Police: 18-year-old suspect in foster mother's stabbing death at Willoughby Hills home

WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio - Police say they found an 18-year-old girl covered in blood and holding a knife, then discovered her foster mother stabbed to death in a Willoughby Hills home Friday morning.

Police said they received a call from a 13-year-old girl hysterical and screaming that her sister was attacking her mother with a knife at about 1:16 a.m.

Willoughby Hills and Waite Hill officers, along with Willoughby fire, arrived to the home on the 2500 block of Chagrin Drive at 1:19 a.m. where they were met by the 13-year-old girl, who ran out the front door.

When they entered the home, officers said they found the girl's 18-year-old sister bloody. As they moved to the first-floor master bedroom, police said they discovered a woman suffering from multiple stab wounds to her neck and face. EMS personnel were unable to resuscitate her and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Lake County Coroner identified the victim as 41-year-old Lisa Knoefel, of Willoughby Hills, the foster parent of the 18-year-old girl who was a senior at Willoughby South High School.

Police said Knoefel was a social worker at Cuyahoga Children and Family Services in the sex crime division.

Her husband, a truck driver, was on the road when this happened.

Knoefel's next-door neighbor, Lynn Cormack, said the stabbing death has hit her hard.

"Lisa, she was a sweetheart every time we saw her outside or anything like that we'd sit there and we'd talk like neighbors," she said.

Cormack said Lisa, her husband and the girls all seemed very happy together. A tree had fallen in the yard after Superstorm Sandy sent strong winds through Willoughby Hills.

"They were just working together, like a family. (The 18-year-old) Was playing with the two other daughters and playing basketball and everything. My boyfriend's nephews would play basketball with them. Everything seemed so normal. Then this happens," said Cormack.

Now, she said she wonders what could have gone so wrong that would cause the teen to turn on Knoefel.

"Someone finally reaches out and wants you to be a part of their family, they want to take you in and help you and guide you through life and you kill and you do this," she said.

Cormack said she can't stop thinking about Lisa's 13-year-old daughter, Haley, who made the 911 call to police.

"I think it's traumatizing. For the rest of her life she's going to have the voices of hearing her Mom wake up screaming for the rest of her life in her head," Cormack said, "I look at it like the mother is the home and this house is not a home anymore because the mother's not there. So I just think it is the most unbelievable thing someone can do."

Police took the 18-year-old to Lake West Hospital. She remains in their custody. No charges have been filed against her at this time.

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