Traverse City Record-Eagle


September 4, 2013

Charges loom for Benzie woman in murder-suicide attempt


"This news that we just had today is really disappointing," Manville said. "I haven't had a chance to talk to Matt, but he knows he has the support of the community and school system."

Wes Blizzard is a close family friend of the Stapletons and a member of the Frankfort-Elberta school board. He called the news of the attempted suicide a tragedy.

“I’m sure everybody will be stunned,” Blizzard said. “It’s a tragedy and we just hope for the best for them.”

Stapleton family members declined to comment, citing the criminal investigation. But Dave Stapleton, Matt's brother, said:

"We can just say our thoughts and prayers are with Issy," he said.

Swanson said the investigation could yield additional charges.

"It's always possible, once we have more information," she said.

Attempted murder carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment with parole.

Matt and Kelli told the Record-Eagle in February they were determined to have Issy live with them for the rest of their lives.

“She’s gotten to that point where she can’t help herself,” Matt said. “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. Right now, this is the first time in a long time we have hope.”

“If she was permanently broken, maybe we could have given up at some point,” Kelli said. “But she’s really not.”

Staff writer BRIAN McGILLIVARY contributed to this story.

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