Two children born in Iowa are in a “safe house” in Arizona today after their father’s accused of killing their mother. Pinal County law-enforcement spokesman Mike Minter says Dennis and Diane Crouse moved a few months ago from Otho, a couple miles south of Fort Dodge, to a new home in the subdivision of Queen Creek, between Tucson and Phoenix.
Minter says they got a 9-1-1 call from the eight-year-old daughter, who said she’d arrived home from school to find her mother on the floor in a pool of blood. Friends and co-workers back in Iowa were expressing disbelief, as the 50-year-old Crouse had worked for years as a first responder and was chief of the Otho Fire Department and a reserve deputy with the Webster County Sheriff’s Department.
Crouse apparently was working as an E-M-T coordinator for a Phoenix-area hospital. But authorities say they’re confident they have the woman’s killer. “We do have…a videotaped confession from him,” Minter says. It took a while, but he says Crouse admitted that he had done it.
Despite the confession, there will be a trial. A judge heard the initial appearance, Crouse is charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond. After a grand jury hears the case they’ll decide whether to set bond. That leaves the couple’s children, the eight-year-old who’s being counseled after finding her mother’s body in their blood-spattered home, and a year-and-a-half-old girl.
Authorities have contacted a relative who’s going to come out to Arizona and pick up the girls. The 18-month-old girl was in the home at the time her mother was killed, but the child was uninjured.