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Valley In Shock From ‘Extreme Tragedy’

Hailey cop, Bellevue mayoral candidate and local woman found dead at coffee shop

By Eric Valentine

Ashley Midby, 34, Bellevue. Photo credit: Prayers for Ashley and Justice for All Women Victims of Domestic Abuse

To the question “Can 2020 get any worse?” the local community was painfully reminded Oct. 22 the answer to the question can be shockingly affirmative.

With his second-effort Bellevue mayoral election fast approaching, Hailey police officer Jared Murphy entered a family-run, Main Street coffee shop and it is presumed the 28-year-old ended two young lives—his own and that of Ashley Midby, 34, his former girlfriend.

“It appears both individuals died as a result of gunshot wounds. The incident is currently being investigated as a possible murder-suicide. Investigators say it appears both individuals were known to each other,” read the brief statement to the press issued by Idaho State Police.

Soon after, a Facebook page titled “Prayers for Ashley and Justice for All Women Victims of Domestic Abuse” was published and images of happier days, information on vigils, and nearly 1,000 page followers poured in. Also just days after the incident, a statement from the City of Hailey was released.

“We are highly aware of and deeply concerned about the mental and emotional well-being of our entire community at this time, including our police department staff,” Mayor Martha Burke wrote in her statement. “The community at large has been offered assistance from NAMI and members of the 5B Suicide Prevention counseling staff. Local law enforcement met since this tragic incident in a critical incident counseling session with a trained professional. The Hailey City Council and I will rely on the mental health experts and the experts conducting this investigation to steer us back toward community well-being.”

Pink balloons outside the Bellevue coffee shop owned and operated by the Midby family show support and sadness. Photo credit: Prayers for Ashley and Justice for All Women Victims of Domestic Abuse

By the night of Oct. 30, scores of Valley residents, many of whom hold deep and longtime connections to Midby and her family, took part in a march along Main Street in Bellevue that ended in a candlelight vigil at the Midby family’s storefront.

With the crime still under investigation and amid a pandemic and contentious election season, domestic violence and suicide prevention organizations were quick to reach out to the media with both some requests and advice. Wood River Weekly was sent information on preferred methods of covering tragedies like this one as well as infographics and toll-free numbers people can call if they or a loved one may be experiencing thoughts that are suicidal or homicidal. We are sharing some of that information in the sidebar running along with this article and on our Facebook page.

 

Domestic Violence Support

Shelter, Legal Assistance, Prevention—The Advocates

24-Hour Hotline

(208) 788-4191

Financial Support—Idaho’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Program

If you are a victim of a violent crime, possible payment

of medical bills, lost wages, counseling, funeral bills

and more may be available.

(800) 950-2110

Donate—The Advocates

Visit online: TheAdvocatesOrg.org/shop/donate

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