An Ohio State floor mat marked the apartment where fourth-year psychology major Heather Campbell and her boyfriend, Kyle Lafferty, were found dead from an apparent murder-suicide Sunday morning.
The couple of eight months had just moved in together for the first time in August. Campbell always left her front door unlocked.
That is what allowed her best friend and neighbor at the Taylor House apartment complex, located at 5001 Olentangy River Road, to come check on her in the couple’s home early Sunday morning after not hearing from Campbell for 24 hours.
“I just walked into my best friend’s apartment and her and her boyfriend are laying on the kitchen floor dead and bleeding,” the panicked best friend said to a Columbus Police dispatcher on her 911 call.
Lafferty, a recent graduate of U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, a prestigious naval engineering school, used a handgun in what Columbus Police are investigating as a murder-suicide. The police incident report listed Lafferty as a “habitual offender.”
“I refuse to go back in there,” she said during the call. “I literally walked in their front door and they’re right there. Because she lives in my apartment building and she hasn’t answered my phone calls since yesterday. So I went in there and the door was unlocked and they were right there on the floor.”
The call log from also shows that police were at the couple’s unit the night before.
Katrina Beach, a 911 caller from the night before and resident of the apartment above Campbell’s at Taylor House, said she heard three gunshots after “extreme” arguing and banging.
One of the three gunshots ended up in the ceiling, according to the call log.
“What happened was I heard extreme arguing and I heard loud banging and it was terrifying,” Beach said to the 911 dispatcher Saturday. “And I went downstairs I said to my boyfriend ‘That sounds like domestic violence, we need to go downstairs.’”
Beach and her boyfriend, both in wheelchairs, went downstairs toward the early-morning disturbance.
“Literally just as I was passing the door I was listening outside to decide whether I should call the police and I heard three loud gunshots right after another,” Beach said.
Beach and her boyfriend then went outside to call the police from the parking lot.
“I’m outside, I don’t feel safe,” Beach said on the call. “He actually parks near me. I know this. I don’t know his name because he moved in recently and I know he parks near me.”
Lafferty’s blue Ford F-150 Raptor was still parked outside Monday afternoon.
According to The Dispatch, police officers repeatedly knocked on the door of the apartment Saturday morning and received no answer. They then left at 3:04 a.m.
According to the police log, the calls came in at 2:33 and 2:34 a.m., Sunday and Saturday respectively. Columbus Police arrived at the apartment at 2:40 a.m. Sunday to find the couple on the kitchen floor.
A medic on the scene pronounced the two dead at approximately 3:16 a.m. Sunday.
Campbell’s neighbor across the hall, Hunter Johnson, had just gotten home from work when she saw the crime scene, with police officers blocking the view inside the blood-stained apartment.
Johnson said in an interview she immediately knew something was wrong because the golden retriever puppy the couple had just gotten was not barking.
“The dog is always barking,” Johnson said. “But this time the dog wasn’t barking. It was just whimpering as I walked by.”
Update, 11:12 p.m.: This article has been updated to clarify which day the calls 911 calls were made.