"It's in his nature to be finished with people," Cluff said of her brother-in-law. "He was on to bigger and better things and Michele was in his way and starting to figure him out."
She believes Martin thought a divorce would be too messy and pricey. Over the years, the family tried to forgive and forget and get along with Martin, but he would often twist situations to make his wife believe her relatives were against her. "Everybody was afraid of Martin."
And toward the end of Michele's life, her voice betrayed that she wasn't happy, Cluff said.
But Michele never spoke negatively about Martin and wouldn't let anyone else, either.
It's hard for Helen Somers though, when the loss of her daughter is often in her mind.
She still remembers her little Michele secretly collecting soda cans for months to raise money to buy her a brown teapot for hot chocolate, which still sits in her kitchen.
Michele was always service-oriented, always trying to help people, she said. Martin must have played off of her goodness.
"I sure do miss her," Somers said. "I hope Martin is in jail forever."
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