Another Victim Might Be Linked To Raymond Deaths

Another Victim Might Be Linked To Raymond Deaths »Play Video
PACIFIC COUNTY - The investigation into the disappearances of three people of the past 10 years in the Raymond area took another twist Tuesday evening as David and Michelle Knotek might now be linked to another death.

A death certificate released to our newspaper partner, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and given to KOMO 4 News shows that another man, James McClintock, had murder suspect Michelle Knotek take care of him in the past. McClintock died last February due to blunt force trauma to the head.

McClintock lived just a few miles away from the Knoteks, and neighbors told KOMO 4 News they heard Michelle Knotek screaming at him in abusive ways several times.

Also new Tuesday is that investigators say the Knoteks might have used the Social Security numbers of at least one of their alleged victims and possibly seven other numbers as well. And investigators are finding that the Knoteks owned some other properties in the area.

Meanwhile, detectives continued work sifting though buckets of dirt through giant screens Tuesday while others pulled up floorboards on the little red house's deck, looking for human remains or other evidence of homicide.

They were investigating the disappearances of three people over the past 10 years amid reports of torture and death. Remains from one person have already been found and authorities believe two others died at the rural home of David and Michelle Knotek near the small town of Raymond.

"This is something every sheriff hopes they never see," Pacific County Sheriff John Didion said.

Remains recovered Saturday are likely those of Ronald Woodworth, 57, who was staying at the couple's home before he vanished in July, according to documents filed by Pacific County Prosecutor David Burke in Superior Court.

Authorities also believe Michelle Knotek's nephew, Shane Watson, 19, and hairdresser Kathy Loreno, 36, died at the house. Both had been staying there when they disappeared in 1994, Burke wrote.

Didion said tips have been pouring into his office since the first news reports of the findings, but neither he nor Burke would say whether they expect to find additional remains.

"We're looking for trace evidence," Didion said. "It's a very time-consuming, tedious process, but a very necessary process."

David Knotek, 51, and Michelle Knotek, 49, were being held in at the Pacific County Jail in nearby South Bend for investigation of first-degree murder. Bail was set at $2 million each. The couple's 14-year-old daughter was removed from the home last week before a search warrant was served. Two other daughters are adults.

Burke faces a 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline to file charges against the Knoteks.

David Knotek, a worker with Island Construction, said he fatally shot Watson as they struggled over a .22-caliber rifle, buried Woodworth, burned the bodies of Watson and Loreno and dumped their ashes at the beach, according to the court papers.

David Knotek said Loreno died of choking on her own vomit and that Michelle told him Woodworth had killed himself.

Watson was killed because he had documented the abuse of Loreno with photographs, investigators wrote.

Witnesses who contacted sheriff's deputies in the past two weeks said Michelle Knotek abused Loreno with "torturous acts" until she died.

A witness said Michelle Knotek physically abused Woodworth, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by Burke. Woodworth was hit in the mouth and his feet were plunged into boiling water until the skin came off, investigators wrote.

The initial search warrant cited the disappearance of Loreno, whose mother had placed a newspaper item asking for helping in learning what had happened to her and whose two brothers had hired a private investigator.

The case is overwhelming for the sparsely populated county's law enforcement officials. Raymond has about 2,900 residents, South Bend about 1,700.

The sheriff's office has fewer than 15 deputies and Burke doubles as the county coroner. He was trying to arrange an autopsy for the first set of remains by the King County medical examiner in Seattle.

To help local authorities, the investigation is being pursued by a task force with representatives from the King, Lewis, Grays Harbor and Clark county sheriffs' offices, South Bend and Raymond police and the King County medical examiner's office, which has special expertise in the examination of long-buried or decomposed remains because of the county's long-running Green River serial killer case.

Loreno moved to the area with her mother after her father was electrocuted on the set of a movie he was helping to film when she was 19, friends and acquaintances told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

She apparently moved in with the Knoteks after a falling-out with her mother, who didn't like Michelle Knotek or a man the daughter was dating.

A deputy interviewed the Knoteks about Loreno in 1994 after her family reported her missing but was told she had left the house, Didion said.

Woodworth was charged with writing bad checks at a grocery store in 2001 but didn't appear for hearings. In the same year four people applied for anti-harassment protective orders against him, as did a woman whose last name also was woodworth in 2002.

Neither Woodworth nor Watson had been reported missing, probably because both had severed ties with their families, Deputy Prosecutor Lori Miller said.

The state Department of Social and Health Services said Monday it was investigating Michelle Knotek's possible association with the state's long-term care system. Records indicated she previously worked for the Olympic Area Agency on Aging in Aberdeen as a case aide but was terminated several years ago, spokesman Dave Workman said.

Such agencies provide case management for vulnerable adults who live in their own homes and who receive publicly funded services as clients in the long-term care system, Workman said in a statement.