STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – It was a murder that shocked Steamboat Springs — the mother of a 9-year-old allegedly shot and killed her son allegedly to get back at her estranged husband.
Lisa Lesyshen is now in custody, paralyzed from the waist down after police said she turned the gun on herself.
Michael Kirlan has more questions than answers in the death of his son, Asher Lesyshen-Kirlan. Should he have seen it coming? Did he miss signs in his wife? And the bigger question — how can he possibly carry on without the son he adored?
Kirlan took Asher everywhere — camping, backpacking, hiking and fishing.
“We did a lot of hiking, a lot of backpack trips. Those are incredibly powerful memories for me,” Kirlan said.
They were inseparable until the night Asher’s mother shot and killed him.
“I have his memory … but it’s hard,” Kirlan said.
It’s also hard for him to understand how a mother could have killed her own child. At Asher’s school, classmates knew Lesyshen well. She was an active and popular volunteer in their classroom.
“There’s times when I don’t believe it’s true,” Kirlan said. “I travel a lot for work, so I think I trick myself sometimes into thinking that I’m going to drive home and see him.”
“I don’t really think there were warning signs that you could see this kind of horrific crime,” attorney and friend Charles Feldmann said.
Feldmann says Kirlan and his wife were separated but living in the same house at the time of the murder. Neither had filed for divorce.
“I wouldn’t say either one of us was necessarily closer,” Kirlan said.
Kirlan says he and his wife both adored Asher.
“I told my wife at the time that I didn’t think that I wanted to have another child because I don’t think I could love anybody as much as I loved Asher,” he said.
Kirlan said there’s a void now that will never be filled, but he’ll survive. He looks at pictures of Asher every day.
“Recently someone said, ‘You aren’t there to be kids’ friend, you’re there to be the parent.’ I don’t think that is true. He and I were friends and traveling partners and I think I could still parent effectively.”
These days he is often reminded of a song called “Traveling Alone.”
“I know every town worth passing through, but what good does knowing do with no one to show it to? I kind of feel that way about Asher.”
Kirlan has moved to Denver and has filed for a divorce from his wife. He says he is active in the fundraising for the music program at his son’s school Soda Creek Elementary School and at Howelsen Hill, Asher’s hometown ski area.