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JONESBURG, Mo. (KSDK) – A Missouri man is in custody after a violent scene in Warren County.

The two women killed in a Valentine's Day stabbing were said to be protecting their friend. In all, four people were victims of the crime in a rural home in Jonesburg Friday night.

Shawn Kavanagh stabbed three women – including his wife – and an eight year old boy. Two of them died.

The three women knew each other through the nursing home where they all worked. The massacre happened when the estranged husband showed up looking for his wife.

Tara Lynn Fifer was one of the women in the home that night. She was sheltering the wife – Jessica Kavanagh – after she separated from her husband.

Fifer's family says she loved to help. As a little girl, it was stray animals, but as an adult, it was residents at the nursing home where she worked. When one of her co-workers was in need, she was there.

"I would like to say I wish she was never there," her mom said. "But I can't say that because that wouldn't be my Tara."

Fifer had gone to check on Jessica Kavanagh on Friday, where she was staying with another co-worker. That's where Shawn Kavanagh found her, killing Jessica's two friends.

Jessica and the boy are in critical condition.

"Tara Lynn always stuck up for the underdog, putting others before herself," her mom said. "And because of all these wonderful qualities of my daughter, Tara Lynn is gone."

Fifer's family is hosting a benefit next weekend to pay for her funeral expenses. It will be held at Applebees Warren on Feb. 22 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The pancake breakfast is $5 per person.

A memorial is scheduled for 2 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 20th at the Martin Funeral Home.

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