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:

July 5, 2017 — Heritage Hill Bride to air on PBS July 19…VERY early

Yep, that’s pretty much it. Heritage Hill Bride: The Murder of Shelley Speet Mills will air at 3 a.m. July 19th. 3 a.m.!!!! Yikes! It’s all closed captioned thanks to the contributions of those who generously gave to a Kickstarter campaign. Thank you, thank you.

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June 9, 2017 — “Cold Case Files” = The Dog’s Breakfast

Wow, that was underwhelming and badly done. The piece, “Circle of Friends”, is at best a badly distorted rendition.

I’m still thinking my way through telling a part of that story.

 

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June 7, 2017 — A&E’s “Cold Case Files” tackles the Shannon Marie Siders murder story Thursday night

Ample Entertainment, a LA-based production company, has revived the old Bill Kurtis show, Cold Case Files. I have known for some time that they were going to tell the Shannon Siders murder story. And former Newaygo Police Chief Pat Hedlund and Shannon’s Father, Bob Siders, contacted me after Ample came to the area to do their interviews. And tomorrow night A&E will be show the finished product at 10 p.m. on A&E. Here’s the website.

I will be very interested to watch what they have done.

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June 4, 2017 — Closed captioning status and a new interview in the Tony Willis case

…Just a little slower than I anticipated, but not by much. WGVU has had the video and transcript files for a couple weeks now and it’s a matter of getting the work into and out of the schedule. My contact there says he does not anticipate problems. And he asked if there were a hurry. I assured him that there wasn’t; let it be in the order of things. He anticipated that it probably would be completed in this next week. These folks have been very pleasant to work with.

Then I need to fetch the captioned file, compress it for on-line posting, get it up on Vimeo, and make links for you all. Unlike politics and sausage, this is something you won’t mind seeing made, but it’s also not very exciting unless you understand what it represents.

We also are trying to get the film into the Michigan prison system. The idea is that somebody there most likely knows what happened in this case and the killer may indeed be inside. So far we’ve not had success with the Michigan Department of Corrections, but we will persevere. We’re hoping Representative Jim Lilly’s office might effect a meeting. We’ve asked. If you have other ideas, please let me know.

As well, yesterday I had the opportunity to interview Sandy Willis, Tony Willis’ big sister. Tony was killed August 6, 1994. On shot in the back and one to the back of the head, execution style. And I learned a whole lot more about the case. As their mother, Mary Hillman, had said, Sandy pretty much was “Big Sister” to the whole group of ten children, the one, really, who raised them. And it was Sandy who had to identify two of the bodies and tell their mother what had happened. And I am sure that somebody out there knows who killed Tony. I’m not thinking it’s necessarily (or even remotely likely) someone who reads these pages. If that ONE person would come forward, we’d be done with this right now. No more waiting, no more agony.

One person.

Again, my thanks to you all.

D

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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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