Murder Charges Filed Against Raymond Couple

Murder Charges Filed Against Raymond Couple »Play Video
SOUTH BEND - Michelle and David Knotek, accused in the deaths of three people who lived at their rural Raymond home, were charged Wednesday with first-degree murder.

Michelle Knotek, 49, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Kathy Loreno, a 36-year-old hairdresser, and Ronald Woodworth, a 57-year-old man who disappeared last month. Loreno was reported missing in 1994.

David Knotek, 51, was charged with one count of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Shane Watson, the couple's 19-year-old nephew. He came to live with the couple after a falling-out with his family. Watson disappeared some time after Loreno was last seen.

The charges filed by Pacific County Deputy Prosecutor Lori Miller allege that Michelle Knotek showed "extreme indifference to human life" and abused Loreno and Woodworth to death.

David Knotek was also charged with rendering criminal assistance and unlawful disposal of human remains in Woodworth's death. Woodworth's remains were recovered from the couple's backyard.

Affidavits filed earlier this week in Pacific County described witness accounts of torture, abuse and death at the Knoteks' quaint red farmhouse on a quiet country road.

David and Michelle Knotek were being held at the Pacific County Jail in South Bend. Bail was set at $2 million each. They were scheduled for an arraignment hearing on Thursday.

David Knotek confessed to sheriff's deputies, according to affidavits filed in Superior Court, that he shot Watson and burned his body. Witnesses told deputies that Watson had photographed Loreno's injuries, and disappeared from the Knoteks' home soon after she died. Knotek told deputies that he also burned Loreno's body after she died; and buried Woodworth's body after his wife told him that Woodworth had committed suicide.

Witnesses said Michelle Knotek abused and tortured Loreno and Woodworth. In court papers, they described seeing her force Woodworth to do chores outside, wearing only his underwear, and jump off things onto gravel in his bare feet. The witnesses also told deputies Michelle Knotek burned Woodworth's injured feet with boiling hot water.

David Knotek, a construction worker, told a Pacific County sheriff's deputy last Friday where Woodworth's body was buried, the affidavits said.