Roughly 18 hours before he fatally shot the mother of his children and her husband, Edward Epps, 39, of Boise, was served a civil protection order mandating that he stay away from Heidi De Leon.
At 8:45 p.m. Saturday, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office served Epps with the order, according to the Meridian Police Department. At 3 p.m. Sunday, Epps went to De Leon’s home in Meridian; armed with two handguns, he stormed into the house and opened fire.
Police said in a news release Monday that Epps first killed her husband, Jose “Joe” P. Diaz De Leon, 47, at the couple’s home in the 4900 block of West Charles Street. Joe De Leon tried to stop Epps while Heidi ran toward the back of the house, Meridian police reported. After shooting Joe multiple times, Epps forced his way into a back bedroom and shot Heidi multiple times.
One girl, a 13-year-old, escaped the home and went to a neighbor for help. Police arrived and were able to negotiate the release of two more children, ages 10 and 11, who were in the home. Two of the girls were the daughters of Epps and Heidi De Leon; the other was Joe De Leon’s daughter.
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After he released the two girls from the house, Epps shot and killed himself.
The Idaho Statesman attempted to get a copy of the civil protection order from the courts, but the document was sealed. Protection orders come in several forms, but must be issued by a judge. Generally they are appointed at a prosecutor’s request if the case is criminal or at the victim’s request if the case is civil. It’s unclear what the details of the protection order stated, but Heidi De Leon had ongoing custody agreement problems with Epps since she filed for divorce in 2011, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
Epps and Heidi De Leon married in 2000 and had two children together, according to court records.
At the time she filed for divorce, she asked for joint custody. Epps and Heidi De Leon were set to appear in court this month after a petition to change their child support agreement had been filed toward the end of last year. That document was not public record.
The Idaho Statesman also requested a copy of the civil protection order from the Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday afternoon but did not receive an immediate response. Ada County sheriff’s spokesman Patrick Orr confirmed that deputies served the civil protection order to Epps, but could not verify whether it applied to Heidi De Leon only or both her and the children.
Meridian Deputy Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea told the Statesman on Tuesday that he did not have a copy of the order.
The local Domestic Violence Hotline is available at 208-343-7025 through the Boise Women’s and Children’s Alliance.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233.