July 7, 2010
To say what happened in a house in the small community of Assaria is a shock to the residents here is quite the understatement.
Don Long is one of the local residents who just had to see the crime scene and police presence here to believe this really happened in Assaria.
"This is really shocking in a small town like this. You just don't expect something like this in a small town. This is something that usually happens in the city," Long said.
But, it’s a taste of big city life that people here could do without. Yellow ribbons around trees in towns like Assaria, are usually to remember a soldier away in the service, not to mark a crime. Valerie Paulson was stabbed to death late Tuesday. Her estranged husband Michael was arrested.
"She lost her life and this is something that doesn't normally happen in a community so small so, I think, a lot of people are reflecting today on what has happened." Assaria Resident, Kelli Rundquist said.
Lisa Crabtree lives near Michael and Valerie Paulson’s home. She says she knew Valerie from visits at the post office and because their children played together. She never suspected any problems at the home.
"It's just weird because it's right there and you know them and you watch the news all the time and things always happen farther away and, you know, it's just not near home. But it's a shock for our community because it's just a quiet town and nothing ever happens here," Crabtree said.
The Swedish heritage community of just fewer than 500 isn’t used to this kind of attention. This murder comes soon after the shooting death of a nine-year-old allegedly by his 14-year-old brother, not far from Tuesday night’s incident.
"Yea, that was a big shocker too,” Rundquist said “ I did know that family real well."
But the experts would remind us that domestic violence could happen anywhere, big city or small town. Sadly, that’s something folks in Assaria are finding out.