PEOPLE Explains: Ohio State Student Killed by Boyfriend in Murder-Suicide, Police Say
Police say Kyle Lafferty shot and killed Heather Campbell before killing himself last weekend in Columbus, Ohio
A 22-year-old Ohio State University student was found dead last weekend in Columbus, Ohio, after being shot by her boyfriend, according to police.
Here are four things to know about the case.
1. Killings Likely Domestic-Related, Not Random
Authorities found Kyle Lafferty and 22-year-old Heather Campbell both dead with gunshot wounds in a Columbus apartment around 2:33 a.m. A Columbus Police Department spokesperson tells PEOPLE that the killings were not random and likely stemmed from a domestic incident.
Police say it’s unclear whether Campbell lived at the home, but the spokesperson says she and Lafferty may have been living together.
Campbell’s grandmother told the Columbus Dispatch that they had just rented the apartment together after dating for about eight months.
“She seemed like she adored him and he seemed to adore her,” the grandmother said, according to the paper. “He’d been here and met most of the family. Everyone liked him a lot. He had a really good job. They seemed to be making plans for the future.”
2. Bodies Were Discovered by Victim’s Friend
A woman who knew both Campbell and Lafferty found them dead at the residence, on Olentangy River Road, the police spokesperson says.
The woman, who described herself as Campbell’s best friend, reportedly called 911 after discovering the bodies in the kitchen.
“I refuse to go back in there,” she said, according to The Lantern, Ohio State’s student newspaper.
“I literally walked in their front door and they’re right there,” the friend continued. “Because she lives in my apartment building and she hasn’t answered my phone calls since yesterday. So I went in there and the door was unlocked and they were right there on the floor.”
“I don’t know what to do,” the friend said while sobbing, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
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3. Killer Was ‘Potentially Going to Be an Ex’
Columbus police say Lafferty “was a current boyfriend or potentially going to be an ex-boyfriend,” noting that investigators are awaiting a toxicology report to determine the pair’s physical state at the time of the killings.
According to reports, a tenant above the apartment where Campbell and Lafferty were found dead had reported an apparent altercation between them the day before their bodies were discovered.
“I heard extreme arguing. I heard loud banging,” the woman told a dispatcher in an early-morning call Saturday, according to the Dispatch. “It was terrifying. I said [to my boyfriend], ‘That sounds like domestic violence. We need to go downstairs.’ ”
She said that as they were going to the other apartment, they heard three gunshots, the Lantern reports. She then went outside and called police, according to the paper.
Police responded soon after to the downstairs apartment but got no answer at the door and left after checking to see if other people had reported gunshots, according to the Dispatch.
Campbell and Lafferty were found inside the next day, by her friend.
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4. School Community and Friends Are ‘Heartbroken’
Campbell, of Strongsville, Ohio, was a psychology major, Ohio State officials tell PEOPLE. She was finishing up her degree and was a former officer in the Navy, her grandmother told the Dispatch.
Lafferty was a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, according to the paper.
“We are heartbroken to learn about this tragedy,” Ohio State said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this incredibly difficult time.”
Those who knew Campbell have remembered her as “caring” and “full of life.” (PEOPLE could not immediately reach her family.)
“I can’t believe this is real. My heart is broken. i love you so much heather.I know you’re in heaven right now, or where ever it is that good people go because you are an amazing person,” one person wrote in a Facebook post alongside photos of Campbell with friends.
The post continued, “You seriously helped make me who I am and have always been such a big part of my life.”