When you’re sixteen, you are at an age where you are just coming to the light and slowly starting to experiment with life. At this age, it is easy to get manipulated by older people and think that you are in love with them. This is the story of how Sabrina A. Zunich had a torrid affair with her foster dad and how she was manipulated into murdering her foster mother Lisa Knoefel.
How Sabrina A. Zunich came to be under the foster care of Lisa Knoefel and her husband?
Before Sabrina Zunich was placed into the foster system and under the foster care of Lisa Knoefel and Kevin Knoefel, she had lived a very very different life.
Sabrina A. Zunich grew up in the care of her grandmother until she was reprimanded into the system by Lake County officials in 2010 as a result of disruptive behavior.
According to reports, it is said that Sabrina Zunich’s parents were drug addicts and that her dad had suffered mental health issues. Her dad had also passed away in 2012 as a possible result of a drug overdose.
Judging from her family’s history, and the recount that she had behavioral problems while living with her grandmother, it is no wonder that Sabrina Zunich grew up to be a very troubled teenager.
Reports also stated that Sabrina A. Zunich’s own mother Susan Edwards was unable to care for her daughter because she was struggling heavily with a drug problem.
The murder of Lisa Knoefel
Lisa Knoefel was murdered in Ohio in the year 2012 by her own foster daughter Sabrina Zunich. Per reports, Lisa Knoefel’s body was badly brutalized and the way in which she was murdered was horrific.
Sabrina A. Zunich had stabbed her foster mother Lisa Knoefel over a dozen times. Lisa Knoefel’s body also had cuts all over it. Reports indicate that Sabrina Zunich had cut her foster mother over a hundred times.
The story as aired on Dateline
The story in which a teenager 16 years of age who brutally murdered her foster mother at the behest of her foster dad made headlines back in 2012. This prompted the story to be picked up on an episode of Dateline.
The story of Sabrina Zunich who murdered her foster mother Lisa Knoefel was aired on Dateline on January 16, 2015.
Here is a recount of the day of the murder and what cops and witnesses came across at the house where Sabrina A. Zunich had lived with her foster parents Lisa Knoefel and Kevin Knoefel.
A cop called Officer Randy Mullenex who received the distress call in November 2012 recounts the harrowing experience he had when he pulled up to Chagrin Drive, Willoughby Hills, Ohio where Sabrina Zunich lived.
According to Officer Randy, the scene he saw was something absolutely horrific and he could not come to terms with how someone committed such an atrocious act. The crime scene in which the officer found Lisa Knoefel’s body was described as being a crime seen so badly that no one has ever seen a crime scene like this.
More harrowing reports surfaced about the murder weapon used by Sabrina A. Zunich to murder Lisa Knoefel on a chilly winter night in November 2012.
According to episodes aired on dateline Sabrina A. Zunich murder reports, the murder weapon was described as being a long and sharp knife. Officers who attended the crime scene recount that the murder weapon used to murder Lisa Knoefel was so badly bent when they had found it.
The officers said that in order for a murder weapon that was used to kill Lisa Knoefel to be bent so badly, there had to be brute force applied.
It was actually Lisa Knoefel’s daughters who had called up the police and told the police that “you’re going to kill my mum” and more distressing things were said in the background.
At the time of the distress call made by Lisa Knoefel’s daughters to 911, the police had no clue who was actually killing their mother. They did not suspect it was Sabrina A. Zunich based on what they had heard over the phone.
Here is a report recounting what was heard by 911 dispatch when Lisa Knoefel’s daughters made the call:
- “You’re going to kill my mom” – a statement made presumably by one of Lisa Knoefel’s daughters
- It was later deduced that the call was, in fact, one of Lisa Knoefel’s daughters, it was her 13-year-old daughter Megan
- Police report that Megan stated that her mother Lisa Knoefel was getting stabbed right in front of her
- Megan told dispatch “someone is stabbing her with a knife”
- 911 tried asking Megan who was stabbing Lisa Knoefel with a knife
- No answer came from Megan but 911 dispatchers recount hearing Megan screaming and shouting in the background saying things like “you’re killing her. Stop, you’re hurting her” and “why are you doing this?” as well as “oh my god! My mum’s going to die”
- Dispatch said that the call was really disturbing to listen to and that it took a lot of patience to try and understand what Megan was actually saying
More episodes on dateline Sabrina Zunich murderous report detail reports from people who knew Lisa Knoefel and her husband Kevin Knoefel. The episodes also give an insight into the kind of relationship Lisa Knoefel had with Sabrina A. Zunich.
According to friends and family, Lisa Knoefel was a kind and warm-hearted woman. She had dedicated her life and was committed to social work. The whole reason that Lisa Knoefel became a foster parent is to help children who have had rough upbringings and children who were sexually abused.
Knowing Sabrina A. Zunich’s family history, that she was abandoned by her own parents must have made Lisa Knoefel have some special connection to her and want to help her by bringing her into a home that is warm and filled with love.
Lisa Knoefel’s friends recount that she had been into becoming a foster parent ever since she was a single parent. Her friend Carrie Ward reported that Lisa Knoefel was always there to help people when they needed help the most.
Carrie Ward gave an insight to the dateline about the kind of relationship Lisa Knoefel had with Sabrina Zunich. According to Carrie, Lisa Knoefel had brought Sabrina A. Zunich into her home when Sabrina Zunich was only 16 years old.
Lisa Knoefel had the intention to make Sabrina A. Zunich a huge part of her family. Carrie stated that Lisa Knoefel wanted to continue to foster Sabrina Zunich until one day she could call Sabrina her own.
Carrie also gave a recount into Sabrina Zunich’s reaction when she was first brought home by Lisa Knoefel. Her reaction was that she couldn’t believe that she finally had a family.
Dateline Sabrina Zunich murderous report also gives an insight into what the officers saw when they had answered the dispatch call. Primarily, the state they saw Sabrina A. Zunich in.
According to Officer Randy Mullenix who had answered the dispatch call, he saw Sabrina A. Zunich walk out of Lisa Knoefel’s bedroom holding a knife. Remember, as mentioned earlier when officers saw this knife it was bent so badly.
Officer Randy Mullenix also reported that the amount of blood he saw on Sabrina Zunich looked like she had just taken a shower in blood. Sabrina A. Zunich was soaked in bright red blood from head to toe.
Who was the real mastermind behind Lisa Knoefel’s murder?
Sure Officer’s found Sabrina A. Zunich with the murder weapon and covered in blood, but the real question is who in fact instigated the murder of Lisa Knoefel. To answer this question, we need to take a look into the family history and relationship that Lisa Knoefel had with her foster daughter as well as her husband.
Sabrina Zunich came to live with Lisa Knoefel and her husband Kevin Knoefel when she was only 16 years old. Friends report that Lisa Knoefel and her husband were very much in love at the time, and had just recently had a child together.
What seemed like a happy family slowly turned into a nightmare. Sabrina Zunich was in fact having a torrid love affair with none other than Kevin Knoefel, her foster father and the husband of Lisa Knoefel.
Reports indicate that Kevin manipulated Sabrina A. Zunich into having an affair with him so that he could get her to do his dirty bidding. Court documents show that Sabrina Zunich was manipulated into murdering her foster mother Lisa Knoefel because Kevin wanted to claim Lisa Knoefel’s life insurance money.
The reports say that Kevin stated that his wife “was worth more to him if she was dead rather than alive”. It is believed that Lisa Knoefel’s life insurance policy was valued at an estimate of $800,000.
Further reports detail that Kevin Knoefel was the one who had planned the exact specificiations of the murder. The report states that Kevin told Sabrina A. Zunich exactly what to do, and when to do it. This is why Officers who answered the dispatch call saw Sabrina Zunich holding a knife and soaked in blood.
Where is Kevin Knoefel now? After Sabrina A. Zunich had confessed that the real mastermind behind the atrocious crime was in fact Kevin, the court conviceted him of being complicit in the murder of his wife Lisa Knoefel.
The court had also charged Kevin Knoefel with sexual battery charges. As a result of both charges, he was sentenced to life in prison.
Kevin denied that he had any part in the death of his wife Lisa Knoefel. According to him, he stated that Sabrina Zunich had acted alone and acted out of jealousy.
What happened to Sabrina Zunich after murdering Lisa Knoefel?
After Officer Randy Mullenix answered the dispatch call in which he saw Sabrina A. Zunich covered in blood, holding a bent knife and walking out of Lisa Knoelef’s bedroom, Sabrina Zunich was taken into custody and awaited trial.
Here is what happened at her trial and the kind of sentence she received:
- Sabrina A. Zunich pleaded guilty to aggravated murder
Sabrina Zunich had remorse in her eyes and said that she is sorry for the crimes she had committed against her foster mother Lisa Knoelef
- Sabrina A. Zunich told the prosecutors that Kevin was the one who forced her hand, and it was because of him that she resorted to murdering Lisa Knoelef
- Sabrina Zunich openly admitted to having an affair with Kevin Knoefel and stated that the affair began in March 2012
- She further stated that she expected Kevin to divorce Lisa Knoefel and that she was hoping to live with him after his divorce
- Sabrina A. Zunich recounted the things Kevin had told her. She said that Kevin told her he didn’t love Lisa Knoefel anymore.
- She had also said that Kevin felt like he did not want to share custody with Lisa Knoefel over their daughter Hailey
- It seems that the thing that caused Sabrina Zunich to snap was a comment Kevin made in November 2012, few days before Lisa Knoelef was murdered
- The comment made by Kevin was that he wanted to kill himself if Lisa Knoelef was not dead.
So where exactly is Sabrina A. Zunich now? She is currently serving time in Dayton Correctional Institution where she will remain incarcerated for 30 years. However, her lawyers did petition that she receive a chance for parole after having served 20 years.