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Vero Beach woman killed mother, covered body with boxes, blankets in garage, detectives say

Crystal Kohler confessed to killing 81-year-old mother after argument sent her into 'rage,' arrest report says
Crystal Kohler
Posted at 2:31 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 19:44:06-04

VERO BEACH, Fla. — A Vero Beach woman confessed to killing her 81-year-old mother after an argument and then covered the body with boxes and blankets in an effort to hide the body, according to an Indian River County Sheriff's Office report.

Crystal Kohler, 38, was arrested Monday night on charges of first-degree murder and grand theft auto.

According to the arrest report, Kohler admitted to killing her mother, Carmelina Kohler, who had been reported missing earlier in the day, in the garage of their home.

Detectives said Carmelina Kohler had stab wounds to her abdomen and neck.

Carmelina Kohler's husband told deputies that his wife had a scheduled nail appointment with their daughter, but when he returned home, his daughter was there alone.

"Crystal told (her father that Carmelina) had sent her home to change her clothing, because she looked like a bum," the arrest report said. "Crystal changed her clothing and left the residence."

Detectives said she took off in her mother's van, which her father reported as stolen.

During an interview with detectives, Matt Wilhelm, Crystal Kohler's ex-boyfriend, said she had shown up unannounced at his home Monday evening and seemed distraught.

"He asked her what was wrong and she told him the less he knew the better," the report said.

Wilhelm further explained that Crystal Kohler was being kicked out of her home, so he had given her $120 in cash earlier in the day and was told she was planning to take a Greyhound bus out of town, possibly to Tennessee.

His information led detectives to a boat he owned at the Fort Pierce Marina. Crystal Kohler was there and agreed to go with detectives to the Indian River County Sheriff's Office to be questioned about her mother's disappearance.

Carmelina Kohler
Carmelina Kohler, 81, was found dead in the garage of her home after she was reported. Detectives say her daughter killed her.

Crystal Kohler became upset during the interview and requested an attorney. She was then arrested on a grand theft auto charge and booked into jail.

The next day, she agreed to speak with detectives and told them her mother was dead in the garage, the report said.

"She did not elaborate on the details of how her mother came to be deceased, but she did admit that she was responsible for her death," the report said.

Crystal Kohler went on to say that she was "helping her mother move boxes out of the garage when her mother made a comment that sent Crystal into a rage." She said the fight lasted for several minutes before her mother was killed.

"She did state that she covered her mother with a blanket so that nobody would find her," the report said.

Crystal Kohler was being held without bond at the Indian River County jail.