Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  DCI Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Friday, April 27, 2012
(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office

Henry County Death Ruled A Suicide

Olds, IOWA --- On April 25, 2012, at approximately 4:30 PM, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa State Patrol responded to a 911 call placed from a residence in Olds, Iowa.  The caller, 50 year old Debra Layton-Harville, informed the dispatcher that she had been badly beaten by her husband, 43 year old John A Harville. She indicated that Mr. Harville was still at the residence and had a gun. While Layton-Harville was speaking to the dispatcher, a single gunshot was heard in the background.

Upon arriving at the residence, located at 201 South Smith Street, officers made contact with Debra Layton-Harville who had sustained multiple injuries to her face.  Debra Layton-Harville reported that she had been tied up and assaulted by her husband for several hours.  Officers searched the remainder of the residence and discovered John Harville on the kitchen floor with an apparent gunshot wound to the head.  Upon further examination, a .380 semi-automatic handgun was located in John Harville’s hand. John Harville was pronounced dead at the scene. Debra Layton-Harville was transported to the University of Iowa Hospital to receive treatment for her injuries.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and Iowa State Patrol, conducted an investigation into the domestic assault and the death of John Harville.  An autopsy was conducted at the University of Iowa’s Decedent Care Center, which determined that Harville died as the result of a close contact gunshot wound to the head, consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

As a result of the investigation and autopsy, John Harville’s death has been ruled a suicide.

Local Contact:  Special Agent Jeff Uhlmeyer at (319) 759-2541


Note: A criminal charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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