Kate Kasten had just started getting on with her life after losing her husband to cancer in 2017. She'd recently moved to a new city and had even started dating again. That fresh start was cut short, however, when she was murdered along with her two children and mother. And her new boyfriend has been charged in the deaths.
Kasten, 39, took care of her husband, Kory, during the six years he battled cancer until his death in April 2017 and friends were happy to see her appearing to take the next step in her life, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. She only recently moved to St. Charles, Mo., and had a new boyfriend, 46-year-old Richard Emery.
On Friday, however, the life Kasten was rebuilding for her and her family was shattered by gunfire.
Kasten, her son Jonathan, 10, daughter Zoe, 8, and her mother Jane Moeckel, 61, were shot to death inside Kasten’s home. Moeckel had even called 911 in the middle of the shooting as she tried to lock herself and her grandchildren in one of the home's bedrooms, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Gunshots were audible in the 911 call.
Emery fled the scene as police arrived, exchanging gunfire with them, according to authorities.
“One of the bullet holes from the subject’s gun pierced the door frame right in front of where one of the two officers was standing,” Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar said at a news conference about the tragedy on Saturday.
Emery managed to evade police for seven hours, during which time he allegedly stabbed a woman repeatedly while trying to carjack her. She survived the attack and police later found Emery inside a convenience store bathroom, bleeding from a gunshot wound.
During questioning by police, detectives say Emery showed concern for the woman he tabbed as well as for the officers he shot at. But he didn't mention the slain family at all, they said.
Emery has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder, in addition to charges of assault and attempted robbery. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf at this time. It’s possible he could be sentenced to death if convicted, according to Fox6News in Milwaukee.
Meanwhile, the Kasten's remaining family members are struggling to come to grips with their loss.
“It’s beyond belief,” Frederick Moeckel, her father, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The kids were very close. Only two years apart. They lost their father less than two years ago. He was an incredible man, and Katie was an incredible daughter. Jane was a wonderful person also.”
Moeckel said he didn't notice any signs of problems in Emery and Kasten's relationship. Quite the contrary - he said the whole family had a nice dinner together on Dec. 23 at the very home where they were slain five days later.
"The kids loved him," he said, adding that Emery was involved in their lives and often helped them with their homework.
No motive has been disclosed for the massacre and Emery does not have a criminal record.
[Photo: Charles Police Department]
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