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Divorcing couple found dead in Overland Park

An Overland Park husband and wife who had recently filed for divorce were found dead Thursday in an apparent murder-suicide.

Debra Beaver, 56, was found with a gunshot wound to the neck in a car in a southern Overland Park subdivision near 143rd Street and Nall Avenue.

Barry Beaver, 58, whom police had been looking for since the shooting, was found dead near 139th Street and Lamar Avenue.

Court records show they had filed for divorce in October and had been going through mediation.

Officers were first alerted to a problem about 10:15 a.m. Thursday when someone reported the sound of gunshots in the 5800 block of West 145th Street in the Lionsgate by the Park neighborhood. In a car there, police discovered Debra Beaver with critical injuries. She was taken to a hospital but did not survive.

Authorities found her husband dead about 2:30 p.m. inside a maroon truck not far from the site of the original shooting.

As a precaution, some schools in the area kept children inside from recess during the search for Barry Beaver.Crime scene investigators from Overland Park and the Johnson County sheriff’s office collected evidence from the car where Debra Beaver was found. It had five gunshots through the windshield and a shattered front passenger-side window.

Overland Park police spokeswoman Michelle Koos would not discuss a motive behind the shooting.

Court records show the Beavers had been scheduled to attend a mediation hearing for their divorce as recently as last Tuesday.The investigation had neighbors throughout the area wondering just what could have gone so terribly wrong.

Rob Jones, a retired MedAct battalion chief, was in his kitchen when he heard about five gunshots. He knows the sound of gunfire but dismissed it, given that roofers were working in the normally quiet neighborhood.

“Well, it’s very frightening. In this neighborhood you don’t expect that,” said Jones, who responded to many shootings during the course of his career.

Another neighbor, Mary Anderson, heard sirens but didn’t think much of it at first.

“I was just surprised. Nothing ever happens here,” Anderson said.

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