Pulaski County Sheriff’s investigators said a Faulkner County man killed his ex-wife and her mother before killing himself late Wednesday in an unincorporated area just outside of North Little Rock.
Deputies responded to a house at 7109 Forest Dale Drive at around 9:50 p.m. Wednesday after a resident said a man was shooting a gun. When they arrived, the found Daniel Dewitt, 32, and his ex-wife, 31-year-old Amanda Dewitt, dead outside the house. Inside, they found the body of Debra Allen, 61.
According to court records, the Dewitts’ divorce had been granted on Monday.
Pulaski County sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Robert Garrett said the divorce decision may have been “the catalyst” that made Daniel Dewitt act more violently, but investigators said they do not know specifically what was going through his mind.
The divorce decree by Faulkner County Judge David Clark granted Amanda Dewitt sole custody of the couple’s two children.
According to court records, Daniel Dewitt filed for divorce on April 7, citing daily fighting and being blamed for poor living conditions because he was no longer the primary earner.
On July 8, Amanda Dewitt filed for an order of protection against her husband, citing 26 incidents of harassment, failure to exchange possession of the children according to custody rulings, taking his children from her possession without her knowledge and an alleged attempted break-in.
The request was denied because the judge ruled it did not fit the definition of domestic abuse but he scheduled a hearing on July 30 to determine if there was cause for an order of protection. Amanda Dewitt dropped the request on July 27 because she said Daniel Dewitt had not threatened physical abuse or committed physical abuse, and she thought the petition would be rejected.
After granting temporary joint legal custody on Sept. 11, the court ultimately gave Amanda Dewitt sole custody of the children, ages 9 and 2, in the divorce decree, with visitation to be determined by her.
Daniel Dewitt also had no child support obligation, according to the order.
Thursday afternoon, family and friends gathered at the Forest Dale Drive home, where Amanda Dewitt and Allen lived with the two children. The one-story residence sits at the back of a loop coming east off of MacArthur Drive. An American flag hung from the south side of the residence.
A man who walked out of the residence said there has been “a lot of st” going on at and around the residence recently.
Garrett confirmed there were incidents at the address, but all of them were nonviolent.
“We don’t know what changed between then and what happened [Wednesday] night,” Garrett said.