Former cafe owner appears in Pasco court for murder and kidnapping. Her bail is $2M

The woman accused of strangling her partner in Mesa appeared for the first time in a Washington courtroom Friday afternoon.

Chiloe Chervenell, 49, is charged in Franklin County with second-degree murder with the death of Kathleen “Kathy” Chervenell-Brinson.

She’s also charged with kidnapping her two biological children, ages 7 and 9, in violation of a court order and driving them to Oregon after killing Chervenell-Brinson, who was caring for them, according to court documents.

Chervenell was arrested about 35 miles south of the Tri-Cities in Irrigon, Ore. The kids were unharmed and found sleeping with her in the car she stole from Chervenell-Brinson, say Franklin County investigators.

She was held for about a week in the Morrow County Jail before being brought to Pasco on Thursday.

During Friday’s brief hearing, Chervenell told Superior Court Judge Joe Burrowes that she understood the charges and her rights.

Defense attorney Michael Nguyen, who was representing her just for the hearing, told the judge she is self employed but hadn’t had any income for two months. Five years ago, she operated a small cafe for a short time at a recovery center in Kennewick.

Chiloe Chervenell, right, shown here in 2017, operated Chiloe’s Corner 12 Step Cafe in Kennewick. Volunteer Toni Rae Hamilton Atchley is at left.
Chiloe Chervenell, right, shown here in 2017, operated Chiloe’s Corner 12 Step Cafe in Kennewick. Volunteer Toni Rae Hamilton Atchley is at left.

Burrowes assigned public defense attorney Shelley Ajax to be her attorney.

He kept bail at $2 million for now.

Chervenell is expected back in court on Tuesday, Aug. 16, to enter a formal plea to the charges.

Murder investigation

It’s been just over a week since detectives discovered Chervenell-Brinson’s body underneath some bicycles and other junk on the porch of her Mesa home.

The 54-year-old teacher had a protection order against Chervenell, saying in court documents that she and the kids were in danger because of Chervenell’s destructive lifestyle involving drug abuse.

Chervenell-Brinson’s request for a no contact order also said Chervenell had attacked and choked her in the past.

One of Chervenell’s friends told police on Aug. 4 that Chervenell had texted her about going to Mesa and “didn’t know the power of her hands and killed her wife,” according to court records.

The friend alerted police and deputies discovered the children missing and began trying to track Chervenell-Brinson’s stolen cellphone. Deputies found her body about the same time that they discovered the missing car and phone in Oregon.