Nikki was 12 years old and her sister Sami was only 9 when their mother Michelle met with David Knotek, a man who soon would be their stepfather in 1987.
Michelle worked as a caregiver, while David was a construction worker. The family lived in a rather attractive home located on a 4-acre plot in Raymond, Washington.
Michelle also inherited a property from James McClintock, a Pearl Harbor veteran who needed a caregiver due to limited mobility in his old age.
When he died at the age of 81, the circumstances allowed her to take ownership of his $137,000 home.
What could have been a normal relationship and family turned into something much uglier pretty quickly. Michelle began to provide shelter for friends and relatives who needed assistance after falling into financial hardship.
Over the years, three people eventually moved in with the Knoteks: Shane Watson, Kathy Loreon, and Ron Woodworth. All three died under suspicious circumstances. Couple Michelle and David Knotek were convicted in their deaths.
10 Attractive And Volatile
Acquaintances have described Michelle Knotek as a volatile woman with a knack for attracting vulnerable people to her.
It was probably the main reason that in late 1988, Kathy Loreno, who had just lost her job and was involved in a heated argument with her family, accepted Michelle’s offer to move in.
At first, Loreno was treated well the Michelle and David, but this would change as the months passed. The couple soon began a campaign of consistent abusive behavior to her.
9 Kathy Loreno
Throughout 1991, Kathy Loreno was subjected to near-constant physical abuse.
Michelle is believed to have forced Loreno to live outside without clothes on, submerge herself in mud as punishment, eat rotting food, and take medications she probably didn’t need.
Loreno was beaten and subjected to the waterboarding torture method as well. During her last days, she became very ill that was no longer able to walk or talk.
Neither Michelle nor David took her to the hospital because they didn’t want people to see her physical injuries. She died choking on her vomit.