FENNVILLE, Mich. — The Allegan County Sheriff's Office says a 34-year-old man from Fennville shot and killed his family Saturday afternoon, before turning the gun on himself.
Dispatch calls from Allegan County around 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 indicate that there was a history of domestic violence in the family.
Police say 35-year-old Cindy Clouse and her two daughters were shot and killed by Kyle Hagger in their Lee Township home.
Clouse's friend, Mallory Ruff, identified Hagger as Clouse's husband, and the 10-and-13-year-old girls as Mackenzie and Autumn.
"(Clouse) was just a loving person and she loved her kids and they were her world," Ruff says. "We have kids that are the same age. In fact, my oldest was forming a friendship with her oldest. I think our eldest's are about a month apart. And then our youngest's are maybe a year or two apart. But still, there was that. So we would you know, swap stories about our preteens or teens, and the pros and the cons about it. Or we talk about our married life or how our long hours affected our lives, just different things that we would relate on."
Ruff says they met at work, and they became close over the past two-and-a-half years as they moved onto other jobs in the healthcare industry. She says she just spoke with Clouse a couple of days ago to try and get them and their girls together.
"A lot of bosses come off really unapproachable and power trippy. She was not that way," she says. "She would go to bat for you. She'd look out for you. She let your voice be heard. She was kind."
Ruff says Clouse would open up about some problems in the marriage, but never with anything that was overly concerning.
"I think that victims are really good at hiding the abuse, they hide the abuse for a multitude of reasons," Tara Aday, senior program director with Safe Haven Ministries, says.
When she saw the news, she says she had a gut-wrenching feeling.
"It feels like, you know, every, every few weeks or months, I'm seeing headlines like this," Aday says. "St. John's, Gratiot, Kalamazoo County, Kent County Oceana County. Lives are being lost to domestic violence, kids lives are being lost to domestic violence. And it is this horrific thing coming out of a pandemic."
She says the prevalence of domestic violence in West Michigan is astronomical, and along with Safe Haven Ministries, there is help across the area.
"We also have Sylvia's Place in Allegan County, Resilience in Ottawa County," Aday says. "We also have another domestic violence agency in Kent County, the YWCA. And so (we're) just really encouraging survivors to make that brave step to reach out and allow organizations to help if that's what they're ready for."
"I want her to be remembered as a beautiful person inside and out and a wonderful mom, and I want her kids to be remembered the same way," Ruff says.
The Allegan County Sheriff's Office is urging anyone with more information on this case to reach out to them or Silent Observer.
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