The 2012 murder of Lisa Knoefel, who was stabbed at least 178 times by her foster daughter at the direction of her husband Kevin Knoefel, is the subject of NBC’s “Dateline: Deadly Betrayal,” which sticks true to its title.
Due to the unusual nature of this case of excessive force, media attention has focused on the history of each involved party.
If you, too, are intrigued by this mystery and want to know more about the foster daughter turned assailant Sabrina Zunich, we have the information you need.
Who is Sabrina Zunich?
On October 27, 1994, Sabrina Zunich was born to Susan Edwards and Mark Zunich, a couple who were not married.
Both her parents had problems with the law and substance usage, therefore she was primarily raised by her paternal grandmother.
Sabrina’s high school years at Wickliffe were marked by her increasing impulsiveness, as evidenced by her frequent physical altercations with other students and their frequent loss of temper.
Thus, at the age of 14, she was committed to the “behavior modification” institution known as the Emma Caley Receiving Home.
She had been passed around from foster family to foster family until she was finally placed with the Knoefels when she was 16 years old.
According to court documents, Kevin was a truck driver and Lisa Knoefel was a well-known social worker in the sex abuse department.
The couple already had two daughters, so Sabrina was easily accepted.
The truth, however, was quite different. Sabrina and Lisa clashed at home despite the fact that she was doing well in school, had aspirations of becoming a model or enrolling in a cosmetology course, and had many friends.
By 2012, she had begun an affair with her foster father, as evidenced by legal records. Kevin started broaching the subject of divorce with his pals in the summer.
Days before her 18th birthday in October 2012, it was revealed that Sabrina had contacted a hitman referral service inquiring about Lisa.
Lisa reportedly wanted the foster child to depart because she suspected there was some sort of connection between her husband and the child.
When Kevin broke down and told Sabrina he was thinking of killing himself because of the way things were between him and Lisa, she was convinced and agreed to do it.
Over the next few hours, Kevin laid out a detailed strategy for her to follow, and on November 16th, Sabrina put it into action.
They took her into custody right there.
Where is Sabrina Zunich Now?
They found Sabrina Zunich covered in blood when they responded to a 911 call placed by Lisa’s 13-year-old daughter, Megan, who had witnessed the incident.
She had a knife in her hand and was standing next to Lisa’s body. As though in disbelief, she refused to answer any questions and said she couldn’t remember anything (the same lie Kevin had instructed her to tell if she were ever arrested).
Sabrina was arrested in January 2013 and held for nine months before she consented to cooperate with authorities in August 2013.
Having been abandoned by Kevin, she told everyone about their romance and his plan to kill Lisa in order to collect on her life insurance.
Kevin stated that Sabrina would be “worth more dead than alive” so that he could secure a secure financial future for himself and his wife.
Her good sense had been fooled by his deceptive charm, and she had consented to do what he asked.
During his trial in the summer of 2014, Sabrina even testified against him. Since she was bound for prison anyhow, she had no choice but to go all out.
Sabrina pled guilty to aggravated murder in August 2014 and was sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole after 30 years.
Before she was sentenced, she remarked in court, “I want to convey how sorry I am for all those I wounded.”
Lisa’s misfortune was not warranted, and she should not have suffered it.
No words can express the depth of my regret and the weight of my heartbreak.
Sabrina is currently a prisoner at the Dayton Correctional Institution in Montgomery County, Ohio, where she was sent after being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), depression (DID), anxiety (GAD), and manic depression (manic depression). In 2042 she will be eligible for parole.