Friends question suicide ruling after Indiana doctor, son found fatally shot in Utah

Men's backpacks, campsite not found

INDIANAPOLIS - Authorities said an Indiana psychologist and his son who were found dead in Utah killed themselves, but friends of the doctor question that assessment.

Dennis Olvera, 65, and his son Aaron, 40, went to the Canyonlands National Park to hike, and they were found dead Saturday -- each with one gunshot to the head.

Friends say Dennis Olvera, a nationally recognized behaviorist, was a defender of people with special needs. 

Developmental Service Alternatives in Greenfield is one of two companies co-founded by Dennis Olvera to help people with intellectual developmental needs live more independently.

Olvera's DSA colleagues told RTV6 they don't believe he took his own life.

"There's not even 1 percent of a thought that I had that Dennis would have killed himself," said DSA President Douglas Dugger.

But authorities disagree.

"We are certain it was a suicide," said Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins. "We are certain there was no one in the area other than them when this happened. But… we're not sure what brought this on."

In addition to having no motive, investigators haven't been able to find the men's backpacks or campsite.

Police said a gun was found in the hand of one of the men, but they haven't said which man had it.

Friend and coworker Tonia Hassinger said the evidence doesn't add up.

"He was professional, he was kind. He wouldn't do that to his family," she said. "He was in a great place. He was excited about the trip. I think there's lots of evidence that points in the other direction."

Dugger thinks there are other possible explanations for what happened.

"Do I think he would have sacrificed his life for his son if somebody was threatening him? Yes, he would have done that," Dugger said. "There's no doubt he would have laid his life down for his son."

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