Photos show a happy family enjoying Disneyland at Christmas. A 7-year-old boy and his 5-year-old sister smile, their faces painted. One shot has the little girl proudly showing off her princess costume. Mom and dad appear happy and healthy as well.
But all was not well with the father, 34-year-old Joshua Boren.
The police officer is believed a few weeks later to have fatally shot his wife, the children, his mother-in-law, and then himself.
Lindon Police Chief Cody Cullimore told reporters in Utah that was uncharacteristic of Boren, who was described as "a great officer" and "very likable." Asked later about an incident from when Boren was a Utah County sheriff's deputy, Cullimore answered he was unaware before hiring the deceased that he had been disciplined for shooting a stray dog while on duty.
There were apparently signs of marital discord between the Borens before the grisly discovery on Jan. 16 at their Spanish Fork, Utah, home. Officers had gone there to check on Boren because he didn't show up for his night shift with the Lindon Police Department.
Besides the body of Boren, those of his 34-year-old wife, Kelly; their two children, Joshua (called Jaden), 7, and Haley, 5; and Kelly's 55-year-old mother, Marie King, were found.
Police say they were never called to the home during the four years the family lived in Spanish Fork, and court records do not indicate that Joshua Boren had a history of violent crimes or domestic abuse.
But two of Kelly Boren's friends reportedly told The Salt Lake Tribune that she had separated from Joshua even before the trip to Anaheim because she felt unsafe around him.
Earlier the same day the bodies were found, Kelly sent a text message to her friend RiRi Whiting explaining she'd decided to get a divorce and that she couldn't stand Joshua's rage anymore.
Whiting texted back, "Rage?"
Kelly replied she'd explain later that night at the gym.
She never made it.
Whenever I am at Disneyland or California Adventure, I always wonder how so many of these young families can even afford to be there, especially these days. Guess I have something else to wonder about now. You can escape real life at the resort, but you ultimately cannot escape real life.