“It can’t be. He would never do that.”

Jeff Eyerly, 46, and Carol Ann Peckham, 41, met in the summer of 2005 they began a relationship. By Christmas of 2005 Eyerly said “At my age, you kind of know right off the bat,” “He felt she was the one right off the bat.” And by April of 2006 the two were married.

Carol Peckham was already a mother of a 7 year old little boy named Kyle from another relationship. Kyle and Carol Peckham were very close, reportedly she had separated from Kyle’s father soon after his birth and it was just the two of them for a while. Kyle was the best man at the wedding, right away he began calling Jeff Eyerly “Daddy.”

Eyerly owned a business, but soon after the wedding he left the business and moved on to another job in May. The partner has said that he hasn’t seen Eyerly since June. But he said he hadn’t seen any problems at that time. “He loved Kyle,” “He loved that kid. . . . It can’t be. He would never do that.” Eyerly was known as a “gentle giant.” Reportedly he  “was very, very strong but good-natured.”

The family was involved in their church. Carol taught religious studies and Kyle was working toward his first communion.

Kyle’s last day at school was on Tues. But Carol Ann Peckham called the school on Wednesday and Thursday and said he had the flu and wouldn’t be back to school the rest of the week. She did not call on Friday. Neighbors have said the last they saw of Eyerly was on Saturday  and they believe he was taking down Christmas decorations, but they had not seen Kyle or his mother for a couple of days. Carol Peckman’s brother had talked to her on Wednesday, but the next time he called Eyerly had said that both Carol and Kyle were too sick to come to the phone. A neighbor took the family a pot of chicken soup on Friday and Eyerly took it from her outside the  home.

Carol Peckham’s mother and brother came to the home on Saturday to take the family out to eat. What they saw had them running from the home and screaming for someone to call 911.

Police arrived at the home about 12:36 pm and found Jeff Eyerly hanging from the staircase between the first and second floor. Carol Ann Peckham was found in the rear living room and little Kyle was found in a bedroom.  

Police say there was no record of domestic disturbance at the home. And the neighbors say they had not seen signs of problems, though one neighbor says that she had heard some arguments lasting until 5 am. Other neighbors say they were a happy couple.

An autopsy revealed that Carol Ann Peckham died from blunt force trauma. Kyle Peckham was manually strangled. Eyerly died from the hanging. Police say they have not found a motive, but they do say it was a double homicide and a suicide.

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24 Comments

  1. Iowa_gal said,

    January 9, 2007 at 12:00 am

    OMG, how awful. Reading all the stories here has opened my eyes to the horrors and mystery that surrounds domestic violence. The whys and hows that in most cases will never be answered.
    It almost makes me afraid to get into an argument or discussion or whatever with my boyfriend. As told in the stories here,you just never know who or what might make someone snap and do things that nobody would ever expect of that person who committed the violent act. Its very scary.

  2. January 9, 2007 at 12:31 am

    Iowa_gal, yes it is very scary. But it is important to realize that most relationships are not like that, nor are most separations or divorces like that. But being alert and aware means better protection.
    In the Domestic Violence section on the left is a link called ‘Relationship Early Warning Signs’ that might be helpful in preparedness. Also, ‘What To Do about Potential Warning Signs.’

  3. Just me said,

    January 9, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    I have a summer home in the town where this happened.
    This is such a quiet little town, nothing happens there.
    I am sure my son played with this boy and I pray for the family.

  4. Kyle's Cousin said,

    January 10, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    My uncle is Kyle’s biological father. When him and carol ann were still married, shortly after kyle was born, they moved down to FL to live with me and my family. I remember holding Kyle as a baby and playing with him, and babysitting him. He was such an adorable, sweet little child. I havent seen him in a very long time. but hes still my cousin and i feel terribly for whats happened to him. And carol ann as well. Although i didnt really know her all that well because i was pretty young when her and my uncle were married. No child deserves the fate that Kyle did. And may he and Carol Ann R.I.P

  5. January 10, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Kyle’s Cousin, my condolences to you and your family for your loss. You are right, this should never happen to anyone, but especially not by someone who had professed to love them.

  6. Family friend said,

    January 13, 2007 at 7:52 am

    There are some inaccuracies in this article. Carol Ann and Kyle’s father were divorced in 2006. Just prior to this tragedy, Kyle’s father had contacted a lawyer and was in the process of setting up a visitation schedule with Kyle. Many who know Kyle’s father are sharing in his grief during this terrible time.

  7. friend said,

    January 13, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    I will never forget these two special people. This is such a tragic ending for a friend that I thought finally found her happiness. I will treasure my memories of her and her precious son Kyle forever.

  8. Kyle's Cousin said,

    January 15, 2007 at 3:59 am

    “family friends” statement is correct. My uncle Rick and Carol Ann did not get a divorce right away. They were only seperated shortly after Kyle’s birth.

  9. January 15, 2007 at 5:01 am

    When did they get their divorce?

  10. Roselin Nelson said,

    January 16, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    My husband Michael and I are friends of the family from New Jersey, he would like to send his condolensces to them, if anyone knows where to reach Dave or any other family members please email me. Thank you.

  11. friend said,

    January 16, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    I am friends with the Rhinesmith family and could get you in touch with Dave. He lives in Florida now. I will need your email address though.

  12. family said,

    January 19, 2007 at 4:01 am

    the divorce would have been final a long time ago. there was minimal contact with the father and the child in 5 years maybe just as many phone calls parental rights were signed away to allow for financial aid a little boy died not knowing his father at all phone calls were promised and never came through allow this little boy to rest in peace now and stop trying to garner sympathy now its a little to late for that

  13. January 19, 2007 at 4:54 am

    No matter what may have come before, it is still a shock to find out something so final. What may have been thought would happen someday, now there will be no opportunity. I know that is painful on both sides.

  14. linda thomas said,

    January 20, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    For Carol’s Family–My condolences to all of you. As I understand it, Kyle had a wonderful life with Carol Ann, and she was a great mother.

  15. Kyle's Cousin said,

    February 3, 2007 at 5:47 am

    I will never say that my uncle was right for not keeping in contact with kyle. he has that problem with my other cousin as well. but thats not to say that he wasnt hurt by the loss of the son, because some of my family members spoke to him and so i know for a fact that he was very hurt. it was not right of Rick to basically ignore kyle for the last 5 years, and im not saying that carol anne’s family should be thrilled with him… but it was still his son, and he lost him in a tragic way. So i find it wrong of carol anne’s family to butcher him so badly. thats just my opinion.

  16. Melissa said,

    February 3, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    My daughter went to school with Kyle this pear and became close friends with him he was and still is a sweet young boy his mother was just as great and you could tell that they completd each other. As far as his biological father is concerned I was at there funeral and there were more parents from the school Kyle attended than family from his father side. Carol Ann’s family was destroyed but they comforted each other. This man knew his son was killed and instead of getting on the next plane to jersey he sought sympathy get out of here with him being broken. My seven year old every night makes me go outside with her before she goes to bed to find the breightest star in the sky and when she does she says thats Kyle and him mom she talks to them every night I highly doubt he does anything.

  17. February 3, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    Melissa, I raised a child under very similiar circumstances. If my child wanted to talk to her father- I had to call him. He did not see her, and seldom talked on the phone. Usually any phone calls were initiated by me.
    But later as she got older, they were able to manage their own type of relationship. Kyle’s father lost the chance to develop that relationship with him.
    Luckily, I still have my daughter. But if anything had happened to her, I can see her father being upset. In some ways he would have had more to grieve about than I would have. After all, I was the one who got to know her, I was the one who had the memories of her, and I was the one who knew the joys of her.
    He would have been left with the thoughts of what he should have done, but didn’t. He would have had the thoughts of his child he never got to know.
    I am also sure that if anything had happened, I would have blamed him for his lack of attention to my daughter. Because my child deserved both parents. But in time, I would hope I would have come to the understanding that he lost more than I, in that he never allowed himself to know her.
    So yes, I can see how he might be upset and grieving. People can grieve over different things, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t grieving.

  18. MELISSA e. said,

    February 6, 2007 at 12:13 am

    mY SINCERE CONDOLENCES GO OUT TO CAROL-ANN AND KYLES FAMILY. I AM THE SISTER OF JEFF EYERLY AND HE LOVED CAROL ANNE AND HE ESPECIALLY LOVED KYLE AS IF HE WERE THE LEGITIMATE SON OF HIS OWN. i HAVE THREE CHILDREN OF MY OWN WHO WERE VERY CLOSE TO THEIR UNCLE JEFF AND WE OURSELVES ARE GRIEVING NOT AT THE FACT THAT WE LOST JUST JEFF BUT ALSO AT THE FACT THAT WE LOST OUR SISTER IN LAW CAROLANN AND OUR COUSIN-NEPHEW KYLE. WE WILL REMEMBER THEM ALL FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS. WE WILL ESPECIALLY MISS KYLE. HE WAS SUCH A LITTLE MAN AT JEFF AND CAR0LANNES WEDDING DAY.

  19. MELISSA E. said,

    February 6, 2007 at 12:52 am

    JEFF WILL BE GREATLY MISSED BY ALL AS WELL. HE WAS A WONDERFUL STEPFATHER AS WELL AS A WONDERFUL UNCLE, A WONDERFUL BROTHER AND ALSO A WONDERFUL SON. MY KIDS LOOKED UP TO THEIR UNCLE JEFF AS THEY THOUGHT HE WAS THE MOST WONDERFUL PERSON IN THE WORLD. THEY ARE HAVING A DIFFICULT TIME SAYING GOODBYE AND UNDERSTANDING THE FACT THAT UNCLE JEFF IS A PERSON THAT THEY WILL NEVER SEE AGAIN. I DID NOT REALLY KNOW CAROL ANN THAT WELL BUT WE WILL ALSO MISS HER AND LITTLE MAN KYLE TERRIBLY. ON THEIR WEDDING DAY MY DAUGHTER GAVE KYLE A BEAR FROM BUILD A BEAR WORKSHOP. SHE MADE IT ESPECIALLY FOR HIM. SHE DRESSED THE BEAR IN A TUXEDO JUST LIKE HIS NEW DADDY WAS WEARING. SHE MADE IT WITH A LOT OF LOVE AND SHE HOPED THAT IT WOULD BRING KYLE ALOT OF COMFORT KNOWING THAT HE TOO WOULD BE GETTING A GIFT. HE WAS SO EXCITED WHEN SHE GAVE IT TO HIM. HE THANKED HER MANY TIMES AND SHE TOO WAS EXCITED ABOUT SEEING HIM SO HAPPY WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE. SHE IS DEVASTATED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AND WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THE DAY SHE GAVE IT TO HIM. HE WILL BE GREATLY MISSED.

  20. So sad said,

    February 12, 2007 at 6:10 am

    This must be hard for your family, too, Melissa E. I don’t think there’s any way to comprehend a tragedy of this nature. Some of the articles mentioned financial problems and others said bipolar. Regardless, it’s too bad that Jeff felt so lost as to think this was the only way out and couldn’t have reached out for professional help.

  21. Nick said,

    June 20, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I met Carole Anne in 1989 when we both worked for the same security company. I lost touch with her over the years so I did a name search and found this… a nice Catholic girl with a good spirit and strong family values, I am sure she was an excellent, loving mother. She was exceptional. As painful as it was to read her obituary, it was more disturbing to read her killer found it necessary to kill her young son Kyle. What a cowardly act. My son is the same age and I do not understand how an adult can harm ANY child. Anyone who would harm a child deserves to burn in hell. My sympathy to all the family.

  22. Steve Erino said,

    October 5, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Knew Carole Anne and Kyle from Carol Anne’s time living in FL. She was a wonderful mother to Kyle. That said, there was a side to Carole Anne that is not mentioned in any of these threads here. That is the side that continually borrowed money from people with various excuses and never paid it back. The side that found ways to get reimbursed from her employer multiple times for the same expense until she was caught. While she and Kyle definitely did not deserve the tragic end that they met, it is important to note that there was another side to Carole Anne that was always about money and doing what she could to scheme money from others.

  23. family said,

    October 25, 2008 at 4:08 am

    steve erino you are scum your comments have nothing to do with what happened it is people like you that foster ill will and hatred in this world i hope and pray to god that nothing like this ever happens to your family that you would have to read negative things that low life people like you have to say was there anything gained from you talking like that besides upsetting a family memeber unnecessarily we all have our crosses to bear and we all make mistakes she was a single parent with no support from the father and she struggled to take care of her son , she was never proud nor happy about the choices she made but unless you are the only perfect person in the world keep your ignorant, callous comments to yourself and crawl back under a rock

  24. JM said,

    November 2, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    She and I shared a unique and very special profession and personal relationship many years ago, then went our separate ways. We last spoke days before her marriage. She was excited and told me of her wonderful son. Not a day passes that my mind doesn’t find her. To learn of this horrendous news years later saddens me beyond words. The coffee had to have cream, not milk and the smokes had to be 100’s. What a fun argument that was. My heart goes out to her wonderful family for such a incomprehensible loss. To my sweet CA….hope we get it right next time around.
    Gary…you still owe me a pair of jeans for the nail you drove into my leg that day.
    My thoughts are with all that loved her and Kyle.


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