Information is still forthcoming as members of the community begin to deal with the shock of the deaths of former Weatherford residents 44-year-old Karen Kahler, and daughters, 18-year-old Emily and 16-year-old Lauren.
Donna Carpenter, who trained with Karen at Power House Gym for a few years, said they kept in contact through e-mail after the family moved from Weatherford to Columbia, Mo.
“She was wonderful. She just had that personality and cared so much for others,” Carpenter said. “When B.B. Fields died, she put together a fundraiser with her daughters’ band in his honor.”
Emily and Lauren were two of the members of local rock band, Daze Off.
“She talked about them a lot,” Carpenter said. They were so talented and she was so proud of both of them and her 10-year-old son.”
Several reports stated the son, Sean Kahler, was able to escape injury and run to a neighbor’s house.
Derik Moore, director of communications for Weatherford Independent School District, said the Kahler family moved in the summer of 2008.
“Emily had just completed her junior year at WHS, and Lauren had finished her freshman year at the Ninth Grade Center,” he added in an e-mail. “Both girls had previously attended Tison Middle School and Mary Martin Elementary.”
Moore said WISD received notification about the tragedy Sunday. “Safe areas” were established in the conference rooms throughout each administrative pod this morning, and additional counselors were available to help those students and/or faculty members needing assistance.
According to reports from the Associated Press, Karen’s husband, James Kraig Kahler, 46, former head of Weatherford’s municipal utilities department, faces capital murder charges in the deaths of his wife and two daughters.
Danielle Felts, community relations for the City of Weatherford, said they would not be releasing an official statement since Kahler is no longer an employee of the city. Kahler retired in 2008, and moved to Missouri and became director of the city’s water and light department.
In September, Kahler was asked to resign from his position after being charged with assaulting his wife and arrested in March.
Sharon Hayes, city manager of utilities, previously worked with Kahler while he was employed.
“It’s very shocking and just very, very tragic,” she said.
Kahler also faces charges of attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of his wife’s 89-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Wight.
Reports from the Columbia Daily Tribune stated according to multiple sources, Kraig Kahler seemed fixated on a relationship his wife had with a Texas woman who is also a personal trainer. Kraig Kahler believed the relationship was romantic. In early October, an anonymous e-mailer sent the Tribune photos of the two women and scanned images of love letters and e-mail correspondence between them.
Carpenter said she did not know of any problems between Karen and Kraig while she knew her.
“I never did meet her husband, but she loved him a lot,” she said. “When she talked about him it was always in a good way, never negative. She said anytime he got bored or ready to move, she was always ready to pack up and go with him no matter where he decided to go.”
According to the Tribune, Karen began divorce proceedings in January.
The Tribune reported divorce attorney Dan Pingelton said he suspected Kahler of being a misogynist — someone who dislikes or hates women — after learning of his relationship with his wife and daughters. He said Karen told him that he always wanted a son, and once Sean was born, he took no interest in the rest of his family.
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