Happy times for father and son, challenges less apparent - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Happy times for father and son, challenges less apparent


Middleton (WKOW) -- The Middleton father who shot his twelve year son and took his own life were often seen as the personification of the storybook relationship between dad and boy.

   Next door neighbor Sarah Vandenbrook said it seemed Ryan Dutter and son Kyle were inseparable, often running and playing on the green lawns of their well maintained Middleton apartment complex.

   "They were always nice,"  Vandenbrook said of the Dutters and Ryan Dutter's girlfriend, Christine Gabron.

   The front door of their apartment displays a festive, fall raggedy doll; Kyle Dutter's website, set up by his father, has many happy, funny Halloween photos; inside the SUV in which Dutter shot his son and them himself, a plastic, trick-or-treat pumpkin sat on the dashboard.

   "We were pretty shocked,"  Glacier Creek middle school principal Tim Keeler told 27 News.  

   Keeler said this was Kyle Dutter's first year as a sixth grader at the school, but he was increasingly making new friends.   Keller said school district staff assisted school administrators and teachers in breaking the news to Dutter's classmates and providing counseling if needed.

   "I think alot of the kids took it the same way the adults took it,"  Keeler said.   "First you just sort of absorb it.   It's been quiet."

   Three months ago, Middleton police reports obtained by 27 News show officers went to the Dutter home to check out Ryan Dutter's suspicions that small bruises on his son's back had been caused by Dutter's mother during one of the boy's visits with his mom in Beloit.

   "Ryan told me the custody battles...had not gone very smoothly and he wanted to document this incident,"  Officer Ray Parent wrote.

   The officers believed the marks on the boy's back did not amount to abuse, and more likely happened accidentally.

   Police records note Kyle Dutter's autism, his difficulty in communicating and sometimes difficulty with balance. 

   Before living in Middleton, Ryan Dutter lived for a time in Kenosha County and worked as a volunteer firefighter in the town of Somers, and ran for a town elected position.   Dutter's friend, firefighter Carl Kirkorian, said Dutter dropped out of the race when Dutter's history of financial problems were revealed.

   "I know he owed We Energies a ton of money,"  Kirkorian said.   "Probably (owed) everybody and his brother.   He got fired from his job at a bank in Milwaukee."   Records show Dutter was the subject of a home foreclosure and had several court money judgments against him.

   On a web site, Kyle Dutter's sister, who attends Utah State university, displayed photographs of a smiling, fun loving brother and spoke of the boy's beloved personality traits.  

   A source close to the investigation of the shootings told 27 News the relationship between Bryan Dutter and his girlfriend does not appear to be a factor in what happened.   Gabron has yet to a return a call from 27 News.

   Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said investigators would like to answer a burning question:  "Was there something that happened in their lives that was the impetus for this...why did a father shoot his son?"




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