Update: Name released of woman murdered in Leslie County

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LESLIE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Update 10:45 p.m.

Leslie County Schools have decided to cancel classes for all students Friday, November 9. This is in response to the manhunt continuing in Leslie County. School officials say the safety of their students and staff is their top priority.


Update 10:15 p.m.

WYMT talked with the mother of Paige Murphy on the phone Thursday evening. Murphy is the Leslie County woman found shot to death early Thursday morning. Murphy's mother, Pamela Hamrick, moved away from Leslie County about a month ago and now lives in Georgia.

Hamrick says her daughter always had a great outlook on life.

"She was a joy to everyone. You couldn't ask for a happier person. You never seen her when she wasn't smiling", said Hamrick.

She says she knew there were problems between the couple. She says she never knew things could end up like this.

"She loved him. And I never thought Dustin would do this", said Hamrick. "He has threatened and he's told it to her and me both. I never thought he would go through with it."

Hamrick tells WYMT she talked with the man who lives in the home with both Murphy and Stidham shortly after the murder.

"He woke up to them fussing and got up to use the bathroom and heard the pop and heard her hit the floor. He said that Dustin came out of the back standing there and said, 'Dean, you need to call 911. Paige is dead. And he said, 'can I take your car and your cell phone?'", said Hamrick.

She says the couple had two young children together.


Update 7:30 p.m.

Officials with Kentucky State Police say the woman shot to death in Leslie County Thursday morning is Paige Rhyan Murphy. We are told by her family members that she was 28 years old.

Her mother, who now lives in Georgia, says Murphy and Stidham were an unmarried couple. She says they had two young children together.

We will continue updating this story.


A Leslie County Deputy Coroner tells WYMT a woman was found dead in a home early Thursday morning.

Kentucky State Police were on the scene of a home in the Essie community.

The deputy coroner said the woman appeared to have a gunshot wound.

They will send her body to Frankfort for an autopsy.

The woman's identity has not been released at this time.

Police have an arrest warrant and are using a helicopter to search for Dustin Stidham, who is suspected of murder.

We do not have a picture of Stidham at this time, but police describe him as about 5' 9", 150 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. He is of a thin build and possibly has some facial hair. Stidham was last seen wearing a camouflage jacket and jeans.

Troopers also collected evidence from Stidham's car, which was found somewhere other than the house where the woman died.

This will be updated as we learn more.

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