Michael Stahlman’s Death: Where Are Kim and MacKenna Stahlman Now? – When the police called Kim Stahlman in July 2008 to inform her that her husband, Colonel Michael “Mike” Ross Stahlman, USMC, had been discovered dead in Iraq while serving a voluntary assignment, Kim Stahlman was hesitant to trust them.
Since his passing, Kim has opposed the authorities and told anybody who will listen that she thinks her husband was probably the victim of homicide rather than the purported suicide as the officials have claimed. This complex case is examined in “48 Hours: Widow’s War” on CBS News, which presents all sides’ perspectives. So, where precisely are Kim and MacKenna right now? Let’s find them.
Kim and MacKenna Stahlman: Who Are They?
Kimberley “Kim” Tyler Walters, the second child of Bob and Shirley Walters, was born and raised in Darlington, South Carolina. She came from a less-than-well-off family as a child, with her mother working two jobs—as a teacher’s assistant and as a receptionist—to support the family while her father served as a police officer. Her parents had a “turbulent relationship,” briefly divorcing before getting back together. As a result, Kim reflected that I didn’t have much of a childhood.
With Kim being the first member of her immediate family to attend college and money is limited, she recognized studying criminal psychology was not a “realistic decision.” Kim decided to major in finance as a result. She met Mike in an establishment in Florence, South Carolina, in April 1987, when he was in town for an air show. Kim did not think much about him until they ran into each other again at the air show the following day, because she was not thinking about marriage or having kids at the time.
Kim was approached by Mike, who offered to take her around. Kim knew he was the one for her when she overheard him talking to the adjacent triplet of newborn boys. “And he stopped, and he got down on his knee, and he was talking to the—these triplets,” she recalled. I then pondered, “Oh, my God. There you have someone special. That’s when I realised. I knew!” They fell head over heels in love in less than three weeks and were legally wed six months later by a justice of the peace.
He arrived on his motorcycle, and that is when he proposed to me, Kim recounted. He also sold his motorcycle to pay for my engagement ring. He was priceless. The pair frequently moved from town to town over the first ten years of their marriage as Mike advanced in his career. In the meantime, Kim also completed her degree, found work in the banking industry and office administration, and earned an M.Ed. in counseling.
Kim collaborated on establishing a counseling program with the Marine Corps Family Advocacy Office. “We worked specifically with rape victims and spousal abuse victims.” she stated. When the couple was stationed at Camp Lejeune in 1997, MacKenna, their first child, was born. While they were stationed at Parris Island in 2004, the couple welcomed their second child, Piper. They said they had “ups and downs like everyone else,” but the continual moving and the stress of their jobs were finally taking a toll on their marriage.
Also recalling one of her favourite memories of her father, MacKenna recalled how wonderful he was: “During Christmas, it was his duty — was the cameraman. We’d wake up and we’re, like, “Don’t go in the room until Dad has the camera ready.” And — that was probably one of the earliest memories I have. He was always such a happy man. I don’t ever recall him being upset or sad. I don’t remember him crying, ever.“
What Happened to Kim Stahlman and MacKenna Stahlman and Where Are They Now?
At Camp Ramadi, close to Baghdad, on July 31, 2008, Mike was discovered in his bunk with a head wound from a bullet. Kim recalled getting a call from the Marine Corps the following morning at 5:30. Mike passed away on October 5, 2008, at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, more than two months after the authorities determined his death was a suicide. His wife and older daughters, Kim and MacKenna, didn’t think it was suicide.
The mother-daughter team claimed that because investigators did not adhere to the Department of Defense, NCIS, and Judge Advocate General procedures governing inquiries into non-combat deaths other than those caused by sickness or natural causes, “the investigation was faulty and insufficient.” Nevertheless, she consciously decided to confront the authorities head-on, filing numerous Freedom of Information requests with NCIS and sifting through the countless pages and photographs she obtained.
Kim used the assistance of professionals to evaluate the facts and information. She sent letters to Capitol Hill and the White House as well as appealed the case in a number of military and civil tribunals. Her tenacious fight helped her choose strong allies for her cause, including former NCIS forensics expert Mike Maloney, Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction during the George W. Bush administration, and Cilla McCain, a supporter of bereaved families of army officials.
Currently, Kim Stahlman is working with Cilla and others to lobby Congress for a Bill of Rights for Bereaved Military Families. She lives near her parents, who have been her strongest supporters since Mike’s loss, in Greenville, South Carolina.
As of this writing, MacKenna Stahlman is a student at the College of Charleston and is pursuing a minor in Spanish. Now in her early 20s, MacKenna works as a model for several established photographers and utilizes her social media accounts to highlight her passion for animals, travel, and hanging out with friends. She is an ally of LGBTQ+ people and has a strong enthusiasm for the theatre.