The family of a woman authorities say was fatally stabbed by her husband in a quiet suburban neighborhood called her brazen killing a "shocking and horrific tragedy" Monday.
In a statement issued through an attorney, Michelle Kane's family said they appreciated the thoughts and prayers, but asked for "privacy at this very difficult time" as they focus on her children, ages 2 and 6.
"Michelle was a wonderful mother, who loved her children deeply and did everything she could to protect them," the statement said.
On Saturday morning, a day after telling police she feared for her safety and sought refuge with her two small children in the West Hills home of friends, Kane, 43, died on the street as she tried to run away from her attacker, who stabbed her multiple times.
Police said Michael Kane found out where his wife of nearly 12 years was staying and pushed his way into the home. Her friend tried unsuccessfully to restrain him, and his wife hid in a bathroom with the children. Michelle Kane ran out of the house, but Michael Kane caught up to her and killed her, police said.
Michael Kane, a teacher at a Tarzana elementary school, drove off before police arrived, touching off a manhunt until he was arrested early Monday morning at a motel in Joshua Tree. He is scheduled to be arraigned on murder charges on Wednesday.
Court documents revealed Michelle Kane was granted a partial temporary restraining order against her husband and was seeking a more comprehsenive domestic violence restraining order, scheduled for a hearing June 28.
"'Go ahead and get a restraining order,'" Michelle Kane said her estranged husband told her after "threatening to have me whacked."
"It won't protect you but it will make you feel better," he told her, according to a court document she filed April 24.
According to the court file of their pending divorce, the Kanes were married on Aug. 19, 2001 and separated on Dec. 7, 2012, when Michelle Kane filed for divorce. They had two children, a girl, 6, and a boy, 2.
In court documents seeking the restraining order, Michelle Kane said her husband "has a long history of drug abuse" and also suspected he "has an undiagnosed bipolar disorder." She said he had used heroin and methamphetamine in the past and last May was hospitalized "due to his suicidal thoughts brought on by what I believe to have been a combination of stress and drug use."
She also said her husband stopped seeing his psychiatrist soon after his release from the hospital and she believed he "is currently abusing alcohol more regularly and is not taking his prescription medications as prescribed."
After the couple separated and Michael Kane moved to an apartment, he came to the family's West Hills home in early April and repeatedly rang the doorbell in the middle of the night. He eventually left but later called and "threatened to kill me," Michelle Kane said in the document.
In early April, she said in her court filing, her husband got angry when the family was at a Target store. He "threatened to slice my throat and behead me." Then he threw their son's ice cream at her, she said.
At other times, he "has threatened to kill me with piano wire and an ice pick," among other threats she recounted in the document.
Her estranged husband's "substance abuse has made his actions unpredictable, and I am afraid that he is going to do something drastic," Michelle Kane's court declaration continued. "I fear that he could easily be subject to an outbreak and lose control over his emotions. "
Attorney Steve Mindel and his family law team at Feinberg, Mindel, Brandt & Klein said they advised Michelle Kane to "take all necessary precautions available to her with regard to the restraining order we were able to obtain on her behalf."
"She went to the police station Friday, twice, and later called again to seek assistance from what she considered an imminent threat to her life and the lives of her children," Mindel said in a statement.
"Our hearts go out to her children, family and all of her friends at this grief-stricken time. We have cooperated with the authorities, and of course, we will be interested in seeing how this investigation plays out."