Laurie Murninghan, 16, worked in Gallagher’s Gifts and Antiques Shop in Lansing, Ingham County, MI. On July 9, 1970, a light-skinned African American in his 20s purchased a small rug from the store. As Laurie filled out his receipt and gave him his change, he pulled out his gun and struck the owner, Ms. Gallagher, on the head. The gun discharged, harmlessly hitting the ceiling, but authorities believe the man thought he killed her, so he kidnapped Laurie, the only other witness in the store.
Laurie’s body was found 12 days later by two boys near a state game preserve south of Lansing. She had been raped and strangled. A suspect in the case was a drug informant that authorities had released from prison in January of 1970, but police did not have enough evidence to convict him. Laurie’s body was exhumed in August 2002, and two hairs where found on her body which were sent in for DNA testing, but the results were inconclusive.
Laurie was the daughter of former Lansing Mayor Maxwell E. “Max” Murninghan.