New details released in Cottonwood Heights murder

Posted at 4:45 PM, Nov 26, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-28 14:09:31-05

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah - A Cottonwood Heights woman was found dead in her home Monday, and her daughter was booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, facing a charge of aggravated murder.

An investigation started Monday afternoon when Unified Police were notified that someone may have been driving under the influence in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Police say they followed an SUV and noted that it was swerving all over the road before crashing.

The driver of the SUV spontaneously told police that his wife, Zita Gruodis, was dead at a Cottonwood Heights residence.

Cottonwood Heights police responded to a residence at 7941 S 3350 E and found Zita Gruodis dead with injuries consistent with homicide. Jail documents state that police found her body in a bed with numerous knife wounds.

Gruodis' daughter, Airida Maria Gruodis, was at the home when police arrived.

Police said they believe the victim and her daughter fought a few days ago and that may be when the woman's death occurred.

Sgt. Gary Young of the Cottonwood Heights Police Department said police have been to the residence several times for domestic disturbances. Randy Walters, a neighbor, said paramedics have also responded to the home.

"[Airida] has a history of mental issues - been in and out of mental institution - and so she wasn't really allowed to live there," Walters said. "The husband, Peter, I've only seen him once in ten years."

According to police, Airida admitted to not taking her medication recently.

FOX 13 learned Zita Gruodis had a restraining order against Airida, which she allegedly violated last February. Airida was arrested for cohabitant abuse. She was scheduled to appear in court next month for the alleged violation.

The victim's husband, Peter Paul Gruodis, and her daughter, Airidia Gruodis, were both booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail. Airida Gruodis, 36, faces charges of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and aggravated assault by a prisoner, a second-degree felony. Peter Gruodis, 60, faces a class B misdemeanor charge of simple assault.

Police told FOX 13 News that Peter Gruodis was booked into jail for his own protection, as he is afflicted with mental illness.