Brave, Strong, Courageous, and….Wise

You may have heard about Susan Kuhnhausen, 51. On Sept. 6 about 6 pm Susan, a registered emergency room nurse returned home after work and found a burglar in her home and armed with a hammer.

There were no signs of forced entry into the home so she was taken by surprise. The two struggled and Susan Kuhnhausen managed to get her hands around the burglar’s throat and hold on until he quit struggling.

Mrs. Kuhnhausen then ran to a neighbor’s home where and the neighbor called police at 6:51 pm. Police who arrived determined that the intruder was dead and identified him as Edward Dalton Haffey, 59.

Haffey, was released from prison in Nov. 2003 where he had served 20 years for robbery and time for a charge of conspiracy to commit murder. He also had convictions for manufacture and delivery of drugs and possession of burglary tools. The autopsy determined he died of strangulation.

Articles that came out at that time lauded her for her courage and her strength. Many lauded her for her work with the Emergency Nurses Association and her advocacy seeking protections for nurses in the workplace.

oregonlive.com      registerguard.com     theworldlink.com     

More details are now coming out about that ‘burglary’. It seems that in taking on the burglar, Susan Kuhnhausen was facing more than she knew.

Susan Kuhnhausen lived alone at the residence, she was insisting on a divorce from her estranged husband, though he wanted to reconcile.

On Sept. 6 she arrived home, parked her car in the garage, unlocked her back door and then disarmed her burglar alarm. She then went to the front of the house, out the front door and retrieved her mail. When she came back in the house she locked the front door. At that point Haffey came at her. He was carrying the hammer and wearing gloves. He hit her several times in the head as they struggled, and she managed to get the hammer from him. But as they fell to the floor she dropped the hammer. Haffey reportedly bit her several times- and she bit him back. Eventually she was able to get on top of him and place him in the choke hold.

Because she was acting in self defense, there were no charges again Susan Kuhnhausen.

After police arrived she was taken to the hospital emergency room where she worked, and she was treated and released. She had hammer strikes to her face and human bites up and down her body and limbs.

During the police investigation they found several things. There was a note on the table from Susan Kuhnhausen’s husband Michael letting her know he was going to the beach that day. Michael Kuhnhausen was the only other person who knew the code for the burglar alarm. The alarm company indicated the home alarm had been turned off and on twice that afternoon. Michael Kuhnhausen had denied that he knew the man who had broken into the home. But police determined that not only did Haffey work at the same place that Kuhnhausen worked at, Kuhnhausen was the one who had hired him. Inside Haffey’s backpack which was at the scene was a day planner, and the entry for Sept. 4 was a note that said  “Call Mike, Get letter,” and on one of the folders was Michael Kuhnhausen’s cell phone number.

Michael Kuhnhausen was taken into custody for questioning on Wednesday, and early on Thurs. he was charged with criminal conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder.

Police say that Kuhnhausen let Haffey into the home on Sept. 6 and that he waited there for about 4 hours until Susan came home. The day after the attack, Susan Kuhnhausen noticed a purchase on the joint credit cards she had with her husband. She called the store and found that he had made a purchase of a .357 revolver.

Michael Kuhnhausen has denied any involvement in the crime.

Oregon Live attempted to get a quote for their story but when they called her they found that she was off to a nurse’s convention. But they say she left this message behind on her voice mail.

“I’m not able to answer all the calls that I’ve received. I’m being comforted by your concern and your support. I want you to know that our lives are all at risk for random acts, but more likely random acts of love will come your way than random acts of violence.

“I would encourage you all to follow guidelines for home security and personal safety and security. I love my neighborhood. This is my home. I feel safe here. Thank you all so much.”

oregonlive.com          seattletimes.com              kgw.com

After Susan Kuhnhausen’s story came out, many words of praise were said for her. I would like to add my admiration and a few words of my my own. From the sound of the message she left on her voice mail, she is a very wise woman.

And in the spirit of her words, there is something I would like to say. If you read here regularly, you may get the feeling that this is all there is to expect from marriage. That is a false perception. There are many good marriages, good relationships, and devoted couples out there. They just don’t end up in the paper often.

But if you are tied to a controlling relationship or a relationship with violence- you will never have the opportunity to seek out one of those good relationships.

And if by chance Susan Kuhnhausen should ever find herself here, I personally have a message for her. You Go Girl!!! You are a wonderful woman!

JD Chandler at Slabtown Chronicle  also has a post on this one.

And a big Thanks goes to reader D.P. for the tip on this one!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Inditement issued.

oregonlive.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dec. 28 Judge reduced the bail from $2 mil to $1 mil. Prosecution says that Kuhnhausen’s daughter has told authorities that she had seen him with Haffey days before the attack. And reportedly Kuhnhausen had told the daughter’s boyfriend he did not want to lose everything like he did before. And that “anyone who’d be willing to kill his wife would be well compensated.”  Allegedly Haffey had told aquaintances that he planned to kill a man’s wife for $25,000 upfront and $25,000 after the murder.

oregonlive.com

Picked up the update at CrimeNe.ws.com, submitted by D.P.

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13 Comments

  1. cathy said,

    September 17, 2006 at 9:47 am

    What A story! I admire her…You don’t want to mess with a nurse. I’m going to link to this story.

  2. ipanema said,

    September 17, 2006 at 10:52 am

    Very brave indeed!!! I hope we all find courage in what she did. Off to a conference after what happened to her? Really admirable!

    nice blog. i came through Cathy’s of Arthritisrants.

  3. D.P. said,

    September 17, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    Well told, Sweet home!
    I ran into an old aquaintance a few days ago who happens to live in Susan Kuhnhausen’s nieghborhood…(Portland is a small world) she reports the nieghbors all concur that Susan is “the bomb” and a “go to” gal.

    Way to go Susan, your story is an inspiration to all!

  4. September 17, 2006 at 6:37 pm

    Thanks D.P. and thanks for sending it to me. It is truly an inspiring story and an inspiring woman.

  5. WriterGene said,

    September 18, 2006 at 6:39 am

    I to read this story with admiration!

    They say she had the advantage (because of her weight). Excuse me, he had the hammer, with which he got the first blow, the element of surprise and the intent.

    A week later she is at a nurses convention, and I’ll bet she is making no boastful statments of her accomplishment (saving her life – something the average guy would probably do). Instead she is the model of inspriation…”there are more random acts of love that will come our way than random acts of violence”.

    I would love to write to her and tell her how wonderful a person I think she is…she deserves better than the jerk she married who did this to her.

    If the world have more people like her….

  6. WriterGene said,

    September 18, 2006 at 6:44 am

    I too read this story with admiration!

    They say she had the advantage (because of her weight). Excuse me, he had the hammer, with which he got the first blow, the element of surprise the intent and supposedly to the expertise.

    She fought him off and saved her life.

    A week later she is at a nurses convention, (don’t police officers get time off to recollect themselves if they fire their weapons in an encounter?) And I’ll bet she is making no boastful statments of her accomplishment (saving her life – something the average guy would probably do). Instead she is the model of inspriation…”there are more random acts of love that will come our way than random acts of violence”.

    ..she deserves better than the jerk she married who did this to her.

    If the world had more people like her….

  7. WriterGene said,

    September 18, 2006 at 6:47 am

    1.

    I too read this story with admiration!

    They say she had the advantage (because of her weight). Excuse me, he had the hammer, with which he got the first blow, the element of surprise. the intent, and supposedly, the expertise.

    She fought him off and saved her life.

    A week later she is at a nurses convention, (don’t police officers get time off to recollect themselves if they fire their weapons in an encounter while in the line of duty?) And I’ll bet she is making no boastful statments of her accomplishment (saving her life – something the average guy would probably do). Instead she is the model of inspriation…”there are more random acts of love that will come our way than random acts of violence”.

    ..she deserves better than the jerk she married who arranged for her death.

    If the world had more people like her….

  8. September 20, 2006 at 4:55 am

    […] Now I have a confession to make. Harding at TOCrime ends many of his post with what has become known as his signature. Be Kind. So simple, yet a reminder that is so needed in the world today. I confess, I was jealous. I wanted a signature of my own, yet I could think of nothing. I have finally chosen a signature, though I confess it is not totally my own. I am choosing Commit a Random Act of Kindness Today in honor of Susan Kuhnhausen  as my signature. So as you go about your daily life, remember to Commit a Random Act of Kindness……and do not forget to commit them in the home as well as on the outside. […]

  9. December 30, 2006 at 1:14 am

    Updated post

  10. Gina said,

    January 3, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    What a great addendum to your new signature…. a reminder to commit random acts of kindness in the home as well as outside. Something many of us all to often forget as the days blend into one another. Perhaps if we did that there would be one less incident like this one.

  11. Becky J said,

    January 16, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    What an inspiring story!!! This is a story that ALL victims and survivors should read, because i know when you get out of a relationship like that the one thing on ur mind is “I know i cant do this, its too hard” a friend of mine even went as far as saying “i would rather be in a pine box than going thru this i will never make it” This story would let them all know that they CAN do it and IT WILL BE OK. Just by reading the story she seems like the kind of person who wouldnt take it like she has done something great, but, and i hope she reads this, she needs to tell her story a million times over for the simple reason that she survived and because of her survival and bravery it will tell them all “you can get out and make it”…….This story gave me goosebumps!! I too am a nurse and the one person commented “you dont want to mess with a nurse” and they are soooooooo right!!

  12. dal keith said,

    February 27, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    She is one lucky woman considering that woman are the weaker sex and get beat up by men 99 percent of the times/He must of been drunk or something to let her choke him /if he was sober she would be dead

  13. Bill Vincent said,

    April 14, 2008 at 4:45 am

    @dal Keith

    People like you are the reason wife-beaters exist.

    Get real. Unless you’re just trolling, in which case you should just get off the internet, ask your mom to make you dinner then hang yourself.


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