The Shawnee News-Star
  • Update: Shawnee woman found dead in her home; husband jailed

  • A Shawnee woman who lost her parents to homicide in 2010 was found dead in her Granada Estates home early Thursday morning. Police have arrested her husband on a first-degree murder complaint.
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  • A Shawnee woman who lost her parents to homicide in 2010 was found dead in her Granada Estates home early Thursday morning. Police have arrested her husband on a first-degree murder complaint.
    An apparent domestic-related shooting occurred during the overnight hours at the couple’s home, 27 Bella Vista, where Shawnee launched the homicide investigation early Thursday morning.
    Police Chief Russell Frantz identified the victim as Cathy Byus, 36. Her husband, 25-year-old Justin Byus, is now jailed in the case.
    Shawnee Police Sgt. Dan Shumaker said police responded to the couple’s home about 3:50 a.m. Thursday, where they found Cathy Byus with multiple gunshot wounds. An official cause of death is awaited from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
    Justin Byus was taken into custody at the home without incident, Shumaker said. As the investigation unfolded, he was booked into the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center and is being held without bond. Formal charges have not been filed.
    Cathy Byus, who grew up in Bethel Acres and graduated Bethel High School in 1995, experienced a family tragedy in 2010 when her parents, Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, were murdered. The retired couple, who loved to travel by RV, was vacationing in New Mexico and were killed there after three inmates escaped from an Arizona prison.
    Their deaths occurred in August, 2010, just months after Cathy and Justin Byus married in May, 2010. Cathy Byus also was expecting a child during that time.
    Justin and Cathy Byus had a son, James, who is now a toddler, according to reports. It was unknown Thursday night if the child was in protective custody or was possibly staying with relatives.
    Lauren Bingham, who grew up and attended school in Bethel Acres with Cathy Byus, said the two had lost touch but reconnected as friends through Facebook in recent years. News of the homicide was quite a shock for Bingham on Thursday.
    “I was heartbroken,” Bingham said, adding she and Cathy Byus had last talked on Tuesday.
    Bingham, who said Cathy Byus didn’t have much family, said she often spoke about how much it hurt her to know that her son would grow up without knowing her parents — his grandparents.
    “Now her poor baby has to grow up without her,” Bingham said. “He won’t get to experience her. I’m praying someone will step up and take care of him.”
    Bingham described Cathy Byus as always being a “kind and sweet” person. When she last spoke with Cathy Byus on Tuesday, Bingham said Cathy told her about the new Jeep she had just purchased. Bingham said Cathy Byus never said much about her husband.
    “She adored her boy and she was proud of her home,” Bingham said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Justin and Cathy Byus purchased the upscale home in Granada Estates just last year, so Bingham said it appeared things were going well for them.
    Following the deaths of Gary and Linda Haas, Cathy Byus and other members of her family filed a lawsuit against the private prison in Arizona where the inmates accused in the Haases’ deaths had escaped. The results and any amounts awarded in that lawsuit were never disclosed.
    It also was unknown Thursday if the couple might have been having marital problems, but court records show Justin Byus does a have criminal history.
    Justin Byus was charged in April 2006 with the felony of assault and battery on an employee of a juvenile detention facility.
    And just last month, he was formally charged with misdemeanors of driving with a suspended license and careless driving.
    As Shawnee police probe this case, they will complete all reports and turn them over the district attorney’s office for consideration of formal charges.
    Watch for updates.
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