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A Washington woman has been apprehended in Oregon after authorities say she murdered her former long-time partner and kidnapped her two minor children.
Chiloe Chervenell, 49, is in custody following the murder of Kathleen Chervenell-Brinson, 54,
Though Chiloe called Kathleen her wife, it was unclear whether the couple were officially married, according to Washington’s Tri-City Herald. Court records obtained by the paper state the two were together for at least 10 years.
The last time anyone besides her alleged killer saw Kathleen was at 10:00 a.m on Wednesday.
On Thursday evening, Chiloe (pronounced "Shiloh") allegedly tested a friend and confessed to killing Kathleen, according to court documents obtained by the outlet.
Chiloe allegedly told the friend she visited Kathleen at her then-former home in Mesa, Washington — about 200 miles southeast of Seattle — and “didn’t know the power of her hands and killed her wife.”
The alleged visit would have violated a protection order obtained by Kathleen against Chiloe earlier this year in which she alleged years of abuse, some of which Kathleen claimed was due to Chiloe's drug use.
Chiloe's friend called the police around 7:30 p.m. to request a welfare check on Kathleen.
Deputies from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office went to Kathleen’s home but couldn't find her or Chiloe’s two biological children — ages 7 and 9 — of whom Kathleen had legal custody. (Chiloe had no parental rights over her children, according to ABC Kennewick affiliate KVEW.)
Chiloe’s brother, however, was there, though he hadn't suspected anything was wrong. But, while talking to investigators, he received a text message from Kathleen’s phone, which he claimed didn’t appear to have been written by Kathleen.
Deputies called unsuccessfully called Kathleen’s phone, but the person called back and claimed to be Kathleen. When the investigator put the caller on speaker, Chiloe's brother confirmed, “That is my sister,” according to court documents.
Washington authorities then traced Kathleen’s phone to an area in Irrigon, Oregon — about 65 miles from Mesa — where Oregon police found Chiloe and the two missing children sleeping in Kathleen's car around 11:30 p.m., according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. Kathleen’s cell phone was also recovered from the car.
While her phone was being traced, investigators found Kathleen’s body on the porch of her Mesa residence, hidden underneath a pile of bicycles and other miscellaneous items on the porch, according to the Herald.
Kathleen’s postmortem examination was conducted Monday by the Spokane Medical Examiner's Office, though a cause of death has yet to be released, according to KVEW.
Chiloe was booked into the Umatilla County Jail in Oregon, where she is being held on felony fugitive charges, jail records show. Per the Herald, she awaits extradition to Washington state to face charges of second-degree murder and two counts of kidnapping.
“The two children were transferred to the Oregon State Department of Human Services in Oregon until family can be located,” Franklin County officials stated.
Court records obtained by the Washington outlet paint a dark picture of the 10-year relationship between Chiloe and Kathleen.
In April, Kathleen was granted a protection order to keep Chiloe away from her and the children, barring Chiloe from being within 300 feet of the couple’s Mesa home. Visits between Chiloe and her biological children were permitted twice a week, but only when supervised by an appointed party.
According to the protection order application — granted by court commissioner Dana Ruff — Kathleen accused Chiloe of selling drugs from their Mesa home. Kathleen claimed her former partner's lifestyle fostered a dangerous environment for the children, including having convicted drug addicts, fugitives and sex offenders coming in and out of the residence. She added that Chiloe had begun using drugs again, had four car accidents in the last year and neglected the young children.
Chillingly, she also alleged that Chiloe and her new girlfriend had taken the children with them while making a drug deal in February and that, when Kathleen confronted her about it, Chiloe grabbed her by the throat while screaming at her.
“She made many threats against me, but the one that stood out the most is, ‘I will kill you if you ever say that again,’” Kathleen wrote. “She would kill me. She had already nearly accomplished that years earlier."
Kathleen was referring to a time seven years prior, when Chiloe allegedly strangled her to the point of unconsciousness on the bathroom floor, according to the Herald.
“I remember distinctly feeling at peace, warm and light,” Kathleen wrote. “I came to with her standing over me, yelling at me to stop faking it.”
The physical abuse reportedly stopped when a roommate heard them and threatened to stop giving Chiloe money, according to court records, but Kathleen said the emotional abuse continued throughout the years.
“Chiloe has always used my commitment to our children as a means to control me,” Kathleen wrote. “And if I crossed the line, she would always threaten to take them away from me, keep me from seeing them.”
Kathleen called Chiloe a good person “when those addiction demons are not on her back,” claiming that Chiloe needed professional help because she put Kathleen and the children at risk “every single day.”
Chiloe’s arrest was a long way from the seemingly wholesome life she tried creating for herself while in recovery. In October 2017, she opened Chiloe’s Corner 12-Step Cafe in Kennewick, according to the Tri-City Herald. The small eatery — which closed less than a year later in September 2018 — was aimed at catering to people in recovery, as Chiloe had been at the time.
“I use 12 steps as a foundation for my life,’ Chiloe told the paper in 2017. “I’m here because of God’s grace.”
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