Where she spent her birthday

Shelby Adolphson had a birthday yesterday. But she wasn’t doing much celebrating. She spent her birthday in a hospital intensive care in critical condition.

She married David Adolphson in 1988. She is the mother of two young daughters, and the reason she is in the hospital is one that she has feared.

Shelby Adolphson filed for divorce a year ago in March 2006. A hearing was scheduled for May 15.

Last month she accused David Adolphson of harrassment and threats of physical harm against her and her family. She requested and was granted a temporary restraining order which ordered him to stay at least 100 yards away from her. And she reported at least three violations of that restraining order.

Shelby Adolphson was at work on Tues. and left the building about noon. She made a call to 911. On the call dispatchers reportedly heard a woman yelling at someone not to shoot her.

In the parking lot, she was shot once in the head by a rifle, allegedly held by her husband.

He fled the scene, and when he spotted deputies responding the sheriff’s office says that he stopped his vehicle and used the same rifle to shoot himself. He died at the scene. Shelby Adolphson was found unreponsive and was taken to the hospital where she remains.

hudsonstarobserver.com   gazetteextra.com  wsaw.com


She did what she could do. She separated from her husband. She reported the incidents of threats and harrassment. She requested and followed through on the restraining order. And when the order was violated- she reported it. Not once- but three times.

Multiple threats alleged. She believed he was dangerous, and she told the court so. The order from the court said that he had to stay at least 100 yards from her. And there are repercussions for violating a restraining order- right? After violating the restraining once, with no repercussions- should he have believed that violating it again would cause him repercussions? So two more violations, and no repercussions.

Now it is understood that the repeated threats, the violations of the court order- those were signs he was dangerous. Of course, she is in no shape to feel any relief that she is finally believed. Yeah, she is in the hospital in critical condition.

A protection/restraining order can not be relied on to protect. It is a tool for law enforcement to use to help assure the safety of the person being victimized. But the tool is only as good as the enforcement of it. Non-enforcement makes it useless.

Had Adolphson been ordered to wear a monitor, she might have had a chance- at least law enforcement would have known he was in her area. Of course they would have had to respond and enforce that too.



  1. cathy said,

    March 23, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    What a sad maddening story. Restraining orders obviously aren’t worth the paper they are written on.

  2. March 23, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Restraining orders are useful as a tool. But they are just that, a tool. And like any good tool, they have to be used. Someone who holds a restraining order has to report violations- and law enforcement has to act on those violations, and the courts have to give that order teeth by making sure there are repercussions for violations.

  3. KatK said,

    March 24, 2007 at 3:44 am

    Please, if you are leaving an abusive relationship and they are harassing/threatening you, your family, or your possessions. GET A RESTRAINING ORDER! Follow through on the system. It is better to have the legal document and the paper trail, than not to have one. Believe me, even police officers in a podunk town perk up and take action when you show them a PFA, I know, I’ve done it. (PFA = Protection From Abuse order.)

    For each example held up in the media of a PFA that wasn’t enforced, there are LOTS of ones that *are*. Remember that. I live today, and grow and can find happiness and contentment because of the system. It can work, if you persis, and are proactive in maintining your own safety and sanity. It isn’t pleasant, to have to uproot yourself, change your routines and the like. But it’s better than feeding the trees, isn’t it?

  4. Becky J said,

    March 25, 2007 at 3:07 am

    AMEN, KatK, ive learned that restraining orders, PFA’s, will be enforced, if and only if you DEMAND it, at least in my town, the law enforcement here will not, depending on the officer, do anything but poopoo ur reports of violations, UNLESS, you demand them to. Go to the Chief of Police, the officer responding to ur call, and say, I DEMAND YOU TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. Ive written letters to the editor outing those who poo pooed the reports, make a scene, yell scream whatever it takes, fight for it to happen because you are literally fighting for your life. I dont know what it is going to take to get those in the position of power to stand up and enforce these violations but i promise if you make enuf noise at least they will take you seriously. Dont worry about being deemed a “bitch” or “trouble maker” just fight for your life, fight for your children, fight for whatever reason but just do it. And if you just cant see yourself making a fuss like that find someone that will do it for you.

  5. KatK said,

    March 25, 2007 at 5:04 am

    Well, the battered women’s shelter told me to carry a copy ON MY PERSON AT ALL TIMES, and I did. That helped immensely, once the officer saw the document, they snapped to and went to work.

  6. March 25, 2007 at 5:47 am

    I don’t know this personally. But anytime an officer fails to enforce a protection order, one option might be to call the prosecutor direct. Another option would be to call a domestic violence agency and ask for assistance.

  7. D.P. said,

    March 25, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Excellent advice. The point is to call somebody who can document the violation. Calling a family member or friend is a first instinct, and a good one, but if one is to leave a documented trail and record of abuse, one has to call the authorities. Only then, is any kind of court ordered restriction able to be a viable tool for protection.

  8. keb said,

    March 28, 2007 at 2:29 am

    I also heard that if there is a PFA, if it is violated and the victim does not report it, that makes the victim liable as well. Now before we all freak out at that, stop and think a second; sometimes the victim is ambivalent, and continues intermittent contact with the abuser. Then it all goes wrong again, and there’s a crisis requiring police intervention. Police should respond, yes – but sometimes on again/ off again can go on and on. If you make the decision to get the PFA, stick with it, get it enforced. Use it. Done is done. Don’t mess around, you know you cause to get it in the first pplace. Don’t get guilted into being wishy-washy. Done is done.

  9. March 28, 2007 at 3:06 am

    Keb, that is true in some states but not in others. I agree with you that if you had to take out an order, then it is important to follow through. Someone with an order against them will sometimes use nice words to lure the victim back, but may have a resentment against them at the same time.
    But at the same time, if someone has reconciled or met with the person the order is against, they should never let that keep them from calling police if they feel endangered again.

  10. Jan H said,

    April 18, 2007 at 1:13 am

    I would like to say that I’m very sorry this happened and God bless Shelby and her family. We were in cheerleading, Sunday school and graduated in the same class together. She is a sweet person with a good heart and I can’t stop thinking about her. She is a brave soul.

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