[Caption] Tiffany and Dave O'Shell met when both worked for the Lakewood Police Department. He was working on a doctoral degree in philosophy in his spare time. Tiffany left the police force during her pregnancy, then returned to work as a halfway-house guard after Alyssa was born. (Photo provided by Paul Cuin) [Link]
[Caption] Paul Cuin still struggles to forgive his son-in-law, Dave O'Shell, for the murder-suicide that took his daughter's life as O'Shell faced allegations of child abuse. "He was a wonderful man. I loved him dearly," he said. But "he had choices. He made the wrong one." Jackie Cuin found forgiveness easier. "He was going to lose his wife. His job. His military service. He was never going to get Alyssa back." (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post) [Link]
Learning from Tiffany:
...[Tiffany's father Paul] Cuin recalled his final conversation with his daughter. "The last thing she said to me was, 'Please help me save my husband and my family'"... Tiffany told her mother that Dave said he was "going to shoot people" so police would have a real reason to arrest him... He was saying scary things...
- [CO] Murder-suicide: Officer O'Shell & recently-resigned Officer O'Shell - ...The Lakewood Police Department says William O'Shell was an officer with the Lakewood Police since March 2005 in the patrol division. They say Tiffany Cuin-O'Shell was an officer from April 2006 to September 2007...
- [CO] It was Officer O'Shell who pulled the triggers - simultaneously - Lakewood police officer William O'Shell killed his wife, Tiffany Cuinn O'Shell, and himself in a murder-suicide last month near Commerce City. That was the conclusion reached by Commerce City police after autopsy results were completed...
- [CO] Officer O'Shell murder-suicide update: Baby Alyssa has died - ...Jackie Cuin, Tiffany's mother, provided a copy of an e-mail from a doctor at the University of Utah Department of Pediatrics, who reviewed Alyssa's x-rays and determined the "fractures are consistent" with spinal muscular atrophy... But even after Alyssa died from the disease this week, Commerce City police still say Dave O'Shell abused his daughter... By the time Alyssa's tests came back, however, Dave O'Shell had shot his wife to death as she slept then put the barrels of two guns in his mouth and pulled both triggers...
MISTAKEN ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE LEAD TO MURDER-SUICIDE BEFORE BABY'S RARE GENETIC DISORDER FOUND
The Denver Post
By David Olinger
[Excerpts] Jackie Cuin stood outside her daughter's house, too frightened to walk through the door. All day long, Tiffany had not called or returned a call. That wasn't like Tiffany. This was an important day. Tiffany and her husband, Dave O'Shell, were supposed to meet with lawyers and a criminal investigator about the alleged abuse of their baby girl, Alyssa. Yet, late in the afternoon, their cars were parked in the garage. And their dog, Pandora, sat unattended on the front porch... Two weeks before, on June 17, 2008, Adams County child protection workers had taken Alyssa and handed her to a foster mother. They did so after a hospital found 11 broken bones in Alyssa's 3-month-old legs, but no bruises or other signs of abuse... Clouds of suspicion swirled around Dave... Dave had gone downstairs and returned with two handguns. He put one to the right side of his sleeping wife's face and shot her twice. Then he stuck both guns in his mouth and pulled the triggers. That very day, 15 miles away, a doctor at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora detected an illness in Alyssa that others at the same hospital had not. Something in her muscles: She was 3 months old and could not lift her head... Alyssa had spinal muscular atrophy, a debilitating genetic disease in a young child, lethal in a newborn... Three and a half years later, Paul and Jackie Cuin shared their account of a family tragedy, hoping to broaden knowledge about a genetic killer of infants and to spare someone else from mistaken accusations of child abuse. They also want Colorado to give accused parents better ways to appeal if a child protection agency balks at performing tests that could disprove abuse... Cuin recalled his final conversation with his daughter. "The last thing she said to me was, 'Please help me save my husband and my family.' And I said, 'We're doing everything we can.'"... Tiffany was a red-haired tomboy. She ran cross-country, played soccer, rode a motorcycle, became a starting point guard on her high school basketball team, coached basketball — a boys team — at an Adams County middle school... Dave was a bright, ambitious police officer who also served in the National Guard and worked on a doctoral degree in philosophy in his spare time... June 26: Dave visited Charles Cooper, Tiffany's grandfather. Over a basement game of pool, he talked about going to prison. "I just cannot stand anyone else with Tiffany," he said... Tiffany, who had her own lawyer, confided to a friend that her lawyer recommended filing for divorce if she wanted her baby back... June 28: Tiffany told her mother that Dave said he was "going to shoot people" so police would have a real reason to arrest him... He was saying scary things... Today, Paul Cuin still struggles to forgive Dave. "He was a wonderful man. I loved him dearly," he said. But "he had choices. He made the wrong one." Jackie found forgiveness easier. "I get it. I understand. He loved her too much," she said. "He was going to lose his wife. His job. His military service. He was never going to get Alyssa back." Still, "I'm heartbroken. There's no other words"... [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder suicide child protection services welfare colorado state politics]