Home — Murder, “cold” cases, and mayhem

This website is intended to deal with murder, brutality, corruption and hatred—all falling under what we call acts of injustice.  We tell the stories of open and unsolved homicides–what are called “cold” cases.  We also memorialize those whose lives have been taken from them in hope that somebody will come forward to tell the truth. So far our efforts center on Michigan.

David B. Schock, Ph.D.

David B. Schock, Ph.D.

“Somebody knows somethin’.  Somebody ALWAYS knows somethin’.”

That’s the way Jim Fairbanks put it when we made our first film, Who Killed Janet Chandler?  Detective Fairbanks (retired) was the lead investigator on the law enforcement team in 1979.  What he had to say then still applies today.  For nearly every unsolved homicide there is somebody out there who could solve it if she or he would come forward and make a contact.

To call an unsolved homicide a “cold” case is chilling in its own right.  Yes, these unsolved cases grow “cold” because there are no new leads; they more or less drop off the social and cultural radar.  But they are NEVER “cold” to the family members and friends, they are never forgotten or out of mind.  And there is always the hope that justice, however delayed, will be served.

We invite you to visit the We Remember part of this site, a place where families and friends of those whose murders remain unsolved contact us and can help to post details of the victims’ lives and the resultant investigations.

We also invite your view of what we are calling a Primary Documentary Investigation as we tell the story of the murder of Mina Dekker.

Our hope in all the cases we chronicle is that somebody who knows something will say something.

 

From David — A Weblog of investigation:

May 18, 2017 — The transcript is ready to go…and a new case, or cases

The first step in ANY closed captioning is to have an accurate transcript of everything that’s heard in the film. I have had the great good fortune to work with Tanja Kelly during these last few years. She runs Kelly Reporting Services here in Grand Haven. Tanja is a retired court reporter. …Just as a for instance, she did pretty much the entire trial in the Janet Chandler murder case in 2007. That’s where and when I met her. And she is an excellent transcriptionist and has just finished Heritage Hill Bride. Aas usual, the file is exactly accurate. This work cannot be easy; she says that when she listens to the disturbing details of cases she just has to insulate herself. When we talked about it she acted out pulling a cowl around herself–down over her head, throat, and chest–for protection.

That’s something investigators, prosecutors, all the support personnel face: the brutality of crime. And they face it day in and day out. I am grateful that she continues to serve during her retirement from the courts.

As well, yesterday I sat down with Mary Hillman, the mother of three sons who died violent deaths (and a six-year0old daughter who died by fire after getting too close to a stove burner). Our main topic was the 1994 shooting death of her son Tony, still unsolved. Another son, Timothy, was shot by a friend in a case of mistaken identity in 1989, and a third son, Jeffrey, was drowned in Lake Michigan near the south breakwater at Muskegon in 1978. Mary described looking at his body. She said it was evident that he had been bound hand and foot. She said while there was a successful wrongful death suit in that case, the people who killed Jeffrey still walk free. I reminded her that there is no statute of limitations on murder. I am sure there is far more about these deaths than I yet know, and I have hopes that someone out there might be able to steer me to it. All three f her son’s death occurred during the month of August.

For now, here are some reminders.

Grand Rapids Press, August 7, 1994

Grand Rapids Press, August 18, 1978

 

 

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April 30, 2017 — Thanks to you we made the goal

Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing proposition. Thanks to the 23 donors, it’s ALL a go! We have exceeded our $2000 goal by $15. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen, amen, amen.

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April 30, 2017 – Almost there…93 percent raised to close caption the film

I believe and trust that the remaining funding, some $135, will find its way to complete our Kickstarter campaign to raise $2,000 to close caption Heritage Hill Bride: The Murder of Shelley Speet Mills. Only with closed captions will it be able to be shown on our local PBS station, WGVU-TV; that’s the law and it’s the right thing to do for those who have a hearing impairment. It’s my hope, too, that some other stations around the state will pick it up, but that’s up to them individually.

So, my thanks go out to those of you who contributed at this Kickstarter address. My thanks also go to those who even thought about it and sent up a prayer. It all counts.

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April 19, 2017 — Need to closed caption Heritage Hill Bride

WGVU-TV, Public Broadcasting for this west side of the state, has accepted Heritage Hill Bride: The Murder of Shelley Speet Mills for carriage. But in order to run on the station, the film must be closed captioned. That’s going to cost about $2K that I just don’t have now. So, with many misgivings I have started a Kickstarter fund-raising account. It is here. If you want to help make this happen I will be very grateful.

As well, we have made efforts to get this film into the Michigan Prison system and not had much luck. And, no, the prisons would not have to buy the films; I will provide them if they will show the piece. I can think of no better place to find people who may know about this 46-year-old homicide. If you have ideas please let me know. Prayers are always welcome.

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March 14, 2017 — Laurie Ann Swank was paroled last fall

I read with interest a story by John Agar of mlive chronicling the drug dealing and prison sentence of Michael Paiva, the son of Arthur Carlton “Carl” Paiva, the ringleader in the murderous crew who left Janet Chandler dead in a snowbank, Jan. 31, 1979. Paiva senior died several years ago in prison. He was there for life after a 2007 trial that saw five others also sentenced for the crime. Four–including Paiva–for life. The other two for lesser terms.

Grand_Rapids_Press_20170314_A07_2

It was sad to see that story and it served as a reminder that there are many victims when a murder is committed. I wrote to John noting one mistake in his story. He reported that all six who went to prison were Wackenhut guards in town at the time to protect a “struck” plant. Wasn’t so, I reminded him. There was Janet’s roommate, purported best friend (at the time) and supervisor at the Blue Mill Inn–Laurie Ann Swank. He agreed that he knew that. It’s a small mistake. I make some along the way, too.

Then I went to check the Offender Traking and Information System, OTIS, and discovered that Laurie Ann had been paroled Sept. 20, 2016. And she was paroled to her home state of Pennsylvania.

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