Families’ tragedy: 2 teens shot dead

A DeLand High student and her ex-boyfriend, found on her porch, died in a murder-suicide.

Mike Cummings has mulled over some difficult thoughts since his 17-year-old stepdaughter Natasha La’May Hall was shot to death Friday night at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, 19-year-old Daniel Clayton “Clay” Kufer, who then took his own life.

Why didn’t she call the police?

Where did he get the gun?


The continuation of an article about the deaths of two people in DeLand on Page B7 of Sunday’s Local & State section reported incorrectly the location of Camp Lejeune. It is in North Carolina.
****************************************************************************** *Because of erroneous information provided to the Sentinel, an article about the shooting deaths of two people in DeLand, and the caption with accompanying photographs on the front of Sunday’s Local & State section, contained a misspelling of the last name of one of the two. His name is Daniel Clayton Kufner.

He killed my daughter.

“I’m just trying to make it through the day,” Cummings said. “I am emotionally drained.”

“It’s tragic,” said Jim Cummings, Natasha’s stepgrandfather. “She was loving, bright, beautiful and sharp as a tack.

“It’s tragic a young girl’s life was taken.”

DeLand police, who classified the deaths as a murder-suicide, found the bodies on Mike Cummings’ front porch.

Police couldn’t confirm the events that led to the teens’ deaths, and Kufer’s family couldn’t be reached for comment Saturday. But Cummings said the pair’s relationship was shaky.

“They had been dating eight or nine months. It had been a very rough relationship,” Natasha’s stepfather said.

Natasha, a DeLand High School student, decided to break it off with Kufer a month or so ago, Cummings said.

Then she started seeing someone else, a Marine stationed at Camp LeJeune, S.C., Mike Cummings said.

Natasha’s new suitor came down to DeLand to visit, and the two were supposed to go to the Daytona 500 Saturday night.

But they never got that far.

Here’s how Mike Cummings described what happened Friday night:

Natasha and a friend went shopping for clothes for the race.

Cummings and Natasha’s mother, Cheri, went out to dinner with their younger daughter in Daytona.

Kufer broke into their DeLand home on West May Street and looked through the caller ID on the house phone.

He found the Marine’s number and called. “He pretended to be an Air Force recruiter because Natasha wanted to enroll in the Air Force. He started interrogating him and said that Natasha listed him as a reference,” Natasha’s stepfather said.

The Marine hung up, but Kufer called back.

“Clay explained to him that Natasha was his girlfriend and that she was only 17,” Natasha’s stepfather said.

The Marine then called Natasha and warned her that Kufer had broken into her house.

“But she didn’t call the police,” Mike Cummings said. “Natasha, probably more brave than smart, went back to the house and changed clothes.”

Kufer was hiding behind the bushes near the front door, and as Natasha and her friend were leaving the front door, Kufer confronted the girls.

“He shot her in the head, then started talking crazy. He told her friend if she didn’t want to die she should leave, then put a bullet in Natasha’s chest,” Natasha’s stepfather said. “He then took his life on my porch.”

“Seriously. Who in their right mind would give this boy a gun. He’s been on edge for a while.”

Kufer was known to take out his aggression on Natasha and hit her, her stepfather said.

But Cummings said he and the girl’s mother had agreed that if Kufer took a military placement test and got into the Air Force they wouldn’t press charges.

“We didn’t want to ruin Clay’s life,” Mike Cummings said. “Unfortunately, he chose the exactly wrong way to end it.”

Even after the breakup, Natasha thought she could still communicate with Kufer.

“She was an average kid who ended up in a 30-year-old relationship,” Natasha’s stepfather said. “It wasn’t a typical teenager relationship. It was so serious.”

source: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2008-02-17/news/twodead17_1_natasha-mike-cummings-kufer

This is an older post but with the anniversary approaching I wanted to re-post Natasha’s story.

Published in: on February 7, 2010 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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