PARK CITY, Utah - Just four days after her sister's death, Heather Gauf spoke with FOX 13 about Keri "KC" McClanahan, the victim of the homicide in Park City Thursday.
Gauf and her sister are the youngest of 10 children in their family, and are just a few years apart in age. Gauf said the two told each other everything, including KC confiding in her about her abusive marriage to Anthony McClanahan.
Gauf said there are a lot of important lessons to take away from her sisters murder about domestic violence, but she said, most importantly: "This is not going to be another one of those stories about some NFL player killing Jane Doe.”
Gauf said since KC married McClanahan, everything had been about him. She said he appeared to love KC at first, but things quickly changed.
“About six months after they were married, you know, that’s kind of when that all started to change, you know? They started to do their travels and everything together and it just became verbally abusive and physically abusive," she said.
In September, the violence came to a climax when KC texted Gauf that McClanahan punched her.
"I said get home right away. Pack your stuff," Gauf said. "I was so proud of her because she immediately did it.”
KC moved home to Washington from Arizona. A couple of weeks later, McClanahan was charged with kidnapping his eight-year-old son from a previous relationship.
Gauf said McClanahan kept confusing KC, telling her it was actually his ex, the boy's mother, who kidnapped him, and that McClanahan was the one with full custody. KC told her sister she needed to find out the truth for herself and went to Salt Lake City, where McClanahan had brought his son. Apparently he has a cousin living in the area.
But the same day KC arrived in Utah, McClanahan was arrested and taken to jail. Gauf said KC then took the opportunity to collect her things from her home in Arizona.
“That just so happened to be the exact same day that Anthony’s father posted bail for him in Utah," Gauf told FOX 13. He paid $150,000. "So he got into a car and drove to Arizona and asked her to please come home and get out of there. Unfortunately she didn’t leave soon enough.”
Gauf said her sister told McClanahan it was over between them, but she would still be there for him as a friend. This was in response to his supposed excuses about needing help with his business and other affairs. Gauf said he offered KC to go anywhere with him, suggesting Puerto Rico; they had been there recently to bring aid to the people and KC loved it there. Another place she loved - and considered moving - was Utah. Gauf said the two then went to their time share in Park City at the Park Regency Hotel.
“She assured me she was going to be okay. She had her location services on her phone. She checked in with me every four hours. She knew he was capable of some serious violence and she tried to take every precaution, but her kind heart lead her back here to still want to take care of him," Gauf said.
She said the couple was there for a few days before, "he took her life because she was going to leave him.”
Gauf said both her and McClanahan's family are saddened by the tragedy. She spoke with McClanahan's father and half brother on the phone Monday morning, but said the father could barely get the words out.
“[His brother's] like, 'I’m so sorry. He’s just a mess right now,' and I can only imagine knowing that this was your son that did something like this and you just posted $150,000 bail. He put up one of his homes to post the bail for Anthony,” Gauf said.
She said something that really bothers her is the way McClanahan allegedly took her sister's life.
“Her own protection device is what took her life. He used it against her and that just crushes me every single day," she said. Police released Friday KC's throat had been cut.
Gauf said she will continue to speak on behalf of her sister in an effort to save all other victims of domestic violence.
KC's legal name is McClanahan, but Facebook posts and a GoFundMe page now refer to her as KC Gauf. Heather Gauf refers to Anthony McClanahan as KC's ex husband.
KC leaves behind a nine-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son, both of whom are with their father and step-mother.
Gauf said she will be in Utah through Saturday at least to collect her sister's remains, meet with detectives, and make sure Anthony McClanahan is held responsible for her sister's murder. She said she will not rest until there is justice for KC.
KC's family has set up a GoFundMe account here.