Kelli Stapleton, Michigan Mom Blogger, Accused of Trying to Murder Autistic Daughter

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In February, Michigan mom Kelli Stapleton began blogging about the fear and challenge of raising a young teenage daughter with autism, diagnosed at age 2.

Seven months later, she's charged with trying to murder her.

  • Kelli Stapleton Photo
  • Kelli and Issy Stapleton

"I would also like to mention that we LOVE our disabled daughter very much," Kelli, 45, posted in the online journal she titled "The Status Woe."

"But you should know that living with her is beyond horrific."

"There are screaming tantrums, property destruction, hitting, biting, pulling hair and kicking. It's always loud and we're always tensed up to take a blow."

On September 3, Kelli wrote that 14-year-old Isabella, or "Issy" for short, had "successfully completed treatment" and would enroll in a special-ed program.

She would go to school in the same building where her dad, Matt Stapleton, was a high school principal. Issy would have her own classroom aide.

But after a disagreement between the mom and the special education instructor over the student behavior plan, Kelli wrote that school officials had "uninvited" her daughter.

Instead, Stapleton said, they recommended a school program in another town more than two hours away, or encouraged her to try homeschooling.

"I am devastated. My husband is gutted," she wrote. "I have ruined everything."

Matt said that day, he received a message from Kelli that police described as "despondent." He sought help to find his missing wife and daughter.

Police located the family's van that night parked in a rural spot near their Elberta, Mich., home. The windows were rolled up, and coals burned inside.

This had caused the vehicle to fill with carbon monoxide, the Associated Press reports; Kelli and Issy were inside, unconscious, according to AP.

Kelli survived the alleged murder-suicide attempt, but Issy was placed on a respirator in critical care, according to a Facebook post by her fahter.

"At this time, she is still unresponsive after being lifted from the medically induced coma she was put in for the treatment of her injuries," he wrote this week.

"She has not yet been conscious since the incident. This is not entirely uncommon as some people go 24-48 hours before waking. We remain upbeat and positive."

While Issy struggles, Kelli was in court on Thursday, arrested and charge with attempted murder, which carries a maximum penalty of life without parole.

The tragic turn contrasts with the parents' stated hopes for their oldest daughter's future, as Kelli shared earlier this year with the local Record-Eagle newspaper.

"She is a great kid with a lot of potential," Kelli said.

"She's so smart. She started reading when she was 2. She's got so much to offer, but her aggression is going to limit her life as much as anything."

Matt added in the same article that "She's gotten to that point where she can't help herself. 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 those behaviors, I can't even predict how the next 20 years will look like."

Kelli's blog detailed that search for help, from successful interactions with caseworkers who made a positive impact, to the family's burden caused by the high cost of care.

Kelli's despondency lingers on social media.

"I'm suffering from a severe case of battle fatigue," she wrote in her final blog post. "If you work with families please try to minimize the soul shattering disappointments you hand out."

"At least let me believe you're trying to figure it out. It's my job to do my best for my daughter. It's your job to be professional and help me do mine (and only one of us is getting paid)."

"There is much more to say, I'm just too tired to write more."

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It's been hard for their whole family. Kelli is a strong lady and I'm surprised a breaking point, in whatever form, hadn't come earlier. The community loves them and I hope their suffering ends soon.

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I feel for her. To be stuck with an autistic child for life? I feel nothing but sympathy for her and hope she braces herself for the backlash she'll receive because "every human life has value, etc. etc." and all of the deluded special needs parents who lie to themselves to keep from doing the exact same thing.