Utah Woman Charged With Murder in Unfulfilled Suicide Pact

Rachel Acenas
By Rachel Acenas
May 2, 2024US News
Utah Woman Charged With Murder in Unfulfilled Suicide Pact
Police tape in a file photo. (Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo)

A Utah woman has been charged with murder after killing a friend, but not herself, in an unfulfilled suicide pact.

Heavenly Faith Garfield, 21, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with first-degree murder and discharge of a firearm.

Police were called to a Saratoga Springs home in the afternoon on a report that a 21-year-old female died from a gunshot wound. Police found a deceased woman had been shot in the head. Detectives found a 9mm bullet near the victim’s body.

Ms. Garfield’s father called 911 and told dispatchers that his daughter had shot the victim around 10:45 a.m.

Through interviews with several family members of Ms. Garfield, detectives eventually learned that the two friends had been planning on killing themselves “for multiple weeks,” according to Saratoga Springs Police.

The victim’s name has not been released. Police obtained text messages from the victim’s friend stating that she intended to commit suicide and that Ms. Garfield was the partner in the suicide agreement, police said.

Previous text messages also revealed that Ms. Garfield expressed her intention to go through with it but was “too scared” to kill herself, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Ms. Garfield remains booked in the Utah County Jail without bail.

Suicide pacts are rare, according to the FBI. Less than one percent of all suicides are part of pacts, data shows.

Federal government data shows that Utah has one of the highest rates of death by suicide in the U.S., according to government data. Utah’s health department said 85 percent of firearm deaths in Utah are suicides.

In February 2022, a University of Utah student was charged with murder following an alleged unfulfilled suicide agreement. Haoyu Wang, 26, was accused of administering a lethal dose of heroin to his girlfriend. He claimed he also injected himself with the drug but survived.

In December 2022, a man in Ogden, Utah, was charged with manslaughter for allegedly aiding an acquaintance in a suicide pact. Anthony Paul Franklin, 41, was found in a vehicle alongside a 44-year-old victim who suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head. Mr. Franklin admitted to police that he made a suicide pact with the victim and provided her access to a firearm.

Suicide rates increased by approximately 36 percent between 2000–2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, CDC data shows.

Call the 24-hour, confidential Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 if you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm, suicide, or experiencing emotional distress. Trained crisis counselors are available to call or text.

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