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June 08, 2007

Joel Zellmer

So here's someone charged with a pretty sick way to try and make a living, one Joel Zellmer. Zellmer's alleged modus operandi was to make nice with the single mothers of young children then court them.

Then, when Zellmer had either married or moved in with the woman, he'd suggest that significant life insurance should be purchased....yes, you guessed it, when our Joel had the life insurance fully paid up then the darling little tot would face an accident.

In the latest one, his three year old step-daughter drowned, and Zellmer is now arraigned on charges of first degree murder.

Here's a listing of the "accidents" that happened to children who were in Zellmer's care:

  • In 1990, he took out an uninsured motorist policy and, within weeks, brought his then-wife's 4-month-old son to the hospital. He said the boy had been hurt in a hit-and-run crash and cried when his feet were touched, but an X-ray revealed no problem.

    Zellmer brought the boy back three days later. This time, an X-ray revealed that one of his legs was broken and the other one had a possible fracture. Zellmer sought a $25,000 insurance payout -- until his wife reported that there had been no accident. She said she saw Zellmer damaging the back end of his Honda to make it appear as if it had been rear-ended.

  • In 2000, the baby of another woman he'd been dating somehow ended up in his hot tub. Zellmer said the baby had been crawling around on the floor and must have gone to the tub -- on a deck off the master bedroom -- when he turned away.

    The woman expressed doubt about his story because the tiny child would not have been able to lift the tub's heavy cover to crawl inside.

    In later months, the woman told investigators, she came home to find her son's hands blistered with second-degree burns. Zellmer told her that he'd found the boy with his hands pressed up against the glass doors of the fireplace.

  • In 2002, Zellmer was engaged to another woman -- the mother of a 2-year-old -- and told her they should get life insurance on her and the toddler. The woman said Zellmer reacted defensively when she joked, "Are you planning to knock me off?"

    Then one day when she came home from work, Zellmer told her that the little girl had fallen into the pool and he'd pulled her out by the hair. She told investigators she left Zellmer when she found a handprint-shaped bruise on her daughter.

  • In 2003, Zellmer began dating a woman with a 3-year-old daughter and proposed marriage after two weeks. The woman said she ended the relationship after Zellmer started talking about getting life insurance policies -- and after finding a collection of photos of women with young children in his home office.

    Zellmer never collected any insurance money in Ashley's death or for injuries suffered by his then-4-month-old stepson, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the county prosecutor's office.

    Investigators say there are "no serious 'accidents' known to have occurred to Zellmer's biological children" or any of his nieces or nephews.

  • The damning part, to my mind, is that these things only happened to children he was biologically unrelated to. I also rather like the fact that he never actually did managed to collect on that life insurance policy.
  • But, even more bizarre, have a look at this legal case involving the same Joel Zelmer. Indeed, over the death of the very same step-daughter, Ashley.

    He got sued by Ashley's biological parents for:

    Stacey Zellmer and Ashley's father, Bruce McLellan, sued Joel Zellmer for wrongful 
    death,alleging negligent supervision, negligent infliction of emotional distress,
    willful or wanton misconduct, outrage, and breach of contract.

    The case was dismissed in its entirety for step-parents, when in loco parentis, benefit
    from the same immunity that parent do over such "accidents".

    Quite bizarre, don't you think?

    June 8, 2007 in Scams and Frauds | Permalink


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    Let's hope this piece of crap gets to ride the lightning.

    Tim adds: I'm against the death penalty in all and every case myself. However, I'm aware that some crimes (such as this as alleged) make that a less popular stance to take.

    Posted by: Robert | Jun 8, 2007 8:20:51 PM

    Stepfathers are quite likely to attempt to kill off their stepchilden, if I remember.

    Posted by: sanbikinoraion | Jun 8, 2007 9:59:47 PM

    But surely "Joel Zellmer" is in itself a made-up name, like "Fielding Mellish" or any of Woody Allen's aliases in "Zelig"?

    PS I am aware that "Fielding Mellish" is from "Bananas"

    Posted by: Mark Wadsworth | Jun 8, 2007 10:12:38 PM

    I rest content with the knowledge that Mr Zellmer will likely be confined with a large number of men are good fathers.

    After reading the Appeals Court order, I can see why the civil suit was dismissed and sadly agree with the reasoning.

    Posted by: walt moffett | Jun 9, 2007 2:08:59 AM

    "Stepfathers are quite likely to attempt to kill off their stepchilden, if I remember."

    Nature, red in claw and tooth . . . :

    "A female osprey has laid two eggs to a partner which smashed those fathered by a rival. EJ had mated with an older rogue male called VS rather than her usual partner Henry at RSPB Scotland's Loch Garten Centre on Speyside. Henry horrified visitors and staff when he deliberately destroyed VS's clutch last month."

    Tim adds: Indeed, my current reading is all about this. Lots of "obligate sublicide" in birds and things.

    Posted by: Bob B | Jun 9, 2007 5:28:28 AM

    For what it's worth, Tim, I would imagine the Seattle cops would have had this suspect in their sights for quite some time - probably to the extent that he hasn't had a date since Ashley died.

    Posted by: Martin | Jun 9, 2007 5:45:06 AM

    it's pretty pathetic and nieve to take the media's reports and only one side of the story at face value. sicko's. NONE of you would have even remotely made good lawyers. and by the way, he DID collect on the life insurance, but he didn't want it. it was given away. tell me that a man looking to collect life insurance for a living would just give his money away, and don't tell me he had double motive behind it. YOU are what makes the media so popular. believe anything you're told. you're all SOO smart!!!!!!

    Posted by: buddahbelly | Jun 11, 2007 4:39:26 PM

    sounds prety crazy?
    did he live with bio kids?
    did he have time for his stupiD
    luck to hurt thses kids.

    I thought I knew this guy in school
    and he was an accident prone fool,
    he was the only one I know to have a car fall on him in shop ,and I dont think it was maent to happen.
    but he was definatly what we all called acident prone.
    not surprised to see all this really.
    I wouldnt let him watch my kid after knowing how unlucky he is or should I say the lack to see what might happen from a situation.
    he has no for sight.
    and im sure he didnt have custudy of his kids
    So I would say these girls with kids dont be so friking stupid find a good dady for kid ,and someone you like for you!!!
    its about them now not you ...
    advise if you are with an idiot and have kids,if something happens its your faut.
    watch the signs and dont ignore them.
    If they have a bad driving record then there not to smart there,more than 3 dui's
    again go somewere else.
    some of the girls were smart and did just that but im am sure they could have been smarter.ya lets move in together 1 mo. after knowing you and I will watch your kid?

    One comment for the ladies watch were you
    go before you go there for your kids sake
    think ahead.

    Posted by: frizz | Jun 11, 2007 5:05:02 PM

    yes, he has full time custody of one and part time custody of another. he's a great father. not very lucky, but a great father. thanks frizz. it is good to remind people that others just have bad luck in thier lives... joel has watched my daughter MANY times, and never was she 'scared' of him and always came back in one peice and unharmed. she truly loves joel. they have a great bond. joel is one of my husbands best friends.

    Posted by: buddahbelly | Jun 11, 2007 5:40:42 PM

    Correction....Joel lost all cusody and only had limited visitation. I see that Joel has "Conned" you as well. It's all public record...go see the current parenting plans for his kids. Also, the oldest son of Joel is 18, so I don't think custoday plays a role here for him. Also, find out why Joel had custody of his oldest son...his ex wife and mother of Levi has been in and out of jail for the last several years. Come on people take the time to go read all of his court cases...be prepared to spend a few months of reading...:)

    Posted by: Who Do you Think | Jun 12, 2007 5:28:23 AM

    then i dont need to remind you how joel lost his rights to dakota for ONLY a few months, until dakota's mom retracted abunch of false crap she said against him. joel got his rights back to dakota. and of course, levi only turned 18 a few months ago. have you actually ever seen joel and dakota interact? i'm guessing not enough to know what a great father son relationship they made. and mccaley... joel never got a chance with her, as her mother is ashley's mother and mccaley is just now 3years old... don't bother trying to say i've been conned. all you're working up to is trying to discredit anyone that is even remotely for joel.

    Posted by: buddahbelly | Jun 12, 2007 6:20:52 PM

    Anybody have a picture of this freak? I'm curious to know what a child murderer con man looks like. Oh, and to those of you who are defending this guy, you're pathetic. I've always wondered who on earth was stupid enought to lose their money to internet scams, but I guess now I know: its the kind of people that could actually call this sicko 'unlucky' and get conned into defending him

    Posted by: Joel Fan | Jun 12, 2007 11:34:15 PM

    Buddahbelly...taken directly from the current parenting plan....you are so blind...during the few months you are describing, Joel had NO contact with Dakota while they initially investigated him for Murder...you really better go read all fact about Joel before you consider. You should be punished for allowing your kids to be watched by such a phsychotic, manipulating maniac. Shame on you...

    The child named in this Parenting Plan is scheduled to reside the majority of the time with the Mother. That Mother is designated the custodian of the child solely for purposes of all other state and federa1 statutes which quire a designation or determination of custody. This designation shall not affect either parent's rights and responsibilities under this Parenting Plan

    Posted by: Who Do you Think | Jun 13, 2007 3:53:14 AM

    I sure would like to know who the fool is that thinks he knows Joel from school....hhhmm, some 18-20 years ago. I KNOW Joel and his family very well. I was very good friends with his sister, Kim, who was killed in 1982. Joel is INNOCENT.
    This was a very tragic accident. Stacey (his ex wife) has nothing better to do with her time and the money SHE and SHE ALONE recieved from the insurance then to place blame for her grief.
    As for the idiot who is talking crap about custody....Joel raised Levi (now 18) from birth and had Dakota all his life as well until this happened. Dakota's mother (Shelley) abandoned Dakota FOR YEARS and all of a sudden decided she was mature enough now to be a mom. When this ACCIDENT happened she took full advantage and got custody simpky because Joel is a suspect. Shelley wouldn't have stood a chance at getting Dakota but she used someone's else mis fortune for her own selfishness. Dakota ADORES his father as does Levi. Joel is a great father, friend, brother and son. I am sorry for Stacy's loss but it was a tragic accident.
    As fpr Joel only dating women with kids...gimme a break!! Not many women in thier 30's DON'T have a child, it wasn't his preference!
    The media has twisted everything they can to create a good story. Most of this shit comes from ex's and is very blown up for attention, people just love to jump on the band wagon. What would you're ex's all say if they all got together?!!??
    What else ya got??? I am and always will be a voice for Joel and the Zellmer Family.

    Posted by: Hollie | Jun 17, 2007 8:27:32 AM


    It's not worth trying to tell you all the facts, please take the time to go read this case: 97-3-09008-7. Pay specific attention to Judge Joan Dubuque's ruling to why Shelly was granted full custody. Has nothing to do with the accident. Please don't use crap Joel pumped into your head, be smarter than him.

    Posted by: Just the Facts... | Jun 17, 2007 10:29:04 PM


    One more thing...when the final parenting plan was entered, it was Joel himself who opted not to go to trial, and it was he who signed the agreement for Shelly having full custody (Also read the case file as it's all public record). Please make sure you get the facts before posting your ridiculous comments. Thanks....

    Posted by: Just the Facts... | Jun 17, 2007 10:48:15 PM

    Just wait till the guilty verdict!

    Posted by: John Doe | Jun 18, 2007 2:29:35 AM

    In WA state, mother's always get thier kids back, even shitty mother's like Shelly.

    Posted by: Hollie | Jun 18, 2007 4:08:13 AM

    When the acquittal comes thru or the CURCUMSTANTIAL charges are dropped, you can all kiss my fat white ass!!

    Posted by: Hollie | Jun 18, 2007 5:59:12 AM

    Norfleet, Hollie Ann
    Defendant Kcdc-so Div (auk) 7607289 01-28-1994 Criminal Traffic

    5 Norfleet, Hollie Ann
    Defendant Kcdc-so Div (auk) K00133333 08-08-1990 Criminal Felony

    6 Norfleet, Hollie Ann
    Defendant Kcdc-so Div (auk) 87352 11-14-1995 Civil
    NSF Check
    Looks Like Hollie is a real BRIGHT ONE!!! You go girl!

    Posted by: unknown | Jun 20, 2007 6:17:42 AM

    Cheap shot. Looks like it's you who can't handle what Hollie has to say. Makes you look the moron.
    Can we get back to the subject now?

    Posted by: superman | Jun 20, 2007 3:21:36 PM

    Okay so if Joel is innocent, why does every child left in his care have such weird accidents?

    Posted by: Trubba Man | Jun 21, 2007 6:39:04 PM

    This is an innocent man. I have known Joel and Kimmie my entire life, as well as the entire immediate & extended portion of the Zellmer family. In my deepest heart of hearts...I truly believe HE IS NOT GUILTY! Ever since Kims death, the family has not been the same. Who would be after a tragedy of a straight A, exlemplory student in honors and loved by all. (Not to mention the obvious....a daugher, sister, and a dear friend---GOD BLESS YOU KIMMIE).
    Joel has been a distraught man for years who basically lost what was referred to as his "twin sister" (they looked & acted so much alike). I feel that he's never fully recovered this loss. Based upon his upbringing and being in a large close-knit family, I feel that Joel has always wanted to regain that closeness within his "own" family life as an adult. The distant feelings that people get from him is because he has been hurt so badly. I feel based on the relationship that I have held with Joel in the past, all this talk of his "mental issues" have played a role in his ability to focus on even daily activities. Maybe he can function day to day and do certain things that people question as to why he is on disability. But the Joel I know does get side-tracked easily. Always has. I truly believe this lent a hand in what happened to these children. I have 2 children of my own, and I say this all with a lot of thought. I respect the fact that there are 2 sides to every story, but this is not a Joel that is capable of calculating such an aweful tragedy. I agree with the fact that Joel wanted to help people and take them in. That was the nature of Joel that I've known all my life. I believe that the whole Insurance fraud portion of this case IS just coincidence. I believe that he took the policies out as a habit due to his sisters untimely death and seeing the financial hardship that his own family went through with Kimmie. I have not gone to sleep since I found this out last night. I am absolutely SHOCKED and APPAULED by what I am reading about Joel. I have met some of these young women, and know that they certainly had a "catch" with Joel. I was surprised that they had such luck with such a great man. These allegations are UNBELIEVABLE. I will make sure that he's got yet another voice out here. I base some of my existing moral values and beliefs on the way that his Mother and Father raised Joel and his siblings to this day. I always looked up to them all and never once did I feel that Joel was a threat to me.
    I love you Joel Martin Zellmer

    Posted by: LOVEYAJOELMZ | Jun 30, 2007 2:58:48 PM

    Loveya: What's up? Are you just going from blog to blog cutting and pasting your rant about what a great guy Joel is? It's not working. Those of us who don't know Joel and don't live in your community are looking with objective eyes and seeing a guilty man. I bet the Jury will also!

    Posted by: Shel | Jul 2, 2007 6:03:07 PM

    That's the point. You don't know Joel and never have. Your not from our community and glad of it!! I think you might be the type that likes to stir up drama!! Joel Zellmer is a good man!

    Posted by: Terbear | Jul 3, 2007 12:17:24 AM