a bartender at the Red Tail Grill at Canyons where Butterfield is a manager. They met a decade ago when Cavagnaro worked at the Pig Pen Saloon at Park City Mountain Resort.

"She was extremely giving. She would give whatever she had, even if it meant she would go without. It still baffles me how generous she was," he said.

Butterfield’s friendship with Kenealey goes back even farther. "We worked construction together for about 10 years," he said, estimating they had been friends for about 27 years.

However, Butterfield says Kenealey was "a difficult person to love." He had a tough exterior that masked a "compassionate, sincere person." According to Butterfield, Kenealey had an unhappy childhood and became estranged from his family in Hawaii.

"I don’t know what drove him over that dark wall. I loved him, as did many people in this community," said Butterfield. "I am so sad I didn’t see it coming, that I didn’t do more to help."

See related article: Sheriff characterizes Oakley case as murder-suicide

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