Kathleen Peterson’s Net Worth at the Time of Her Death

Image Credit: The Staircase/Netflix

Kathleen Peterson is an unforgettable name among the fans of the true-crime genre. Her murder is one of the most enigmatic crimes that occurred in the 21st century. Kathleen, a businesswoman, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. She grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and later attended Duke University, where she completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering. Kathleen was married to Fred Atwater and the couple had a daughter named Caitlin. After separating from Fred, Kathleen married Michael Peterson in 1997.

Kathleen was found dead on December 9, 2001, at the bottom of a staircase in her home. Michael was tried and subsequently convicted for the murder of his wife. Details concerning Kathleen’s finances were part of Michael’s trial. If you wish to know more about her earnings and net worth at the time of her death, you are at the right place!

How Did Kathleen Peterson Make Her Money?

Kathleen Peterson seemingly began her career as an applications engineer at Baltimore Aircoil–Pritchard, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., specializing in the construction and repair of cooling towers. Then she reportedly worked at Merck & Co., a multinational pharmaceutical company. At the time of her death, Kathleen was the director of information services at Nortel Networks Corporation, earning $145,000 per annum. She was also the sole owner of a 14-room mansion, where she lived with Michael, in Durham’s Forest Hills neighborhood and a car the couple had. Kathleen’s salary from her Nortel job was apparently her sole source of regular income.

Image Credit: The Staircase/Netflix

Kathleen also had bought numerous shares of her company and had an insurance policy of $1.8 million in her name. As per Diane Fanning’s ‘Written in Blood,’ Kathleen’s Nortel stock peaked at a value of $2,439,630 on September 1, 2000. However, it didn’t take long for the company’s stock to fall, resulting in a massive loss for Kathleen. In addition, Kathleen and Michael were suffering from debt at the time of her death. Raymond Young, a prosecution witness during Michael’s trial, testified in court that the couple had credit card and credit line debt of $142,000, spread across 20 active accounts.

Within six months of Kathleen’s death, Michael collected $347,000 from his wife’s assets, which included her 401(k) and pension plans. If that’s the case, what exactly was Kathleen’s net worth at the time of her death?

Kathleen Peterson’s Net Worth

Kathleen and Michael shared a house together in a posh region of Durham. The value of her home at the time of her death was estimated to be over a million dollars. Taking that and her savings into account, Kathleen Peterson’s net worth at the time of her death could be estimated to be around $850,000. If the value of Nortel Networks Corporation’s shares hadn’t plummeted the way it did, her net worth at the time of her death would have been around $3 million.

Read More: What is Michael Peterson’s Net Worth?