Kahuku grad and daughter killed

Date: 2003-03-01

Kahuku grad and daughter killed

The husband's arrest follows the discovery of two victims in a fatal stabbing in Utah

February 26, 2003
Nelson Daranciang
Star Bulletin

Sione Niu said he tried to persuade his daughter not to marry Brian Sullivan because of Sullivan's violent temper and lifestyle.

Niu of Laie was in a Salt Lake City suburb yesterday to arrange for the return of the bodies of his daughter and 4-year-old granddaughter to Hawaii. LaRae Niu-Sullivan's husband, Brian Sullivan, was in custody and is expected to be charged with murder today.

"I wasn't really surprised. I knew and I told LaRae several times, 'Leave the man, he's going to kill you some day,'" Niu said.

Police discovered the bodies of LaRae Niu-Sullivan, 33, and daughter Kehaulani Marie Sullivan, 4, in their West Valley City, Utah, home about 3 p.m. Friday. Police went there after a sister of the suspect expressed concern for the victims' well-being and asked police to check on them, said Capt. Craig Black, West Valley City Police Department spokesman.

Niu said his daughter and granddaughter were stabbed to death.

Less than 30 minutes after the discovery of the bodies, police in Murray City arrested Sullivan, 38, at a public mental health clinic. The clinic staff called police based on statements Sullivan made at the facility, Black said.

Sullivan could face the death penalty if convicted. "This is potentially a capital case," Black said.

It was Sullivan's older sister who called police, said Niu.

"Brian had told her that he may have hurt them," Black said.

The couple married in 1996 after meeting on a trip to Israel arranged by Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Niu said. Sullivan, originally from Connecticut, was living in Hawaii after graduating from the school and completing a church mission, he said.

The couple had moved into their new home three years ago, and police had no record of domestic violence calls at the home.

Niu-Sullivan worked full-time as a nurse with long-term care patients at South Davis Community Hospital in Bountiful, Utah, and part-time as a ticketing agent for Continental Airlines.

Her supervisor at the hospital said Niu-Sullivan's trademark was her smile. "Her co-workers admired and respected her. And I can't tell you how much our patients loved her," said Michelle Nielsen, the hospital's director of nursing.

The patients and staff will hold a memorial service at the hospital tomorrow to help them cope with their loss, Nielsen said.

Niu-Sullivan was the family's main provider, her stepmother said. "Brian did not hold down a job consistently. If he ever had one, it was never to support the home," said Lynn Niu.

The former LaRae Niu grew up in Laie and attended Laie Elementary and Kahuku High School. She attended BYUH for a few years then went on to Kapiolani Community College, where she received a degree in nursing, her father said. She moved to Utah in 1995.

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