State Police release more details on Benzie County attempted murder-suicide case
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 the Isabelle and herself in the car.
"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.
Kelli has been discharged from the hospital and the Benzie County Prosecutor is filing attempted murder charges against her and she is awaiting arraignment.
According to MSP, the 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."
Meanwhile Matt Stapleton released this statement from the family on Thursday afternoon.
"By now, many of you have heard the swirling rumors or stories about the recent news involving my wife Kelli and daughter Isabelle. I would like to give you all a brief update to our situation.
Two nights ago, my wife and daughter were transported to Munson Medical Center and then to Devos Children's hospital in Grand Rapids for treatment from carbon monoxide poisoning. Kelli has been treated and was still in the hospital as of this morning (Wednesday). Isabelle, however, remains in the critical intensive care unit at Devos to address her immediate and critical needs. She is in outstanding care at Devos and her vitals have improved over the past 12 hours. She is currently receiving help from a respirator and breathing tube and her blood pressure is stable. At this time, she is still unresponsive after being lifted from the medically induced coma she was put in for the treatment of her injuries. She has not yet been conscious since the incident. This is not entirely uncommon as some people go 24-48 hours before waking. We remain upbeat and positive as we expect to see many improvements in the next 12-24 hours. We will continue to work closely with her doctors to get her the best care possible.
We would like to thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers as Isabelle's condition continues to stabilize. So many of you have been very supportive of Isabelle and my family (today and throughout the years) and for this we are grateful. We are blessed with supportive friends, family, and an incredible community. Even strangers have been supportive of Issy and we ask that they continue to do so during this tough time.
We are also aware of the many stories and rumors that can accompany such events. We ask that you continue to keep the focus on Isabelle's recovery and not necessarily on the events that have brought us to this unfortunate fight for her life. We ask that people don't judge, but instead direct their positive energies on the recovery of this beautiful young lady.
Lastly, we are so grateful for the outpouring of support for our daughter and family. It has been amazing. While we say thank you, we also continue to ask for people to respect our privacy and allow us to focus on Isabelle's needs as we pray for a full recovery."
In February of this year, 7&4 News did a special report with Kelli Stapleton on her life with a daughter with autism. You can see that story by clicking here.