Michelle Knotek

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Michelle Knotek
Michelle Knotek

April 15, 1954
Other namesMichelle L. Knotek
Criminal penalty22 years in prison
Span of crimes
CountryUnited States
Date apprehended
August 8, 2003

Michelle Knotek is a former Raymond, Washington, woman who was convicted in 2004 of second-degree murder and manslaughter 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 his 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 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 is serving a 15-year prison sentence [6] at the Monroe Correctional Complex and will be eligible for release in 2019. The Knoteks' crimes made national headlines due to allegations of abuse and torture.[4]


Kathy Loreno, 36[edit]

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, 19[edit]

Shane Watson, born in 1975 in Tacoma, was Michelle Knotek's nephew. Watson moved in with the Knoteks around 1993. 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. 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, 57[edit]

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. 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]


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 is eligible for parole in 2019. The daughters 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 media[edit]

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


  1. ^ Kamb, Lewis; Barker, Jeffrey M. (13 August 2003). "Dog adds twist to Raymond case". seattlepi.com. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 5 August 2017. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ "Raymond couple charged in 3 murders". tdn.com. The Daily News. 14 August 2003. Retrieved 5 August 2017. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ Ko, Michael; Ith, Ian (17 August 2003). "Something unspeakable now the talk of two towns". community.seattletimes.nwsource.com. The Seattle Times. Retrieved 5 August 2017. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  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. 19 August 2004. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Inmate Search | Washington State Department of Corrections". www.doc.wa.gov. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Plea deal reduces charge in Raymond murder case". www.seattlepi.com. Seattle, Wa: Hearst Seattle Media, LLC. Associated Press. 3 February 2004. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Ith, Ian; Ko, Michael; Spicuzza, Mary (13 August 2003). "Wife's role scrutinized in deaths; vulnerable people drawn to her". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  8. ^ Kamb, Lewis; Barker, Jeffrey M. (15 August 2003). "Suspect's relatives contacted police in 2001". seattlepi.com. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  9. ^ Barker, Jeffrey M. (11 August 2003). "Raymond couple befriended 3 strangers, who then disappeared". seattlepi.com. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "Couple charged with murder in deaths of boarders". SOUTH BEND (AP): kitsapsun.com. Associated Press (AP). 14 August 2003. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  11. ^ "State v. Knotek". Findlaw. 26 December 2006. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Wicked Attraction - Home Sweet Home". movieweb.com. Investigation Discovery. 22 July 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Sins & Secrets: The Murder Inn". TV.com. Investigation Discovery. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Snapped | Episode 19: Michelle Knotek". Oxygen Official Site. Oxygen Media LLC. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2016.

External links[edit]