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Thread: Police: Washington Man Drowned Child for $200,000 Insurance Policy

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    Police: Washington Man Drowned Child for $200,000 Insurance Policy

    SEATTLE The firefighters who tried to save 3-year-old Ashley McLellan, unconscious after being pulled from a pool on a winter night in 2003, noticed something strange about her stepfather: He was calm, mostly dry and never once asked them if she would live.
    She didn't, and Joel Zellmer was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of killing her in an attempt to collect on a $200,000 insurance policy just one accusation in a string of accidents that investigators say Zellmer concocted to befall the young children of the women he dated.
    Investigators say Zellmer has a history of dating single mothers, urging them to take out insurance policies and harming their children, including burning the hands of one and giving another a hot cup that blistered her lips.


    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,279414,00.html

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    What a disgusting horrible man. I don't know how anyone can hurt a child.

    I see no reason to have an insurance policy on a child. (correct me if there's a good reason)

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    He should be drowned himself so he would know what kind of terror those kids went through.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dena View Post
    What a disgusting horrible man. I don't know how anyone can hurt a child.

    I see no reason to have an insurance policy on a child. (correct me if there's a good reason)
    i had a child still born and had to pay all cost for the burial. it is very expensive. many people get a policy at birth like the Gerber grow up plan. it 5thousand. when the child turns 21 you can cash in many of these policies. that money can then be used to help pay for school. many of these policies can also be raised when the child turns 21 for less than it would cost for a 21 year old to get their own policy. i see nothing wrong with these small policies that cover funeral cost only. why you would need more than 5 thousand is beyond me. we all know you should never out live your kids but it does happen. most parent refuse to look at this fact because of the gut feeling that if you admit it can happen somehow it will. the fact you can cash out the policy is what tends to sway the parents that do it. in this case large policies are taken on small kids. to me that should be a red flag from the start.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dena View Post
    What a disgusting horrible man. I don't know how anyone can hurt a child.

    I see no reason to have an insurance policy on a child. (correct me if there's a good reason)
    I don't think there is a reason to have one that large . It is not like with an adult where they have a family to support. We have the standard policy though my husbands job for our children for 10,000 (I am guessing this is the standard for a child to cover costs of a death?).

    Another scumbag preying on single moms. I can't blieve he hurt all of those kids just to get some $. He sounds like a true psychopath .

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    Quote Originally Posted by sherri79 View Post
    i had a child still born and had to pay all cost for the burial. it is very expensive. many people get a policy at birth like the Gerber grow up plan. it 5thousand. when the child turns 21 you can cash in many of these policies. that money can then be used to help pay for school. many of these policies can also be raised when the child turns 21 for less than it would cost for a 21 year old to get their own policy. i see nothing wrong with these small policies that cover funeral cost only. why you would need more than 5 thousand is beyond me. we all know you should never out live your kids but it does happen. most parent refuse to look at this fact because of the gut feeling that if you admit it can happen somehow it will. the fact you can cash out the policy is what tends to sway the parents that do it. in this case large policies are taken on small kids. to me that should be a red flag from the start.
    Thank you for the info Sherri, and I am so sorry for your loss. We came within minutes of losing my son at birth, I can only imagine that pain. Just being close haunts me often.
    I have looked at life insurance to be a replacement income for the lost loved one, since children don't have income, I considered it unneeded. I might just look into a VERY small policy for my son. (although I have to get one for myself first) I don't see a reason for anything more than to cover funeral costs.
    I can't see being blinded by love to ignore to those red flags.

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    some life insurance policies have small benefits for children (5-10k) when the parent is covered.

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    These young moms need to be extremely careful who they let into their child's life, much less to leave them alone with. There are too many weird people who look for single women with children so they can molest the children. Some don't molest but abuse in other ways. This drowning for money is horrible. A few questions to the ones he had previously been involved with, might have saved all this heartbreak. Just asking how he treated their children. It is better to remain single than to subject a helpless child to a monster.
    Last edited by Annie; 06-09-2007 at 10:28 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by White Rain View Post
    He should be drowned himself so he would know what kind of terror those kids went through.
    I agree WR, but my method involves repeated near drowning - over and over and over again - let him get a few breaths air in between each dunking, just to keep him barely alive. Maybe an hour or two of that followed by a stiff LONG (i.e. life) jail sentence might be an appropriate punishment.

    Let these perps feel what it feels like to do what they did to their victim. I have no problem with that at all!!!!!

    So often times it happens that we live our life in chains, and we never even know we have the key. ...Eagles, "Already Gone"

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    How sad for the mother =(

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    ok, please do NOT flame me here (pretty please)

    BUT - I will place some miniscule amount of blame here on the mom - simply for this fact -

    snip - http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/13469114/detail.html

    "The investigative documents also allege prior incidents involving Ashley. The girl's mother returned home once after leaving her daughter in Zellmer's care and the little girl had a split lip. Ashley told her mother that Joel had pushed her down the stairs because she had wet her pantsZellmer denied that accusations."


    she was aware (whether consciously or not) that something had occurred at sometime during their relationship. I haven't found anything about the length of their relationship, but they were married 2 1/2 months prior to this happening(the drowning). And with the idiot's history of bouncing from one relationship to another, I can't imagine he would waste a bunch of time w/ trying to gain a foundation on one. Pretty much the wine/dine, act like the perfect guy/father figure and the women were reeled in (my opinion of the guy based on what i've read) therefore, I'm looking at it as it was a short relationship that this all took place during.

    hell, my mother was in charge of my daughter once, (kidlet was about 2) and she fell and bumped her eye. nothing major, it bruised etc. BUT, my mom didn't watch her again, until I felt that the distracting factor that contributed to it was gone. And that was MY MOTHER!!!

    so why in the world would you leave your kid with someone who had already been accussed by your kid of pushing him/her down the stairs?


    --stepping down off the soapbox--

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    Quote Originally Posted by poco View Post
    I agree WR, but my method involves repeated near drowning - over and over and over again - let him get a few breaths air in between each dunking, just to keep him barely alive. Maybe an hour or two of that followed by a stiff LONG (i.e. life) jail sentence might be an appropriate punishment.

    Let these perps feel what it feels like to do what they did to their victim. I have no problem with that at all!!!!!

    You are too funny! I like your thought process.

  16. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by JinxieJada View Post
    ok, please do NOT flame me here (pretty please)

    BUT - I will place some miniscule amount of blame here on the mom - simply for this fact -

    snip - http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/13469114/detail.html

    "The investigative documents also allege prior incidents involving Ashley. The girl's mother returned home once after leaving her daughter in Zellmer's care and the little girl had a split lip. Ashley told her mother that Joel had pushed her down the stairs because she had wet her pantsZellmer denied that accusations."


    she was aware (whether consciously or not) that something had occurred at sometime during their relationship. I haven't found anything about the length of their relationship, but they were married 2 1/2 months prior to this happening(the drowning). And with the idiot's history of bouncing from one relationship to another, I can't imagine he would waste a bunch of time w/ trying to gain a foundation on one. Pretty much the wine/dine, act like the perfect guy/father figure and the women were reeled in (my opinion of the guy based on what i've read) therefore, I'm looking at it as it was a short relationship that this all took place during.

    hell, my mother was in charge of my daughter once, (kidlet was about 2) and she fell and bumped her eye. nothing major, it bruised etc. BUT, my mom didn't watch her again, until I felt that the distracting factor that contributed to it was gone. And that was MY MOTHER!!!

    so why in the world would you leave your kid with someone who had already been accussed by your kid of pushing him/her down the stairs?


    --stepping down off the soapbox--
    NO FLAMING.....YOU ARE RIGHT!

    There were prior incidents and this mother looked the other way.
    It was her responsibility to keep her children safe and she MESSED UP.

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    This is so twisted. I just can't remember ever hearing something so horrible. It was on our local news and then the paper picked it up the next day.

    The first link is the story itself.



    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003739341_zellmer08m.html



    This link is a timeline of his marriages and what happened to other kids.


    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003739343_zellmertimeline08m.html

    I don't care how "charming" he is, moms need to really put their kids first and be really, really sure who some man is.

    Good speech JJ! ITA!

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    correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't somehow or another it come out that he was previously married all these times? Taxes, buying real estate, filing for a marriage certificate etc? If true, I know I for damn sure would be asking questions, as to why so many times, and why such short periods of time. Yes, people do marry and get involved with the wrong person in a relationship, but THAT many times?

    I'm sooooo sick and tired of women who leave their kids with men knowing that something isn't or hasn't been right. and then they are sooo shocked when things happen and end tragically. (and as we all know tragically doesn't have to mean death)

    I know that we aren't supposed to place "blame" on the victim, but you know what? The more I read up on this, the more I don't really feel mom was that victim. that poor little girl who was literally murdered for "blood money" is the victim here. Her mother had a duty to take her seriously, not rush down the aisle with the damn guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Otter View Post
    This is so twisted. I just can't remember ever hearing something so horrible. It was on our local news and then the paper picked it up the next day.

    The first link is the story itself.



    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003739341_zellmer08m.html



    This link is a timeline of his marriages and what happened to other kids.


    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003739343_zellmertimeline08m.html

    I don't care how "charming" he is, moms need to really put their kids first and be really, really sure who some man is.

    Good speech JJ! ITA!
    Thanks so much for this link. That timeline really blows my mind. Some of the women seemed to smarten up quick enough to kick him to the curb, but he sure didn't have any trouble finding the next single mom.

    What a heartbreaking case.

    To kill a child for money - that just floors me. I have a really high "understanding tolerance" when it comes to my views on why/how adults harm children, but I've little understanding of this type of sociopathic behavior.
    I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death!

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    Quote Originally Posted by southcitymom View Post
    Thanks so much for this link. That timeline really blows my mind. Some of the women seemed to smarten up quick enough to kick him to the curb, but he sure didn't have any trouble finding the next single mom.

    What a heartbreaking case.

    To kill a child for money - that just floors me. I have a really high "understanding tolerance" when it comes to my views on why/how adults harm children, but I've little understanding of this type of sociopathic behavior.
    SCM, nothing will happen in regard to this for years. UGH, it'll be looked at and put under a microscope. He must be innocent! And nothing will happen, and some judge here will give him bail.

    I can't begin to enumerate the cases in King County where justice is delayed. And we don't hear a thing about this now -- it was "interesting" for a few days and now nothing.

    No wonder the glorious Pacific NW spawns so much evil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JinxieJada View Post
    ok, please do NOT flame me here (pretty please)

    BUT - I will place some miniscule amount of blame here on the mom - simply for this fact -

    snip - http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/13469114/detail.html

    "The investigative documents also allege prior incidents involving Ashley. The girl's mother returned home once after leaving her daughter in Zellmer's care and the little girl had a split lip. Ashley told her mother that Joel had pushed her down the stairs because she had wet her pantsZellmer denied that accusations."


    she was aware (whether consciously or not) that something had occurred at sometime during their relationship. I haven't found anything about the length of their relationship, but they were married 2 1/2 months prior to this happening(the drowning). And with the idiot's history of bouncing from one relationship to another, I can't imagine he would waste a bunch of time w/ trying to gain a foundation on one. Pretty much the wine/dine, act like the perfect guy/father figure and the women were reeled in (my opinion of the guy based on what i've read) therefore, I'm looking at it as it was a short relationship that this all took place during.

    hell, my mother was in charge of my daughter once, (kidlet was about 2) and she fell and bumped her eye. nothing major, it bruised etc. BUT, my mom didn't watch her again, until I felt that the distracting factor that contributed to it was gone. And that was MY MOTHER!!!

    so why in the world would you leave your kid with someone who had already been accussed by your kid of pushing him/her down the stairs?


    --stepping down off the soapbox--
    You are right, and it wasn't just this child's mother. In the CNN article, it also talks about another mom who left her son alone with Zellmer a few months AFTER finding him "on the bedroom floor near a hot tub, soaking wet and pallid" when Zellmer was supposedly watching him.

    I think it is just so sad that some single moms are desperate enough for a man, and have low enough self esteem, that they would ignore those kind of warning signs and put their kids in harm's way repeatedly. That's the only reason I can think of to explain that behavior. It just doesn't make sense!

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    In most cases moms should be charged in cases like this because most often there is a pattern of behavior that the mon should know about. This man hurt her cihld once before, she should have filed for divorce and had him arrested at that time.

    VERY sad and yes I agree, there is no reason to carry a 200k life insurance policy on a young child. I think I have one for 10k on my 2 year old. No amount of money could ever replace my daughter.

  23. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Nocgirl View Post
    In most cases moms should be charged in cases like this because most often there is a pattern of behavior that the mon should know about. This man hurt her cihld once before, she should have filed for divorce and had him arrested at that time.

    VERY sad and yes I agree, there is no reason to carry a 200k life insurance policy on a young child. I think I have one for 10k on my 2 year old. No amount of money could ever replace my daughter.

    I hope police are looking at the mother. Did she know about the policy? If so, how did he convince her to take it out? What possible reason could anyone have for buying this kind of insurance for a child?

    I am currently married, but if I ever found myslef a single mom, I may just stay that way until my kids are older. I would have a seriously difficult time trusting anyone...

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    and my kids and others wondered why i was so reluctant to have any relationship with someone while i was raising them....

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    Many kids are seriously injured and killed by boyfriends and step-fathers. Laws need to be passed that hold mothers accountable for this. They are the ones that get involved with these creeps. Most often these women have several kids, by different guys and they are so overwhelmed with everything they latch on to the first guy that shows interest in them, no matter how big of a loser he is. It is really sad.

    If I ever became single again, I would be really hesitant to date anyone. If a man ever laid a hand on my child or displayed aggressive behavior towards her I would boot his ass right out on the street.

    Virginia Venegas in AZ is serving a life sentence, and Juan Velazquez on death row for the death of her 2 year old daughter, and serious injury to the 3 year old at the hands of her boyfriend. She knew about the abuse and still left the girls alone with him. These 2 are the scum of the earth. This wa a huge case out here as CPS was sued by the girls father, and the case workers were held accountable for part of the verdict.

    http://test.azcorrections.gov/isearc...rchType=Search

    http://test.azcorrections.gov/isearc...ype=SearchInet

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    Trial is underway for Zellmer

    Summary

    Joel Zellmer is accused of drowning his stepdaughter, Ashley McLellan, in December 2003 to collect life insurance money. On Tuesday the girl's mother, the suspect's ex-wife, recounted the fateful day for the jury.


    http://www.katu.com/news/89013172.html
    What we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.
    But if that drop was not in the ocean,
    I think the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
    ~~ Mother Theresa ~~



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    wow why did no one put a stop to this guy years ago? stuff dating back to 1990......

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    whatttt?????

    they have old cases but are doing nothing?? such a long string of cases already, how many kids has this monster hurt??

    what is wrong with these women?? how can they let such creeps into the lives of their children??

    this is enough to make me puke...this is just disgusting

    why didn't anyone connect the dots sooner?? whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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