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A Divorce Related Murder/Suicide?
Monday, July 23, 2001
Couple found dead were divorcing
By Alex Branch The Wichita Eagle
A Wichita man suspected of killing his wife and himself in their Wichita home was upset over a pending divorce, friends and neighbors say. A Wichita man suspected of killing his wife and himself in their Wichita home was upset over a pending divorce, friends and neighbors say.
Lane and Stephanie Eaton were found dead Saturday at 2630 N. Dublin Court, near 29th Street North and Rock Road, by a family member, police said.
Police were awaiting autopsy results Sunday and declined to share details of their investigation except to say they think Lane Eaton was responsible for the murder-suicide. A press briefing is set for today.
Stephanie Eaton was a doctor of internal medicine and nephrology at Kansas Nephrology Physicians. Her husband was a stay-at-home father to the couple's twin 10-year-old daughters.
note: This should have assured him custody of his children but I am sure he knew it was
still unlikely he would have gotten it. CLICK HERE
The children were staying with their grandparents at the time of the deaths, police said.
Neighbors said Lane Eaton had struggled with his wife's desire to divorce and was worried about how much time he'd get to spend with his daughters.
"He seemed resigned," said Flora Nessly, a neighbor who last spoke to Lane Eaton on Friday. "Kind of deflated. I think he was really crushed by the separation."
The Eatons were married in 1986 in Oklahoma City, according to Sedgwick County court records. Stephanie Eaton filed for divorce July 16, citing incompatibility.
Dennis Ross, who works at the clinic with Stephanie Eaton, described her as feisty and well-liked among patients.
"She had built up a practice very quickly," Ross said. "I met her husband a few times, and he seemed very mild-mannered."
Eaton was slated to become a partner at the clinic but put those plans on hold until the divorce was final, Ross said.
She didn't know if she'd have to cut back her hours to take care of the children, he said.
Most of the Eatons' neighbors said they knew Lane Eaton better than his wife because he was always around. He was president of the Dublin Court Homeowners Association.
He appeared to enjoy spending most of his time with the kids, said next-door neighbor Mary Herrin.
"They played basketball and soccer," she said. "His girls were all over the neighborhood riding their bikes. They just seemed like a really nice family."
When Herrin's father died recently, Lane Eaton volunteered to go to her mother's house and plant her tomato plants for her.
"He was always happy to help out," she said.
Because of the pending divorce, Lane Eaton had moved out of the house a few weeks ago, Nessly said. So she was surprised to see him outside the house Friday.
Note: If he was a stay at home dad...why did she not have to leave the home?
"I thought he was just the greatest dad," she said. "He taught the kids to write little thank-you notes if somebody did something nice for them.
"I just don't know what happened." -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reach Alex Branch at 268-6544 or email@example.com.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2001
Physician stabbed, autopsy reveals
By Alex Branch The Wichita Eagle
Lane Eaton repeatedly stabbed his wife before turning a gun on himself, police said Monday. Lane Eaton repeatedly stabbed his wife before turning a gun on himself, police said Monday.
Lane and Stephanie Eaton, 37, were found dead Saturday in their home, at 2630 N. Dublin Court. They were in the process of getting divorced.
Autopsy results released Monday revealed that Stephanie Eaton, a Wichita physician, suffered multiple stab wounds, Lt. John Speer said. The attack apparently occurred in the dining room, where her body was discovered.
Police said they thought Lane Eaton, 39, then went upstairs and shot himself. It's unclear if the gun was kept in the house or if it was brought there.
Also unclear, police said, is what sparked the violent outburst in what neighbors and friends insist was a gentle man.
"We're still interviewing people who knew them to find out what their relationship had been like in the days leading up to this," Speer said.
Police said Monday that they found a note written by Lane Eaton at the house but would not reveal the note's contents.
Stephanie Eaton was a doctor of internal medicine and nephrology at Kansas Nephrology Physicians. Nephrology is a branch of medicine dealing with the kidneys. Her husband was a stay-at-home father to the couple's twin 10- year-old daughters.
They had moved from San Antonio to Wichita about two years ago.
Neighbors say Lane Eaton appeared to be a good father but was upset over his wife's desire for a divorce. Stephanie Eaton filed for divorce last week after 15 years of marriage.
The bodies were discovered by Lane Eaton's father after his son called and asked him to pick up the twins from a nearby hotel. Lane Eaton had apparently been staying there since moving out of the house several weeks earlier.
The father became worried and called police. He went to the house and broke a window to get in, police said.
Stephanie Eaton's family gathered there Monday to retrieve her possessions. They declined to comment.
The couple's daughters are staying with Lane Eaton's parents in Medicine Lodge.
Lane Eaton's uncle, Harold Eaton, said the family is keeping the girls busy and dealing with the tragedy together.
"We're still shocked," he said. "It is so completely out of character. He was a gentle, gentle person."
Neighbors said Lane Eaton was worried about how much time he'd get to spend with the children once the divorce was finalized.
There is more and more prove this is a main reason for male suicides following a
divorce, the lost of a everything,,,,including his children CLICK HERE
The Eatons' daughters attended the Independent School, an east Wichita private school.
Parents called the school as word of the deaths spread to ask if there was anything they could do for the girls, said Karen Norton, a school director.
Charlene Parks, a longtime friend of Lane Eaton's family, said the girls seem to be relying on faith to help get them through the tragedy. They regularly attended Central Christian Church on Sundays.
"They asked their grandparents if they could call their Sunday school teachers," Parks said. "They're wonderful girls. This is going to be hard." -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reach Alex Branch at 268-6544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wichita Eagle Home: http://web.wichitaeagle.com/
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JUNE is Domestic Violence Against Men Awareness Month