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Julie Ann Burns’ sister speaks out on her death, daughters’ futures

Angela Edmunds
Julie Ann Burns, a 36-year-old mother of two, was shot in her home on July 14th. Her sister, Angela Edmunds, says the photo was taken on June 11th. It's the last photo taken before her death.

Julie Ann Burns was killed July13th, leaving two daughters behind. Burns’ sister shared her thoughts on the family’s loss and next steps.  

The daughters of Julie Ann Burns and Michael Asman are living with one of Burns’ sisters. The girls are six and 10 years old. They lost their mother last month when their father allegedly shot her in their Heber City home. They lost their father on Monday when he was found dead in an Oregon forest from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Angela Edmunds is one of Burns’ sisters. She says the girls are safe but dealing with a lot of emotional trauma.

“Yeah, it's closure for us. Like as in my siblings, my mom and dad. And I'm sure friends. But for two little girls, it's nothing but tragedy. They didn't hate their dad. They hated and are sad about what he did. But you can't make a 10- and six-year-old hate their dad or hate their other parent," she said. "There's still so much love. So what he did wasn't the right thing. He took both of them from them. So it's tragedy all around for them. It's no, no better way to tell them that none of their parents are coming home.”

A nationwide manhunt had been underway for Asman since July 14th when Burns’ body was found. Edmunds said that once Asman left town no one in her family heard from him.

“All we know for from him is that he didn't do it right away. He didn't commit suicide right away," she said. "So he was just out in that Oregon town kind of just hiding out in the National Park and in little towns is what we gathered from it. But no, no zero contact from Michael since the day he dropped them off with his girlfriend. The night he killed my sister.”

Edmunds says that Asman drove to his girlfriend’s house and left the girls with her after Burns was shot. She said they were there about 12 hours before the state took them into custody.

Edmunds said the relationship between Asman and her sister was abusive for years.

“She just barely went back to Michael this last year, she had left and moved home with my family for the last two years," she said. "So we didn't realize that it was as bad as it was, again, like it was bad ‘cause she moved out and she got away. She left him for a really long time. And then he pulled her back in saying the girls need us together, they'd be happier.”

Kendra Wyckoff is the Executive Director of Peace House. She says relationships between victims and abusers can be very complex.

“Many victims also are really hopeful that the abuse will stop, and they want the abuse to stop. And I think one that we hear frequently is the fear. Violence and abuse often escalates after a victim leaves the relationship actually can be the most dangerous time for a victim," she said. "And so whether that's, you know, recurring violence, stalking harassment, and where the worst possible outcome, which is homicide.”

Asman was arrested for domestic violence on June 11th, and Edmunds was concerned when he was granted $5,000 bail, then got out of jail days later. She said letting him go free was absolutely the wrong decision and the family has not ruled out legal action.

“I think I'm what my family wants us to kind of figure out everything and every detail. And then I think we'll proceed after that," she said. "I think what we wanted right now is we got our nieces back. That was number one, that was always number one goal. So I think all the other legal stuff. It will happen, I just don't know when. Okay, because someone needs to be held accountable for what happened.”

Wyckoff says family and friends can look for warning signs if their loved one is an abusive relationship.

“Please stay in touch with that person, if you have any concerns, there are things that you might be seeing controlling behavior from their partner. So their partner is again, isolating them, not allowing them to have contact, maybe monitoring their communications with you, you may witness them using emotional abuse.”

Edmunds says her sister was amazing and she hopes she’s at peace right now. “I hope she is dancing. And she is smiling at us. And if I could have one more day with her, I would just want one big laugh because her laugh was amazing and a tight hug.”

A GoFundMe me page was set up for the family last month. It was taken down when it reached the goal of $15,000.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive and dangerous relationship, call the 24/7 Peace House Hotline 1-800-647-9161