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Community wonders what could have been done

The home that Kevin and Kim Conover once lived in together on Searles Way appears as idyllic as any other in the pleasant Petaluma neighborhood, giving no indication of the troubled marriage and incidents of domestic violence that led up to Sunday's shooting.

Now, some neighbors, friends and other community members are wondering if they should have seen more signs — if anything could have been done to prevent the tragedy.

Kim Conover's death has brought the issue of domestic violence, which is an ongoing but usually unnoticed problem, once again to the forefront of the community. Conover's was the second death related to domestic violence in two years, following that of Buapha Mullennix.

Double shooting in Petaluma

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Buapha Mullennix had reportedly told her friends of abuse before she was killed in early 2010 by her husband, Ken Mullennix, who is now standing trial for her death.

On Tuesday, the Conovers' neighbor, Kathleen Stafford, spoke about what happened through tears. She said she knew something was wrong after she saw police cars at the house earlier in April, but that she had hesitated to help because she and her husband didn't know the couple very well.

"We weren't that close, so we just thought she was getting the help she needed," she said. "Now I wish I had done something or offered support. Who knows if she would have taken it … but I still think we all have a responsibility to take care of one another."

Another neighbor, David Saballos, described Kevin Conover as a "tough character" who had never really tried to get along with the neighbors, but said, "I never thought he'd be capable of something like this."

But an online comment posted by one of Kim Conover's teenage daughters on the Press Democrat's website indicates that family members may have felt otherwise: "He was a soulless individual whom I had to live with for two years," she wrote.

Police are still trying to determine all the factors that led up to Sunday's shooting, a task that involves three detectives talking to witnesses and family members, looking at any clues that could have been left in Kim and Kevin Conover's vehicles, and putting together a history of past disturbances.

By Wednesday, they had identified five calls, all for either domestic or family disturbances or domestic violence allegations, which had been made in the last year from the Conovers' home on Searles Way.


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