Boys & Girls Club leader, husband dead in apparent murder-suicide

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by azfamily.com

Video report by Natalie Brand

Posted on February 19, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 21 at 2:16 PM

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APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. -- A local Boys & Girls Club leader and her husband were found dead inside their Apache Junction home Tuesday in an apparent murder-suicide, according to police.

About 1 p.m., Apache Junction police found the bodies of 55-year-old Brett "Kelly" Armstrong and 47-year-old Laurel "Laurie" Armstrong inside the home near Meridian Road and Lost Dutchman Boulevard.

While the deaths are still under investigation, police said Wednesday that initial evidence indicates Kelly Armstrong took the woman's life and then his own.

Laurie Armstrong served as the executive for the Apache Junction Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley. She worked for the organization for more than ten years, first serving in Safford, according to colleagues.

"She was just, you know, full of life; always providing great programs for the kids," said Ramon Elias, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley. "She was very well-respected in the community of Apache Junction. The kids loved her. This lady was incredible, the kind of work she did out there."

The Armstrongs leave behind two grown children. Laurie Armstrong is also survived by five siblings, according to her family.

"She will always be remembered as a lady who made a difference in numerous children's lives and who always cared," said Shannon Ioli, one of Laurie Armstrong's sisters. "There will probably never be anyone who will be able to fill those shoes with such dedication and personal determination to make a difference in those young lives."

While police have not released details about the investigation or a possible motive, Ioli told 3TV that Kelly Armstrong had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

"It's such a tragedy that she was taken from us," Another sister, Annie Ioli Smith, said in a statement to 3TV. "Her life was just beginning, only to be taken too soon from all her family and friends who loved her. ... She will forever be missed by everyone's lives she touched."

Full statement from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley:

Dear parents, members and community partners,

The Boys & Girls Clubs of East Valley are deeply saddened to learn about the death of Laurie Armstrong. Laurie Armstrong, our Apache Junction Branch Executive, was found dead in her home with her husband yesterday. Laurie was a leader in our organization. As our branch executive for the Apache Junction Branch, she diligently worked with our staff to provide a positive place for kids. Our deepest sympathy, thoughts and prayers go out to her family.

The club will operate as normal and we will continue to deliver the quality programs you are accustomed to. We wanted to give you an opportunity to share this information with your family. We will tell the members tomorrow after school. We will have counselor on site tomorrow as well as staff that can help your child. We understand that this news may be difficult for you and your children. We recommend that you seek counseling or someone to talk to if you find your child is having an extremely hard time dealing with the situation. Your children may even be confused and just need clarification as to what they have been told.

We have contacted the school officials so they are also aware of the difficulties that could arise from this unfortunate news.

As we work through this situation, we will make you aware of any changes, if any. Please feel free to call our main headquarters with questions or concerns. 480-820-3688. Below are some resources you can look into if you or your family feel they need assistance.

Empact -- trauma therapy services -- 480-784-1514
School counselors
Your private insurance companies may have resources
Mountain View Wellness Center

Sincerely,
Ramon Elias

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