In September 2015, a horrific crime in Caton, New York, led to the death of Kelley Clayton, a young mother of two. She was bludgeoned to death by Michael Beard, a man hired by her husband, Thomas. The gruesome murder-for-hire plot shocked the tiny town of Caton but, more importantly, left two children without their mother. NBC’s ‘Dateline: The House in the Woods’ as well as ABC’s ’20/20: What The Little Girl Saw’ shines a light on this very case and the aftermath. So, if you’re curious about what happened to the young children, here’s what we know.
Who Are Thomas and Kelley Clayton’s Kids?
Thomas and Kelley met sometime in the 2000s. One thing led to another, and the two eventually married, settling down in Caton. The couple had two kids together, a daughter Charlie and a son Cullen. At the time of the incident, they were only 7 and 3 years of age, respectively. Thomas, who came home sometime after midnight on September 29, 2015, found Kelley dead in the kitchen and called 911. The two kids were at home when the murder occurred. In another disturbing development, the authorities learned that the daughter witnessed what happened.
According to Sheriff Jim Allard, “She (the daughter) told me that, ‘a man was hurting mommy.'” When asked how she knew that, the little girl responded, “Because his eyes look just like daddy’s.” Later, she was taken to a child advocacy center, where the authorities spoke to her more. The then-7-year-old said, “In the middle of the night, this guy came and started hitting my mom with like this pipe thingy. There was blood everywhere. On my door, on the floor. Not on the carpet, though. And I thought she was dead when she was lying on the ground in the blood.”
Furthermore, in a devastating development, the girl said that her mother was suffering, so she hugged her leg. According to Thomas and Kelley’s daughter, the intruder wore dark-colored jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, and a mask. She said that the mask looked like something that her father wore during hunts. Later, when the police found the bloody clothes, they matched what the little girl mentioned.
Where Are Thomas and Kelley Clayton’s Kids Today?
The investigation eventually led to Thomas and Michael being imprisoned for life. But that left Thomas’ kids without both their parents. After the murder, the kids were taken in by Kelley’s older sister, Kim Bourgeois, and her husband, Corey. They seem to live in New York, and Kim said she was thankful for the kids. The young children don’t have any contact with Thomas, but in a letter to the court, his daughter Charlie did write, “I feel like dad is a coward because he asked Michael Beard to kill my mom.”
In March 2017, Thomas’ former hockey team hosted a Domestic Violence Awareness Night, with all the proceeds going toward supporting these kids. Today, Kelley’s daughter would be in her early teens, and her son would be about ten years old. They have understandably been kept from the spotlight and continue to live with the support of their family. In 2019, Kim shared an insight into the girl’s life, saying, “[She] still does not speak of it. She rarely talks about her mom. It’s too painful. [He] still cries out at night, ‘I miss my mommy. I want my mommy.'”