Police: Burlington man killed wife in cleaver attack

Published: Oct. 12, 2017 at 3:01 PM EDT
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A mother’s life stolen by domestic violence.

"I heard a blood-curdling scream that you just can't make up," said Sam Rollo, who was working nearby the attack.

Investigators say Yogeswari Khadka, 32, is dead after her husband struck her hands, arms and skull with a meat cleaver. Burlington Police arrested Aita Gurung, 34, Thursday afternoon. The refugee family from Nepal was living at a Hyde Street home in the Old North End. Police tell us it’s where Gurung also went after his mother-in-law, Tulasa Rimal, who is being treated at UVM Medical Center. Khadka and Gurung’s 8-year-old was at school when the attack happened.

"I have never seen anything like that in my life," said Sally Martin, a neighbor. "It's a sin. It's really bad. They were nice people."

Police say Gurung was just seeking help from mental health professionals. He walked out of UVM Medical Center the day of the killing. Investigators believe he voluntarily checked himself into the hospital for an evaluation Saturday and left upon his own request.

“It’s heartbreaking, first of all," said Kelly Dougherty, the executive director of Steps to End Domestic Violence. "Immediately, I think about the family and what must have been going on in this household.”

Dougherty says one in three women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. She says sometimes cultural barriers can keep people from reaching out for help, but that her organization does provide interpreter services.

"This is a huge problem in our community, and, unfortunately, I think people only think about it when these tragic events occur," said Dougherty.

Gurung is behind bars at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility on charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder.

WCAX News reached out to the UVM Medical Center for more details on Gurung and what happened during his recent visit. Hospital officials cited federal patient privacy regulations and said they could not provide any information.