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Suspect charged in alleged murder of former West High School teacher in Salt Lake City

Nathan Edwin Parry. Photo: Salt Lake County

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 10, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Almost seven months after the death of former West High School teacher Becky Sullivan, a suspect has been charged with her murder.

A warrant was issued Friday for Nathan Edward Parry, 34, the boyfriend of Sullivan. He called 911 on Oct. 20 of last year reporting he believed his girlfriend to be dead after what he described as “aggressive sex.”

Arriving officers at Parry’s Park Street residence found 41-year-old Rebecca “Becky” Michelle Sullivan, fully clothed, in cardiac arrest. She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Doctors noted she had a V-shaped laceration on her forehead and marks on her neck consistent with strangulation.

Parry has been charged in 3rd District Court with murder, a first-degree felony, and obstructing justice, a second-degree felony. His bail has been set at $1 million.

Sullivan had taught French at West High during the 2017-2018 school year.

A probable cause statement filed Friday states that on the night of Sullivan’s death, Parry told officers that he and Sullivan had a fight at a party earlier, then each went home.

He said that later, Sullivan came to his residence, and they began to have sex after placing restraints on their necks. Both began to lose consciousness, Parry told officers, adding that he came around and cut himself and Sullivan down.

“Parry stated ‘I hope she is OK … this is what happens when you have aggressive sex,” the probable cause statement says.

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“An ER doctor advised medics that Ms. Sullivan’s injuries did not appear consistent with Parry’s report of aggressive sexual activity,” the statement says. “Upon being informed of Ms. Sullivan’s death, Parry stated that he and Ms. Sullivan were trying to commit suicide together, but he had cut them down.”

Investigators documenting the crime scene said Parry’s explanation did not match the evidence, the statement says.

In addition, the Medical Examiner said medical findings were not consistent with Parry’s explanation of events. Sullivan’s cause of death was found to be ligature asphyxiation. Her manner of death could not be determined.

A subsequent search of Parry’s cellphone found that at 10:52 p.m. on the night of her death, Sullivan texted Parry saying she was at his house but locked out. He read the text at 11:06 p.m., the probable cause statement says.

At 11:40 p.m., Parry’s phone shows an outgoing call to his ex-wife, lasting one minute and 41 seconds.

His ex-wife later told police that Parry told her “Rebecca is dead” and “hung herself right in front of me.”

Seconds after finishing the call to his ex-wife, Parry made his only call to 911 regarding Sullivan’s possible death, the statement says.


Rebecca Sullivan. Photo: Obituary


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