Mother of murdered girl faces drug charges

Forensic evidence confirms child had been sexually assaulted before death

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kelly Jo Stoudt, the mother of seven-year-old Chloey Stoudt who was killed earlier this year, has been arraigned on four drug-related charges from the incident, Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola announced today.

Kelly Jo Stoudt was arraigned Friday on charges of aiding and abetting delivery of cocaine, maintaining a drug house, use of cocaine and possession of marijuana. The charge of aiding and abetting delivery of cocaine is a felony punishable by up to 20 years prison.

“We intend to defend those charges and I believe we will attain a favorable outcome," said Jeffrey Nellis, Kelly Stoudt's lawyer.

"Kelly is also a victim in that she lost a child. What happened to her daughter was completely unforeseeable and in no way her fault,” Nellis said.

Authorities this morning also said Chloey Stoudt was sexually assaulted shortly before she was suffocated in her Ludington home April 28 by James Belanger, 39, of Montague.

Shortly after assaulting Chloey, Belannger stabbed himself and died, authorities say.

Child neglect and abuse proceedings have also been filed by the Department of Human Services and Kelly's other two children have been placed with her parents pending further proceedings.

Spaniola and law enforcement authorities held a press conference this morning to discuss the case.



This and the channel 7&4 video below updates the grisly murder that happened in April in this small community.  It is an interesting development in its own right, but I am curious about the timing of this release of new information on this tragedy.  With the recent drowning and its potential fallout, did the City decide to release this information now to deaden the impact of that event? 


After all, the agencies (city and county) releasing  news of this salacious nature in the midst of tourist season would normally be a dumb thing, as most tourists are likely unaware of this event in this community.  This press release could have easily been held until after Labor Day.  Since it wasn't, was it a ruse to get the drowning, and the City's possible complicity for it, on a back burner in the public's eyes? 


If it was, doesn't Ludington run the risk of having these two stories being both bantered about in the headiest part of tourist season, and be negatively portrayed in both? 


FULL REPORT- Investigation of Ludington murder-suicide complete New...

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As for the timing...That is about right for Grand Rapids forensic team to give results. Actually it was a little quick considering this was not a rush case...the perpetrator was already dead. It was obvious there was more investigation going on with this case...often those investigations can take more than a year.

So it could be as you say, but I'm more inclined to thing that they are publicizing the results as soon as they have completed investigation. We don't know what has not been made public but will show up in court over the drug charges. It seems both sides indicated there was stuff that will come out then.

As for tourists being unaware? Do you realize that many summer visitors do at minimum check the website for updates if they don't subscribe to the web version of the paper. Also that news was on national news. I saw it on Yahoo national news and at the time there were people from all over the country speculating on the case. Tourists knew and have not forgotten but came anyway.
I would think that the forensic results have been known for a bit by authorities while the PA was deciding how to proceed in the matter. The release of how they were to continue, could have been put off for awhile, if they so desired to. It could have been coincidence that it came out when it did, but the PA's office has been very politically-friendly with the City since Spaniola took charge.

Since the story happened in April and news on it only lasted about a week, well away from where tourists go, there are a sizable amount of regular tourists not as internet savvy as us, who would not have heard about it.
OK I see. I know it was on Yahoo news and so thought it was at minimum state wide. Did Grand Rapids or Muskegon plan to spill the beans since the guy was from that area? I know it was on the headlines of one of the Grand Rapids stations that the test results were complete.
Paul is trying to score political points at the expense of this crime victim, who may just be innocent of what has been alleged and accepted as fact by some (see replies to the LDN article). Paul is a pathetic excuse for a prosecutor, and a political patsy who looks the other way when there is evidence of wrongdoing by local politicos.

For example, I gave him some good stuff on wrongdoing by City Officials, including the breaking of state and local ordinances and he decided it should be decided by the City Attorney and City Manager, as it was dealing with Ordinances. Being that the City Attorney and Manager was present and took part in some of the legal transgressions I alleged, I found this rather bizarre.

Spaniola also told me it was lawful for a police vehicle to pass me (riding my bicycle legally on the road) by travelling completely in the left lane in a no passing zone going 15 mph over the speed limit inside a school zone. Go figure-- but what if Chloe's mother did it instead of an LPD officer?
"If it was, doesn't Ludington run the risk of having these two stories being both bantered about in the headiest part of tourist season, and be negatively portrayed in both?"

I don't think so. Where do you think the tourist come from, Mayberry? This stuff happens all the time in larger cities. Unless there is an axe murderer running around this is just another bad news story that these folks are used to reading. They know these things can happen in any town, even Ludington.
I somewhat agree, now that I've become more desensitized to crime in Ludington. However, when that murder occurred about 5 years ago and the young woman victim was found in the trunk of a burning car, I was in disbelief. I didn't want to believe that I cannot totally remove myself from the bad things that are commonplace where I presently live. It was a rude awakening.
You are right Mary. That was a bad one even for a big city.


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