There are parents who dote on their children and their families. There are parents who provide safe, loving homes. And then there is Shelly Knotek.
Michelle “Shelly” Knotek, seemed to have a wonderful life. She was married to her husband David, in 1987. This was her third marriage, and he came into the relationship with two daughters, Nikki and Sami. Daughter Tori was born two years later. The Knotek family lived in a nice home and were known to be selfless people. Taking in family and friends who were down on their luck and needed a place to stay.
However when these guests vanished seemingly overnight, questions began to be asked and the Knotek sisters were told to NEVER tell anyone about what happened at home. There was an enforced code of silence, and if it was broken….well it wasn’t something you would do twice.
In 1991, Kathy Loreno moved into the Knotek home, having known Shelly for two years and when she moved out of her family’s home, she moved in with Shelly, David and their kids. In 1994, Kathy’s family reported her missing. Police investigated and was told by Shelly that Kathy had moved in with a trucker and was now living in Hawaii. Shelly also stated that he was in regular contact with her, but this proved to be false. Kathy’s brother had hired a private investigator and it was determined that there was no contact between Shelly and Kathy after Kathy had disappeared. David Knotek later stated that Kathy had asphyxiated on her own vomit, but she was not taken to the hospital due to the injuries on her body.
Shane Watson, Shelly’s nephew, was born in 1975. He moved in with the Knoteks, in 1988. Shortly after Kathy had disappeared, Shane too seemed to vanish. Shelly claimed he too had moved out of state, this time to Alaska to work on a fishing vessel. However after they were arrested, David confessed to shooting Shane with a .22 caliber rifle. The reason that Shane was murdered was he infuriated Shelly by taking pictures of the abuse inflicted on Kathy. David stated later that he had burned both bodies and scattered the ashes on the beach.
In 2001, Ronald Woodworth, came to live with the Knoteks. Like Kathy, he was also subjected to extreme abuse. He was forced to do chores outside in his underwear, and was told to jump from a second story window without shoes, causing injuries and lacerations to his feet. Shelly would then pour boiling water and pure bleach on his injuries. David confessed to burying Ronald’s body on their property after Shelly told him that Ronald had committed suicide. It was later determined that he had been murdered.
Nikki, Sami, and Tori were innocent of the violence their parents inflicted onto others. After Ronald disappeared, and Tori was out of the house, the three sisters turned their parents into the police.
Michelle showed an extreme indifference to human life and was charged with first degree murder for Kathy Loreno and Ronald Woodworth’s deaths. David was charged with first degree murder for Shane Watson’s death.
Through plea negotiations, they both plead to lesser charges. Shelly accepted an Alford Plea, not admitting fault, but recognizing the prosecutions case against her. She plead guilty to second degree murder and manslaughter, she was sentenced to only 22 years in prison. She will be released from prison in June 2022, and her daughters are fearful about what will happen when she is released. Currently they have no communication with her.
David accepted a lesser charge of second degree murder, he was sentenced to only 15 years in prison. He was released from prison in 2016, and has limited communication with his two daughters, Sami and Tori. He currently lives in Washington State.
It’s frightening to think that Shelly Knotek will be released from prison in less than a year. She had shown zero remorse for her actions, but still is allowed to walk among us again. I sincerely hope that her children, and their families, will be safeguarded from this monstrous woman, and that she is no further threat to them, or anyone else again.
Be safe, make good choices, and stand up for others who may be victims