WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A couple found murdered in Oklahoma this month have ties to Eureka, Kansas. Larry and Debbie Dutton were found buried in the back of their Dewey, Oklahoma home last week.
In court, a 20-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder and with discharging a firearm in connection with the case. In another filing, the couple’s 17-year-old niece, whom they adopted, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of conspiracy and two counts of desecrating a body.
The two were killed between December 19 and 20 last year. A month later, they were found buried following a social check. Ring Doorbell camera video caught the two suspects dragging the bodies into the backyard.
The couple’s former church, Eureka United Methodist, is holding a memorial service in their honor. Rev. Linda Pope says it’s rare for a community to plan a memorial service for people who no longer live there, but the church felt it necessary to help process their grief and shock.
“They are shocked. They are visibly shaken,” Pope said. “How do we make sense of all of this, and how do we deliver it to a higher power? There, there are so many unanswered questions.
Another devastating blow is learning that Dutton’s adopted daughter is one of two suspects charged in their murders.
Larry Dutton was a manager at Eureka Municipal Airport and head of the local Boy Scout troop.
“I talked to people whose kids were scouting and how much they appreciated Larry for what he did to our kids,” Pope said.
The church’s worship committee is organizing the service in hopes of highlighting not how they died but how they lived.
“Everyone knows about their deaths, but there’s a lot to celebrate about their lives. We can’t predict what’s going to happen, but we felt we had to do something about it,” Pope said.
The memorial service will take place on Sunday 29 January at 2.00pm. A Facebook post from the church says everyone is welcome to attend.