Krissy Lynn Orbon endured years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of her on-again, off-again boyfriend, instilling fear that prevented her from seeking help or leaving his side, her grandmother and friends said.
The man, identified Tuesday as Michael David Wilkins, 49, of Willits, is suspected of fatally shooting Orbon, 32, and their 8-year-old son, Damian Michael Wilkins, before turning the rifle on himself, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said. Their bodies were found Thursday in their rural Hearst Willits Road home about 5 miles northeast of Willits.
Detectives believe the elder Wilkins used a stolen rifle to carry out the shootings, the Sheriff’s Office said. The agency had no record of domestic abuse reports for the pair over the past eight years, or any records indicating Wilkins spent time in the county jail, Capt. Greg Van Patten said.
The couple split about a month before the shooting, he said.
“The motive for his actions at this time is unclear, other than an isolated act of domestic violence,” Van Patten said Tuesday.
Edna Speicher worried threats Wilkins made against her granddaughter prevented Orbon from seeking help or leaving, she said. She learned from Orbon about the mental and emotional abuse, and recalled some incidents in which Orbon told her Wilkins had assaulted her, including when she was pregnant, Speicher said.
“(Wilkins) told her more than once that if she left him, he would kill her,” said Speicher, 78, of Bangor, Michigan. “She always took him back until this last time, I guess.”
Speicher said she was not sure if her granddaughter ever sought help for domestic violence, but Orbon had told her that she met with a mental health professional to talk about her problems a few days before her death.
A woman who identified herself as Wilkins’ ex-wife declined to comment Tuesday, although she said she didn’t know much about the deaths and that she and Wilkins had children together.
“This is traumatic for us,” she said.
Brad and Tink McDonald, a couple living in Yreka, said they first met Orbon about nine years ago, finding her without a home and about four months pregnant. She was in a Ukiah Walmart parking lot, trying to repair an RV that someone had gifted her. The McDonalds met Wilkins later that day, and offered to help fix the vehicle and park it on their land.
Over the years, the McDonalds hoped to distance Orbon and her son from Wilkins, housing them both several times until she returned to Wilkins. Brad McDonald said Wilkins made threats against Orbon in front of them and forced her to home-school their son because he wanted to keep them close by while he worked odd jobs.
“She told us that her dad wasn’t around as much and she wanted Damian to have a dad,” McDonald said. “Even though he was causing her so much anguish, she didn’t want to separate the family.”
More recently, the family had moved to Nebraska, where Orbon found work as a hotel receptionist, McDonald said. The three returned after only a few months because Wilkins didn’t like it there, and a few weeks before Christmas, she ended the relationship, he said.
How To Help
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the memorial service for Krissy Lynn Orbon and her son, Damian. To donate, go to www.gofundme.com.
Where To Go For Help
Project Sanctuary crisis counselors are available 24/7 for domestic violence victims in Mendocino County. Call 707-463-4357 (inland area) or 707-964-4357 (coastal area). The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233.