Maryland Couple Dead Day After Wife Got Protective Order Against Her Husband

The couple's three young children hid in the basement amid violence in their home

A Maryland woman and her husband have died after the man killed his wife and then himself a day after she got a protective order against him, police say. 

Candace Carnathan and Calvin Carnathan, both 33, were found dead early Saturday in their home in White Plains, Maryland. It appears that Calvin Carnathan shot his wife and then killed himself, the Charles County Sheriff's Office said. 

Authorities were called to their house in the 3400 block of Amberton Court before 8 a.m. Saturday. The couple's son called 911 and said his parents were fighting and he thought he heard gunshots. 

The dispatcher told the boy and his two siblings -- who all are under age 12 -- to hide in the basement while police responded. 

Officers arrived within minutes, about 7:25 a.m., and got the children and the family's dog out of the house safely. The parents were found dead in an upstairs bedroom. 

Adult family members screamed on Saturday as they learned their loved ones had died. 

Police do not believe the children saw the violence that morning. 

Candace Carnathan got a temporary protective order against her husband at 4:30 p.m. Friday, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office said.

By 5:30 p.m., she had the order that called for her husband to stay away. He left home, in compliance with the order. 

But he returned early Saturday. 

"Ideally, [protective orders] work in the way in which they were intended, and that is that the person who was served that order respects the order. Sometimes that doesn't happen it can be a very dangerous time," said police spokeswoman Diane Richardson. 

The sheriff's office is reviewing the incident. It appears that all proper police procedures were followed, they said.

Protective orders must be followed with steps like changing the locks on a house and calling the police if someone violates a protective order in any way, Capt. Stephen Salvas said. 

"A protective order is only as strong as the paper it's written on," Salvas said. 

Still, county police say most protective orders are effective. In 2017, 1,114 protective orders were drawn up in the county. About 786 of these orders were served. Sometimes the person set to be served with the order can't be found, or the person who requested it changes their mind. None of the 2017 cases ended in murder.

County police respond to an average of 13 domestic-related calls every day. 

The children of the Carnathans are staying with family members. 

If you are in an abusive relationship, there are several resources available to you for free. The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 800-799-7233.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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