Michelle Knotek

Michelle Knotek is an American convicted murderer from Raymond, Washington. She was convicted in 2004 of second-degree murder and manslaughter for her role in the torture and deaths of Kathy Loreno and Ronald Woodworth, who were both boarders in Knotek's home. Her husband, David Knotek, was also convicted of the murder of her 19-year-old nephew Shane Watson, who lived with the Knoteks. Michelle is also suspected of possible involvement in the death of James McClintock, an 81-year-old whose assets she inherited after he died of head trauma incurred while Knotek was employed as his caregiver on February 9, 2002.[1][2][3]

Michelle Knotek
Born
Michelle Watson

April 15, 1954 ( age 66 )
Other namesMichelle L. Knotek
Criminal penalty22 years in prison
Details
Victims2–3
Span of crimes
1994–2003
CountryUnited States
State(s)Washington
Date apprehended
August 8, 2003

Michelle Knotek was sentenced to 22 years in prison,[4] which she is serving at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor,[5] under Department of Corrections ID: 865733. Her husband David Knotek, after serving a would-be 15-year prison sentence [6] at the Monroe Correctional Complex, was paroled in 2016 after serving 13 of his sentence of 15 years. The Knoteks' crimes made national headlines due to allegations of abuse and torture.[4]

VictimsEdit

Kathy Loreno, 36Edit

Kathy Loreno was a hairdresser working in South Bend, Washington, when she met Michelle Knotek, and the two became friends. In 1991 after an argument between Loreno and her family, Loreno moved out of their home and into the home of Michelle and David Knotek.[7] During her stay at the Knoteks' home, it was alleged that Loreno suffered physical abuse. In 1994, Loreno was reported missing by family members. When interviewed by authorities, the Knoteks stated that Loreno had run away with a truck driver and moved to Hawaii.[8]

Michelle Knotek maintained that she and Loreno were in regular contact. However, a private investigator hired by Loreno's brother concluded that she had probably been murdered by Michelle Knotek.[7] David Knotek claimed that Loreno died by asphyxiating on her own vomit, but he did not take her to a hospital or report her death to police because of the physical injuries to Loreno's body.[9]

Shane Watson, 19Edit

Shane Watson, born in 1975 in Tacoma, was Michelle Knotek's nephew. Watson moved in with the Knoteks around 1988. Shortly after Loreno's disappearance in 1994, Watson seemingly vanished too. The Knoteks initially claimed that Watson had run away to Alaska to work on a fishing vessel. David Knotek later claimed that he had shot Watson with a .22 caliber rifle.[10]

Investigators alleged that David Knotek killed Watson because Michelle was enraged that Watson took pictures documenting the abuse of Loreno.[10] David Knotek also stated that he burned the bodies of Shane Watson and Kathy Loreno and scattered their ashes at the beach.[7]

Ronald Woodworth, 57Edit

Ronald Woodworth was a local man who went to live with the Knoteks around 2001. Like Kathy Loreno, Woodworth was also subject to severe physical abuse. Witnesses described seeing Woodworth being forced to do chores outside wearing only his underwear, and to jump from the second story roof onto gravel, wearing nothing on his feet causing broken bones and severe lacerations. They also claimed that Michelle Knotek would burn Woodworth's injured feet with boiling water and pure bleach.[10]

Woodworth went missing in 2003. David Knotek later admitted to burying Woodworth's body on their property after Michelle told him that Woodworth had committed suicide. An autopsy performed by the King County medical examiner proved that Woodworth's death was murder.[10]

PrisonEdit

The Pacific County Deputy Prosecutor stated that Michelle Knotek showed "extreme indifference to human life". Michelle was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Kathy Loreno and Ronald Woodworth. David Knotek was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Shane Watson. He was also charged with rendering criminal assistance and unlawful disposal of human remains.[10]

Through plea negotiations, both Knoteks pleaded guilty to lesser charges in 2004. Michelle Knotek entered an Alford plea, in which she did not admit responsibility but acknowledged the prosecutor's case against her. She pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder and one count of manslaughter. While an initial agreement with prosecutors would have sent her to prison for 17 years, Judge Mark McCauley sentenced her to 22 years in prison.[4]

David Knotek was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the second-degree murder of Shane Watson.[6] He was released from prison in 2016 and works at a seafood processing plant on the Washington Coast. The daughters, with the exception of Nikki, occasionally communicate with him, but not with their mother, because they believe any contact with her would endanger them and their families.

Michelle Knotek later tried to have her convictions overturned, but her appeal was denied by the Washington Court of Appeals.[11]

In the mediaEdit

The Knotek cases have been featured on several television programs, including Wicked Attraction,[12] Sins and Secrets[13] and Snapped.[14]

A book by true crime author Gregg Olsen, If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood, was published in 2019.[15]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Kamb, Lewis; Barker, Jeffrey M. (August 13, 2003). "Dog adds twist to Raymond case". seattlepi.com. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved August 5, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Raymond couple charged in 3 murders". tdn.com. The Daily News. August 14, 2003. Retrieved August 5, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Ko, Michael; Ith, Ian (August 17, 2003). "Something unspeakable now the talk of two towns". community.seattletimes.nwsource.com. The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 5, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b c "Woman gets 22 years in deaths of boarders". www.seattlepi.com. Seattle, Wa: Hearst Seattle Media, LLC. Seattle Post-Intelligence Staff and News Services. August 19, 2004. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Inmate Search | Washington State Department of Corrections". www.doc.wa.gov. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b "Plea deal reduces charge in Raymond murder case". www.seattlepi.com. Seattle, Wa: Hearst Seattle Media, LLC. Associated Press. February 3, 2004. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b c Ith, Ian; Ko, Michael; Spicuzza, Mary (August 13, 2003). "Wife's role scrutinized in deaths; vulnerable people drawn to her". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Kamb, Lewis; Barker, Jeffrey M. (August 15, 2003). "Suspect's relatives contacted police in 2001". seattlepi.com. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Barker, Jeffrey M. (August 11, 2003). "Raymond couple befriended 3 strangers, who then disappeared". seattlepi.com. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ a b c d e "Couple charged with murder in deaths of boarders". SOUTH BEND (AP): kitsapsun.com. Associated Press (AP). August 14, 2003. Retrieved March 1, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "State v. Knotek". Findlaw. December 26, 2006. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Wicked Attraction - Home Sweet Home". movieweb.com. Investigation Discovery. July 22, 2010. Retrieved March 1, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Sins & Secrets: The Murder Inn". TV.com. Investigation Discovery. May 27, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Snapped | Episode 19: Michelle Knotek". Oxygen Official Site. Oxygen Media LLC. June 23, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ Olsen, Gregg. "Gregg Olsen". Gregg Olsen. Retrieved April 29, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit