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Christine COFFMAN

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Revenge (Christine Coffman was trying to get back at her own husband - by killing the step-grandson he loved - because he wanted a divorce)
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 29, 2005
Date of arrest: 3 days after
Date of birth: 1961
Victim profile: Matal Zachery Sanchez, 4 (her step-grandson)
Method of murder: Hitting in the head with a rock
Location: Milwaukee, Clackamas County, Oregon, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to life in prison on March 12, 2007
 
 
 
 
 
 

Milwaukie woman sentenced to life for killing 4-year-old boy

By Noelle Crombie - The Oregonian

Monday, March 12, 2007

A 45-year-old Milwaukie woman will spend the rest of her life in prison for bludgeoning her 4-year-old stepgrandson to death.

In a hearing that lasted only six minutes, a somber Clackamas Circuit Judge Robert Herndon sentenced Christine Coffman to life in prison for the murder of Matal Sanchez in June 2005.

Coffman confessed to the boy's murder three days after his death. She said she first tried to strangle him, then she struck him in the head with a rock. Coffman eventually led authorities to a densely forest plot of land near Estacada, where the boy's lifeless body confirmed her story.

Greg Horner, chief deputy district attorney, said his office consulted with Matal's family members before reaching the plea deal with Coffman. He said the resolution had the unanimous support of the boy's family, including his mother and stepfather.

After the hearing, Horner explained Coffman's motive, saying she and her husband Duffy Coffman were having marriage problems and were on the verge of divorcing. Christine Coffman killed Matal to hurt her husband since he was close with the boy.

"It's been very clear what her motive was," Horner said. "She was interested in getting back at him and causing pain to her husband."

Matal's family members declined to address the court this morning. Prosecutor Shannon Kmetic read a brief statement written by Matal's grandmother, Brenda Kayser, who told the court the boy was "her world." Kayser wept quietly as Kmetic read the statement.

"And although my world has crumbled all around me, I will always love my little angel," she told the court. "He will never be forgotten. His love keeps me alive."

"I will never get to do all the things a grandma and grandson get to do. I will never get to hear him say, 'I love your heart, Grandma,' as he always told me."

Coffman, shackled and wearing the black-and-white striped jailhouse uniform reserved for the most violent offenders, said nothing during the proceeding.

Herndon said the family's suffering is "inconceivable."

"At this point in my legal career, I have lost track of how many of these cases I have been involved with," he said. "I will go to my own grave probably always thinking of your grandson.

"I am glad you have accepted responsibility for what you did," he said.

The boy's disappearance in June 2005 prompted enormous media attention and an extensive search involving local police, FBI agents, detectives from the Oregon State Police, the Clackamas County Interagency Crime Team, search and rescue teams and a helicopter from the Oregon Army National Guard.

After Coffman was arrested, darker details about Matal's life surfaced. A Seattle-area woman named Susi Strom, who took care of the boy for weeks at a time when he was about 4 to 8 months old, said she filed two reports alleging the boy was poorly cared for with Oregon's child protective authorities in 2001.

It's unclear when Coffman became a part of Matal's life. Laura married Daniel Acevedo in November 2003, and nothing in court records explains how Coffman could have simply driven away with the boy one summer day and ended his life.

"I just got out of the bathroom, and the house was empty, and I noticed that (Coffman's) car was gone, so I knew she went to go run some errands," Laura Acevedo told a police dispatcher after she first realized her son was missing in 2005. "I thought maybe she took him with her, but both the car seats are here. I know she wouldn't take him without the car seat."

 
 

Woman gets life sentence for murdering child

Katu.com

March 12, 2007

OREGON CITY, Ore. - A woman who confessed to killing 4-year-old Matal Sanchez was sentenced Monday to life in prison.

Christine Coffman, 45, who was the boy's step-grandmother, had been expected to use an insanity defense at a trial scheduled for next month but instead pleaded guilty to murder last week.

If the Milwaukie woman's case had gone before a jury, she could have faced the death penalty.

Outside the courtroom Monday, prosecutors said they believe the motive in the killing was revenge. Christine Coffman was trying to get back at her own husband - by killing the step-grandson he loved - because he wanted a divorce, said Greg Horner, chief deputy district attorney.

"She was interested in getting back at her husband and had done this to cause pain to her husband," Horner said.

The Milwaukie boy vanished June 29, 2005, triggering a frantic, multi-day search that gained national attention. But police quickly focused on Coffman, and she acknowledged killing the boy by hitting him in the head with a rock.

At the time, Coffman offered no motive for her actions but led police to the boy's lifeless body in the wooded foothills of the Cascades.

Matal's parents are Laura and Daniel Acevedo. Daniel Acevedo is Coffman's son. It's unclear when Coffman became a part of Matal's life.

"I just got out of the bathroom, and the house was empty, and I noticed that (Coffman's) car was gone, so I knew she went to go run some errands," Laura Acevedo told a police dispatcher after she first realized her son was missing in 2005. "I thought maybe she took him with her, but both the car seats are here. I know she wouldn't take him without the car seat."

Coffman initially told police she was away picking blackberries, donating blood and running errands. But blackberries weren't ripe on the route she described. Investigators also learned that she had purchased raspberries from a store, and a forensic scientist said red stains on her shirt appeared to be berries smeared over blood.

On Monday, the boy's parents left the courtroom without speaking. They were followed by the boy's other grandmother, Brenda Kayser, who was too upset to speak.

But in a letter written by Kayser and read by prosecutors during the court hearing, Kayser said she will never forget Matal.

"You had no right taking my angel from my life so today I come here in honor of Matal to see justice being done for the crime that Chris committed on my grandson that took his sweet, loving young life from us all...

"Matal was my world, my grandson, and although my world has crumbled all around me, I will always love my little angel, he will never be forgotten."

Prosecutors said the family was unanimous in wanting Coffman to receive a life sentence rather than the death penalty.

 
 

Woman pleads guilty to murdering step-grandson

Katu.com

March 5, 2007

OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) - A woman who confessed to killing 4-year-old Matal Sanchez in the summer of 2005 has pleaded guilty to murder.

Christine Coffman, 45, who was the boy's stepgrandmother, had been expected to use an insanity defense at a trial scheduled for next month.

If a Clackamas County judge approves the plea agreement, Coffman will be sentenced to life in prison. If her case had gone before a jury, Coffman could have faced the death penalty.

The Milwaukie boy vanished June 29, 2005, triggering a frantic, multi-day search that gained national attention. But police quickly focused on Coffman, and she acknowledged killing the boy by hitting him in the head with a rock.

Coffman offered no motive for her actions but led police to the boy's lifeless body in the wooded foothills of the Cascades.

A psychologist testified that Coffman was mentally competent to enter a guilty plea, Greg Horner, deputy district attorney, said Monday.

Matal's parents are Laura and Daniel Acevedo. Daniel Acevedo is Coffman's son. It's unclear when Coffman became a part of Matal's life.

"I just got out of the bathroom, and the house was empty, and I noticed that (Coffman's) car was gone, so I knew she went to go run some errands," Laura Acevedo told a police dispatcher after she first realized her son was missing in 2005. "I thought maybe she took him with her, but both the car seats are here. I know she wouldn't take him without the car seat."

Coffman initially told police she was away picking blackberries, donating blood and running errands. But blackberries weren't ripe on the route she described. Investigators also learned that she had purchased raspberries from a store, and a forensic scientist said red stains on her shirt appeared to be berries smeared over blood.

 
 

Murder indictment in Oregon child's death

By Rukmini Callimachi - The Associated Press

July 13, 2005

OREGON CITY, Ore. A 43-year-old woman accused of killing her 4-year-old step-grandson and leaving his body in the woods was indicted on a charge of aggravated murder yesterday by a Clackamas County grand jury.

Christine Coffman, who appeared via closed-circuit TV, did not enter a plea during a brief court appearance. She was being held without bail at the Clackamas County jail, where she has been on suicide watch since her arrest more than a week ago.

Coffman led police to the body of Matal Sanchez off a heavily wooded stretch of road about 25 miles from the boy's suburban home in Milwaukie. The child was reported missing by his mother last Wednesday.

The step-grandmother had left the house that day, and police initially assumed the child was with her.

Investigators began to question Coffman upon her return three hours later, when she arrived at the house without him, her T-shirt stained with a red-colored substance.

Neighbors and family members searched for the boy, before Coffman led police to his body Saturday. An autopsy indicated the boy died of one or more blows to the head.

No other details about the death have been released.

Greg Horner, Clackamas County chief deputy district attorney, declined to give any other information after yesterday's hearing.

Jenny Cooke, the attorney for Coffman, said her client was suffering emotionally.

"My client has been on suicide watch I think that says everything you need to know about her mental state," she told reporters outside the courtroom.

The child's mother, Laura Acevedo, and her husband, Daniel Acevedo, who is Christine Coffman's son, did not appear in court yesterday.

 
 

Step-Grandmother Charged With Murder of Missing Oregon Boy

FoxNews.com

July 2, 2005

ESTACADA, Ore. The body of a 4-year-old boy missing for three days was found in a wooded area about 25 miles south of his home on Saturday, and his step-grandmother was arrested and charged with murder after she led police to the site, authorities said.

Matel Zachery Sanchez was reported missing from his home in the Portland suburb of Milwaukie on Wednesday afternoon.

Police initially assumed the child had gone on an outing with Christine Coffman, 43, the mother of the child's stepfather. When she returned home three hours after the child was reported missing, police began to question her, Officer Kevin Krebs said.

Police did not immediately say how the boy died but a medical investigator determined the cause of death was homicide.

"There is no indication that this was an accident," Krebs said, but he declined to give any details on how the boy died.

Coffman was arrested Saturday and was being held at the Clackamas County Jail without bail. Police had impounded her car two day earlier.

About 70 people, including FBI agents, had searched for the boy after he was reported missing. Dogs and an Oregon Army National Guard helicopter also were used in the search.

 
 


Christine Coffman

 

The victim


Matal Sanchez, 4.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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