By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities school bus aide accused of molesting children is in the hospital with serious injuries after police found his wife dead.

Seventy-two-year-old Harvey Kneifl was on trial for sexually assaulting special needs children on a school bus in Woodbury.

“His demeanor has always been the same. When I saw him this past Monday I didn’t get any indication that something was wrong,” said Chris Keyser, Kneifl’s attorney.

Keyser said that his client has been positive and punctual when it comes to his time in court throughout the legal proceedings. So when he didn’t show up for closing arguments at 9 a.m., he knew something was wrong and asked for a welfare check.

“He’s always made all the meetings I’ve had with him, always answered the phone, always called me back,” Keyser said.

Kneifl lived with his wife at a senior living facility in Woodbury. When workers there checked on the couple in their apartment, they found Kneifl’s wife dead, and Kneifl himself had significant injuries — which appeared to be self-inflicted.

“It was very difficult to hear, very shocking to hear that someone is deceased,” Keyser said. “That’s always difficult to hear.”

Kneifl is facing 10 counts — a number of which include molesting children on a school bus. Police say the victims, some as young as 4-years-old, told of the abuse while surveillance tape from cameras inside the school busses backed up their testimony. Kneifl has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“The nature of these allegations, anything involving children is a difficult subject matter,” Keyser said. “The reality is it’s a very, very tragic situation.”

Kneifl was taken to a local hospital, and his condition is unknown at this time.

The judge in the case was going to listen to closing arguments Thursday morning and then determine a verdict at a later date.

If Kneifl survives, he is now likely to face an additional homicide charge as well.

John Lauritsen