DES MOINES, Iowa – A Coralville woman was charged Thursday with murder of one of her sons and the attempted murder of another after she told investigators how she placed duct tape over their faces and cut their necks with a knife.
Michelle Kehoe, 35, remained at University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City while prosecutors read off the charges against her at a news conference in Buchanan County.
County Attorney Allan VanderHart said Kehoe was charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and child endangerment causing serious injury.
The charges stem from the death of 2-year-old Seth Kehoe and injuries inflicted on 7-year-old Sean Kehoe on Sunday afternoon. Kehoe's husband, Eugene, had reported his family missing Sunday night.
Michelle Kehoe and her children were discovered Monday morning after she walked to a nearby house, saying her children were in danger. Someone at the house called 911 to report an injured woman had come to the home claiming a man had abducted her and her children.
VanderHart declined to discuss details of the case or a possible motive, but court documents outline a grisly scenario in which Kehoe used duct tape to cover her sons' eyes, noses and mouths before allegedly cutting their necks with a knife that was found in a nearby pond.
According to affidavits filed Thursday, Sean Kehoe told investigators that his mother had driven the van to the area near Littleton in northeast Iowa, placed duct tape over his face and took him out of the van. He then described feeling his neck being cut.
Sean Kehoe also told investigators it was his mother who had cut him and that he heard his younger brother call out and saw his mom hurting him, the affidavits stated.
The documents state that Michelle Kehoe told investigators she had bought the duct tape two months before the incident and the knife about a month before. She also wrote a note about a month ago, detailing her story of an abduction of herself and her children. The note was found in the family's van by investigators.
The documents said that Kehoe told investigators she didn't know why she hurt her children but that she couldn't face anyone. The affidavits also said Kehoe told investigators she wanted to die or be locked up so she couldn't hurt anyone else.
Michelle Kehoe and Sean Kehoe both underwent surgery for their wounds. Their conditions were not released by authorities.
The attack came about 10 months after Kehoe and her children had to be rescued when a car she was driving veered off the road and plunged into an icy Iowa River. At the time, she said she was distracted by her children and lost control of the car.
Funeral services for Seth Kehoe are scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Weceslaus Catholic Church in Iowa City.