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January 10, 2004

Morrow, Delaware officials still putting together events that led to three deaths

From: Marion Star, OH - Jan 10, 2004

The Marion Star

CARDINGTON -- Law enforcement agencies in Morrow and Delaware counties still are piecing together the murders of two Morrow County women and the death of their suspected killer.

The bodies of Kathleen Vanbuskirk, 42, and her daughter Jenna Vanbuskirk, 16, were discovered in the living room of their home three miles south of Cardington at approximately 10:25 a.m. Friday. They had been shot sometime after 11 p.m. Thursday, and the suspected murderer was Kathleen Vanbuskirk's former boyfriend, Briane E. Nutter.

Authorities spent most of Friday afternoon surrounding Nutter's home in Delaware County. After failing to reach the deaf man on his text telephone, SWAT teams entered his home at 50 Prospect St. They found him dead, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, reported Morrow County Sheriff Tom Harden.

The Morrow County Coroner will rule on the cause of death for the mother and daughter, while the Delaware County Coroner will conduct an autopsy of Nutter.

Authorities said Nutter and Kathleen Vanbuskirk had dated the last seven months and lived together at her home, 2711 Township Road 254. Kathleen Vanbuskirk reportedly asked Nutter to move out Thursday.

Nutter was a janitor at the Hickory Knolls school in Delaware and described by friends and neighbors as a nice man. Kathleen Vanbuskirk was the home administrator for the Delaware-Union County Association of Developmental Disabilities for 18 years.

Police have been to the Vanbuskirk house on two domestic disturbance calls in the past, said Detective-Sergeant Paul Mills. However, the murders came as a shock to neighbors.

"You wouldn't think our little, quiet neighborhood would ever be like this," said neighbor Tammy Tucker. "It makes you think and wonder."

Tucker's daughter was a classmate of Jenna Vanbuskirk at Cardington High School. Students learned of her murder after school Friday, said Cardington High School Principal Bill Clauss.

He described Jenna Vanbuskirk as a bright girl who was allowed to skip her junior year and graduate early. She planned on attending college, Clauss said.

Clauss said the school's three counselors and area ministers will be on hand when school opens Monday morning for students in need of counseling. He said students at Friday's basketball game were saddened by the news but reacting appropriately.

"Teenagers are pretty resilient," Clauss said.

Marion Star reporters Jillian Daley and Monica Torline can be reached at 1-800-626-1331.

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