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Suspect Named, Victims Identified In Burlington Cleaver Attack

A house in Burlington with a police car in front of it.
Taylor Dobbs
VPR File
The site of the attack in Burlington's old north end.

Police say a man who allegedly killed his wife and attempted to kill her mother in Burlington Thursday called authorities to confess to domestic violence on Oct. 7, but an investigation found no evidence of a crime.

Update 12:45 p.m. 10/13/2017

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo says officers conducted a thorough domestic violence investigation just days before 34-year-old Aita Gurung allegedly murdered his wife, Yogeswari Khadka, with a meat cleaver. As part of that investigation, del Pozo says, Khadka told police in an interview at her place of work that Gurung had not committed a crime, although she mentioned that he may have been off medication that he took to manage a mental illness.

Police also sent Gurung to the University of Vermont Medical Center for treatment for mental health issues.

Del Pozo says Gurung's father-in-law told police that he was voluntarily released from UVM Medical Center on Thursday, where his wife picked him up. Less than three hours later, she was dead.

Gurung is scheduled to be arraigned on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder at 1 p.m. Friday.

In a statement, Chief Brandon del Pozo said Aita Gurung, 34, of Burlington, was arrested for the murder of his wife Yogeswari Khadka, 32.

Del Pozo said the attack is believed to have started in the kitchen of 72 Hyde Street in the city's North End.

"It spilled out onto the street, where it was witnessed by several neighbors," the chief said in a statement. "Some of them attempted to intervene, including a man armed with a firearm who held the suspect at bay momentarily, but they were wary of being attacked themselves."

A team of officers approached Gurung and used the cover of a ballistic shield to take him into custody, del Pozo said.

Khadka's mother, Thulsa Rimal, 54, was also attacked. She suffered severe injuries to her head and is listed in critical but stable condition at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

The couple's child, 8, was at school at the time and was unharmed.

Del Pozo reported that police had limited contact with Gurung until Oct. 7 when he "sought police attention for mental health issues and concerns about his deteriorating relationship with his wife."

Police called EMS and he was transported to UVM Medical Center, where his father-in-law reported he was voluntarily admitted for a mental health evaluation.

Upon his request, he was discharged Thursday, del Pozo said.

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