KALAMAZOO, MI - Kelli Stapleton has been charged with attempted murder after police say the 45-year-old tried to kill herself and her 13-year-old autistic daughter.
Police said Kelli Stapleton and her daughter, Isabelle, were found Tuesday after having suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning. Kelli was released from the hospital on Thursday, but Isabelle remains unconscious and in critical condition. Doctors fear she may have suffered permanent brain damage.
Matt Stapleton reported his wife and daughter missing Tuesday afternoon after receiving a “disconcerting, despondent” phone message from Kelli and found their van was gone from their home.
Police found mother and daughter unconscious inside the smoke-filled van in a rural area nearby. Kelli had lit a portable charcoal grill inside the van, then locked the doors and closed the windows.
Kelli regained consciousness quickly but has not been forthcoming with police in regards to her motives. Taking a look at her blog, The Status Woe, doesn’t make it too hard to figure out.
In her last entry, dated Sept 3rd, Kelli states she is suffering from a “severe case of battle fatigue” and was upset after learning Isabelle would not be allowed to attend a local school program.
She writes of having a heated argument with the school’s special ed teacher and then learning the next day, a week before school is to start, that “Issy” was not going to be allowed to attend.
“I am devastated,” she writes.
Earlier this year, the family talked with the Traverse City Record-Eagle about their struggles getting care for Isabelle and the difficulties they’ve experienced when dealing with medical insurance and state and local agencies.
Isabelle has violent outbursts that are usually directed at her mother and younger sister, attacks that have sent Kelli to the hospital twice in the past.
“She hits me a lot,” said Stapleton, who has suffered bruises, swollen eyes, sprained and broken fingers, and even a closed head injury after being knocked unconscious. “She is now much larger than me and has no understanding of the damage she does. There doesn’t seem to be a way to stop her. Nor is there anyone who can help us. We’ve tried.”
To see just how bad things can get, check out this video from Kelli Stapleton’s Youtube Channel. It shows what happens when Isabelle gets aggravated at a residential facility where she was being treated for her aggressive behavior.
Kelli said a center for autism training and research told them Isabelle could need as much as eight months of expensive treatment to decrease her aggressive behavior, but the couple was only able to afford a month-long program at the center.
‘She’s gotten to that point where she can’t help herself,” Kelli told the Traverse City Record-Eagle. “She’s hurting herself and she’s hurting others. She’ll always be autistic and she’ll always be with us, but unless we’re able to get some help for some of these behaviors she has, I don’t even know how to predict how the next 20 years will look like.”
I’m no psychic, but I have a pretty good idea what the next 20 years are going to look like for Kelli.
I don’t condone the killing of children with mental problems, but man do I understand why someone may want to do it. I can’t imagine the stress involved in raising Isabelle, especially when you throw in the financial hardships. Insurance companies barely cover the healthcare costs associated with someone suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder ( approximately 3.2 million over a lifetime by one doctor’s estimate), if they cover any of it at all.