Kelly Pease, Idaho mother of 5, found shot dead in parking lot

Kelly Pease

Pease family via KREM

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – A mother of five who was studying to become a registered nurse was found dead inside her car on Wednesday, and a day later the man suspected of killing her apparently took his own life, reports CBS affiliate KREM.

Kelly Pease, 37, reportedly sustained a gunshot wound to the head while in her car in the parking lot of a local hospital. Police announced that that they were looking for Steve Denson, 61, in connection to the shooting. KREM reports that court documents said Denson and Pease had previously been engaged.

On Thursday, police said a citizen saw the Nissan Pathfinder Denson was driving and called it in around 4:15 p.m. Police said when a Kootenai Co. deputy arrived where the car was parked they heard a muffled gun shot.

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s office and Coeur d’Alene Police are now investigating the apparent suicide

KREM reports that according to court documents, police were called to Pease’s home in January when Denson allegedly began to strangle, stab and hit. Pease reportedly told police that the two had been engaged but were separating. He was later arrested, charged, and ordered not to contact Pease, but allegedly broke that contact order at least once before police think he killed Pease.

“She was the absolute glue of our family,” said one of Pease’s children.

KREM reports that Pease moved to Coeur d’Alene from Montana some years ago and for the past decade had been a certified nurse’s assistant. She was at Kootenai Health on Wednesday as part of her clinical rotations to become a nurse. The money she made as a nurse would help fund her dream of buying a farm.

“She was going to have a farm full of horses, chickens. It was her number one dream, was a cabin,” said her daughter Carmen Pease.

The Pease children said their mother was loved by many and they have been overwhelmed with the amount of support they have received over the last day. There was something else they wanted to make clear: Kelly was a victim of domestic violence. They want everyone to take their mother’s death to heart.

“Even if you don’t know if it’s actually abuse, talk to somebody. Find out. Get help. Because it is an epidemic and it’s bad,” said her daughter Gabby Pease.