Mother in murder-suicide case held without bond
Fri, 06 Sep 2013 14:26:53 GMT —
45-year-old Kelli Stapleton is being held without bond in the Benzie County jail.
Stapleton was arraigned late Thursday on a charge of attempted homicide.
State Police said, Stapleton attempted to kill herself and her 14-year-old daughter, Isabelle Stapleton, in Blaine Township Tuesday.
Authorities received a call from Kelli's husband, and father of Isabelle on Tuesday afternoon after a message was left on his personal phone by Kelli, and when he noticed that the family van was missing from the home.
"The basis for the father's request to police to help locate the missing women was a phone message that had been left for him apparently by his wife that was disconcerting to him," said Michigan State Police Lt. Kip Belcher.
Deputies from the Benzie County Sheriff's Department located the van in a wooded area off of St. Pierre Rd. in Benzie County around 6:30 p.m.. Both were found unconscious. Police said Kelli placed two burning, portable charcoal grills inside a car with the doors and windows closed with both Isabelle and herself inside.
"The mother to the teenage daughter had been successful in her efforts to ignite two charcoal type grills, cooking grills, and carbon monoxide gas had permeated the interior of the van," said Belcher.
Authorities say that Kelli was responsive at the scene at some point, but that Isabelle was never responsive. Belcher says the investigation has revealed that Kelli did some convincing to get her daughter inside of the vehicle.
"There was no indication that I'm aware of in the investigation at this point that for instance the daughter was bound or restrained or anything along that line," said Belcher.
They were taken to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City as both were suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. They were later taken to Grand Rapids for further treatment.
According to MSP, Isabelle remains hospitalized and unconscious in Grand Rapids. She is expected to live, but may suffer permanent brain damage as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
State Police said the motive for the crime is not yet clear. The case remains under investigation.
"We do know at this point in the investigation that she was disconcerted, distraught from what we're able to gather at this juncture and we're continuing to take a look into that," said Belcher. The detectives on the case are continuing to look in to what different things, and there may have been more than one, prompted the mother to reach a conclusion that this was the most appropriate means of action to take to resolve the difficulty or difficulties that she was facing."