Police: Man kills wife, self day after judge grants protective order

Credit: Pixabay

Credit: Pixabay

A Maryland couple are dead in an apparent murder-suicide that authorities say unfolded the day after the wife obtained a protective order meant to keep her husband from harming her.

Charles County Sheriff's Office officials identified the couple as Candace and Calvin Carnathan, both 33 years old, of White Plains. The shooting took place about 15 hours after a judge ordered Calvin Carnathan to stay away from the scene of the crime.

Candace Carnathan was granted a temporary restraining order Friday afternoon, and it was served to her husband within an hour of it being issued, a Sheriff's Office news release stated. Members of the Sheriff's Office's domestic violence unit delivered the order to Calvin Carnathan.

"In that protective order, the husband was ordered to vacate the house and have no contact with his wife or children," the news release said.

WJLA in Washington reported that the couple's children include a 12-year-old girl, and two boys, ages 10 and 7.

Calvin Carnathan defied the judge’s order and was back at the couple’s home the next morning. It was not clear if he forced his way inside or if his wife let him in, but the investigation was ongoing Monday.

"We can't foresee what's going to happen once a protective order is served," Diane Richardson, a spokesman for the Charles County Sheriff's Office, said during a news conference attended by WJLA reporters. "I mean, ideally, they work in the way in which they were intended, and that is that the person who was served the order respects the order.

“Sometimes that doesn’t happen and it can be a very dangerous time.”

The first indication of trouble came just before 7:30 a.m. Saturday, when the couple’s older son called 911 to report a fight between his parents. The boy said he was with his siblings and that he thought he heard gunshots.

A dispatcher, who remained on the phone with the boy, told him to take his siblings and to hide in the basement. When officers arrived a few minutes later, they got the children out of the house to safety.

Both parents were found dead in an upstairs bedroom, the news release said. Preliminary findings showed that the husband shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself.

It was not immediately clear why Candace Carnathan sought the order against her husband. The case remained under investigation Monday.  WUSA in Washington reported that neighbors said the couple was going through a bitter divorce.

Investigators said the couple’s children, as well as the family dog, are in the custody of relatives, the news station reported.

Calvin Carnathan’s brother shared a photo of the couple on Facebook in their memory.

"Rest peacefully," Tommie Carnathan wrote. "Please pray for their children. Thank you."

A candlelight vigil was held Sunday night in White Plains in Candace Carnathan’s memory.

A man named Byron Westbrook described the woman as a positive person who always had a smile on her face.

"It's not fair what happened to you," Westbrook wrote. "You'll always be loved by your fam and friends."

Commenters on social media praised the dispatcher’s handling of the young boy’s phone call but lamented the fact that the protective order obtained by the victim did no good.

"Protective orders are like signing your death certificate," a woman named Shiela Hudson wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to Maryland weather and news. "Totally worthless. Seems like a few days after women get one, they're dead."

“How horrible that the system failed the mom and her children,” Lisa Higgs Johnson wrote. “There needs to be a change. The protective orders did not protect people in the 80s, and still are not protecting victims.”

“To open this story and find out it’s someone you know,” Tameyka Williams wrote. “(You) never know what people are enduring. RIH (rest in heaven) Candace.”

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