Original article no longer available
By SARA BURNETT
Friday, January 26, 2007
For more than a year, Shawna Nelson carefully guarded a secret.
The boy born in early 2006 to Shawna and her husband, Ken, was actually the child of a married police officer with whom she had a three-year, on- again, off-again affair.
The people closest to Shawna – including her husband, a sheriff’s deputy – knew the truth. Officers on the police force, where Ignacio Garraus worked as a cop and Shawna Nelson as a dispatcher, suspected.
But it wasn’t until about three weeks ago that Ignacio’s wife, Heather Garraus, found out.
Although they struggled for an explanation, sources close to Shawna Nelson said that discovery – and its aftermath – may have led to the deadly ending Tuesday night.
Authorities have accused Nelson of waiting outside a credit union where Heather Garraus worked and opening fire as Heather walked to her car.
Shortly after Heather learned about the baby, Ignacio cut things off again with Shawna, according to two sources close to Shawna. This time the breakup appeared final.
The sources said the Garrauses hired an attorney, and Ignacio told Shawna that if she wanted to contact him, to do it through his lawyer.
He also told Shawna he wanted to relinquish his parental rights, the sources said.
Although Ignacio’s behavior devastated Shawna, she didn’t seem upset enough to do anything rash, a close friend said. The night before the shooting, Shawna met friends for a regular Monday evening gathering. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
That led some of those who know her best to conclude Thursday that if Shawna committed the killing, she must have had some kind of breakdown.
Shawna, who had taken antidepressants for years, recently had stopped taking them, one of the sources said.
Both sources said they believed the mother of three had suffered from postpartum depression.
What’s still unclear is what happened on Tuesday.
Shawna, a doting stay-at-home mom who was active in her kids’ hobbies, from Girl Scouts to Cub Scouts and sports, apparently left her three children – ages 8, 6 and 10 months – at home alone and drove to the credit union, where the shooting occurred.
No one, including her husband, has been allowed to visit with Shawna, who is being held at the Weld County jail without bail.
She is scheduled to appear in court Monday, the same day Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck said he will file formal charges of first-degree murder against her.