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Olympic Area Agency on Aging
The Seattle Times: Local News: Wife's role scrutinized in deaths; vulnerable people drawn to her
Michelle KnotekMichelle "Shelley" Knotek, 49, has been described by acquaintances, officials and her own mother-in-law as volatile and temperamental yet having a knack for attracting some of Raymond's most vulnerable residents. Yesterday, police in neighboring South Bend said they are reopening an investigation into last year's death of an 81-year-old local man who died while in her care - and left her his entire estate. And the brother of a woman who police say was killed and cremated by Knotek and her husband, David, nine years ago pinned the blame for his sister's death squarely on Michelle Knotek.And the brother of a woman who police say was killed and cremated by Knotek and her husband, David, nine years ago pinned the blame for his sister's death squarely on Michelle Knotek.Michelle and David Knotek remained in Pacific County Jail yesterday, each in lieu of $2 million bail.Prosecution documents say Loreno and Woodworth died after lengthy terms of "tortuous acts," at the hands of Michelle Knotek.Prosecutors contend the couple beat Woodworth and forced him to work in their yard, and Michelle Knotek once dunked his feet in boiling water. McClintock, a retired merchant crewman and widower, had been in the care of Michelle Knotek, who had worked for years as a caregiver for local elderly people.In April 2000, Michelle Knotek was hired by the Olympic Area Agency on Aging, an organization that provides home care and assistance for older and disabled adults.Nor was Michelle Knotek licensed through the state to provide elder care, said Steve Williams, a DSHS spokesman. Still, if someone complained to DSHS that Knotek was abusing someone in her care, the agency would investigate regardless, Williams said. He said privacy laws forbid the agency from saying whether it has ever investigated or censured Knotek, now or in the past.But he said "we anticipate the cops are going to come to us, so we're getting our paperwork together." "We're looking at everything we have," he added.Loreno likely befriended Michelle Knotek while David Knotek was away at a job, say acquaintances and relatives.
The Knotec's Home of Last Refuge
Update: Michelle Knotek was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison for the deaths of Kathy Loreno and Ronald Woodworth, who were boarders in her home when they murdered.
David and Michelle "Shelley" Knotek David and Michelle "Shelley" Knotek (NOH'-tek) lived in an adorable, bright red, 2 story farmhouse, surrounded by a white picket fence, on a quiet country road, facing the Willapa River. Michelle was a divorce with two young daughters. She married David about 15 years ago in Long Beach, WA and they had one daughter together. They lived in nearby Old Willapa for several years, prior to moving to their home in Raymond in 1990. Among the bird feeders and chimes, the Knoteks welcomed "the down and out" into their house of horrors sitting on a graveyard . Michelle and David Knotek, their youngest daughter, 14, 6 dogs, cats, rabbits and a bird often shared their cozy looking home on 4 acres with people down on their luck, according to David Knotek. It's not as easy to find locals with anything good to say about David's wife, Michelle, 49, a home caregiver. Michelle was sometimes charming but with a scary temper. One minute she was nice, the next she would turn on you. Michelle's stepmother, and Shane Watson's grandmother said Michelle told wild lies and had angry outbursts. Michelle wanted Flynn to pay for car repairs, even though police couldn't determine fault. She said Michelle was always friendly around her. "He was on the rebound, he was sad, and (Michelle) was friendly - you know how it goes." "The closer she became friends with Michelle, the further she drifted away from her other friends," said Carolyn Barnum. In 1994, Carolyn and Kathy were job hunting at the mall when they ran into Michelle. Michelle followed Kathy into the mall bathroom, they were arguing. A half-hour later, Kathy told Carolyn, 'I'm going to go home with Michelle. Last year a Pacific County sheriff's deputy told Eric Thomas they suspected Kathy was killed by Michelle and her remains were in the Knoteks' yard. A witness claims Michelle physically abused Woody. His feet were plunged into boiling water until the skin came off. He was made him jump in bare feet from a height on to hard gravel. According to David, 2 days later, Michelle called him at work, out of town, to say Woody killed himself. When Michelle was arrested she claimed her husband had driven to Woody to Olympia, WA, where he caught a bus to San Diego. September 2001, Mac hired Michelle to care for him. Neighbors heard Michelle screaming at him abusively several times. Mac wrote a will, leaving his estate, his dog, Sissy and over $5,000.00 to care for his dog, to Michelle, whom he listed as a "friend. Michelle called 911 to report he had fallen. Michelle took the lead in handling arrangements after his death. Michelle took Sissy and received at least $5,000 from the estate to care for the dog until it's "death. Six months later, Michelle reported Sissy died, which meant Mac's house valued at $140,000, was now Michelle's. In fact, several Social Security numbers were used by David or Michelle. Michelle temporarily moved Woody into Mac's home after inheriting it. Woody was fixing the house up for sale before Woody died. Michelle was taken into custody at the home she inherited from Mac. She was taken without incident. State records indicate Michelle started working April 17, 2000, as a case aide employed by the Olympic Area Agency on Aging, based in Aberdeen, WA. About the same time Michelle was terminated from the agency, Woody moved into the Knoteks' home. Woody began harassing Olympic Area Agency on Aging employees and threatening staffers. He said 'heads will roll' and 'Mount Vesuvius will blow. He made references to the devil, hell and retribution." In 1995 and 1998, Michelle was charged in Clallam County District Court for driving under the influence; her address was listed in Sequim. She pleaded guilty in the first case and completed the conditions of a deferred prosecution in the other. Other than that she has no other criminal history known at this time. Michelle appeared angry, upset and confused. She shook her head and exhaled loudly when Judge Joel Penoyar said witnesses would fear for their safety if she were released. August 13, 2003, charges were filed in Pacific County Superior Court. Michelle Knotek with two counts of 1st-degree murder in the deaths of Kathy Loreno and Ron Woodworth. Prosecutors allege Michelle showed "extreme indifference" in the deaths of Kathy Loreno and Ronald Woodworth. August 14, 2003 bail for David and Michelle was raised from $4 million to $5 million each. Michelle didn't speak during her brief appearance and showed little emotion. Michelle pleaded innocent to 2 counts of 1st-degree murder. Charges previously filed by Deputy Prosecutor Lori Miller allege Michelle showed "extreme indifference to human life." In exchange Michelle agreed to give hair, blood, fingernail and handwriting samples to the prosecution, but said prosecutors would have to obtain a search warrant to analyze the clothing she was wearing when booked jail.
Michelle Knotek had been an aide for the Olympic Area Agency on Aging, but was fired a few years ago.