Police identify couple in apparent murder-suicide in Lawrence

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LAWRENCE – Lawrence police surrounded a northeast side apartment early Monday morning following an apparent murder-suicide involving a married couple.

Dispatchers received a call for help in the 5800 block of Agawam Drive around 4:15 a.m. That’s inside the Salem Courthouse apartment complex near East 56th Street and Caito Drive.

A short time later, Fox59 learned police found two people deceased, an adult male and female. Police have identified them as Jeff and Shelly Nelson. Both are 31 years old.

Police found Shelly Nelson dead inside an apartment, a victim of possible blunt force trauma. Jeff Nelson was found a short distance away in a wooded area suffering from a fatal gunshot wound. A firearm was recovered in the woods near Jeff him, police said.

Neighbors told Fox 59 News they heard screaming and, later, a single gunshot.  They said the husband is a maintenance worker at Salem Courthouse Apartments.

Officials said five children were inside the apartment at the time of the incident, including two teenagers, an 8-year-old, a 7-year-old, and a 5-year-old child. A Lawrence police spokesperson didn’t know if the children witnessed the crime, but Child Protective Services responded to the scene to assist.

The two teens were injured in the incident, police said. Medics transported them to Community North Hospital for treatment, and police said their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

The children are from previous relationships; the couple didn’t have children between them, according to attorney Angela Swenson. The two teens are Shelly Nelson’s kids from a previous marriage. The 5-year-old is Shelly Nelson’s from a previous relationship. The 8-year-old and 7-year-old children are Jeff Nelson’s from a previous marriage.

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