Marshall's 3 unsolved slayings |
DATELINE PLYMOUTH -- Though murders are few and far between in most rural counties,
it's those few that keep investigators awake at night, even 15 years later.
Marshall County averages about one slaying every two years. The last
homicide in Marshall County was in 1998, when Charles Clinton, 69, killed
his wife, Eva, 67, and then committed suicide in their North Michigan Road
home near Plymouth.
But in 1986, Marshall County residents were stunned by five
homicides in just five months. Two of those, and a third from 1984, remain
unsolved. Police have never been able to find out who killed 28-year-old
Darlene Hulse in August 1984, or Brandie Peltz, 11, and Paul Griewank, 30,
Marshall County Prosecutor Curt Palmer, who came to Plymouth in
1985, initially didn't think it strange there would be so many homicides in
such a short time. He thought it was standard. The full-time prosecuting
attorney since 1995, he now realizes that 1986 was an extraordinary year for
"At the time, just coming into the business in 1985, I considered
two homicides a year to be normal. Fortunately, since the 1990s, that has
slowed down," Palmer said. "Now we're in a slow period," he added. "I would
hate to jinx us by saying that."
Palmer still loses sleep over the unsolved slayings. "I have done
everything I can do," Palmer said. "That's what I do in my free time: pick
these cases apart. "Police will still investigate any leads they can
develop," he said. "New information is always welcome."
Palmer said it's difficult to work on these cases, because of the
lack of evidence and the passage of time. He's even tried to reclaim
evidence for DNA testing -- a procedure that was unavailable in the late
1980s -- but he's had no success.
And now, the families find it excruciatingly painful to reopen their
15-year-old wounds. The families of Brandie, Hulse and Griewank all said
that, although they'd like to find the killers, they'd prefer to let
memories of their loved ones rest in peace.
And though they may have their suspicions as to who the killers are,
all three families believe the killers will never come to trial.
Griewank, of Plymouth, was shot and killed in August 1986 while
locking up for the night at Dairy Queen, where he was a manager.
Brandie was strangled in December 1986 by an intruder in her Argos
home, where she was home alone because she was too sick to go to school that
Also in Argos, in August 1984, Hulse, was abducted from her Argos
home and fatally beaten with a fireplace poker.
Anyone with information that may lead to the identity of the persons
responsible for the slayings may call Palmer at (219) 935-8666 or email him at email@example.com.
Murders in Marshall
In Marshall County, there hasn't been a homicide in just
more than three years, and the county has seen 12 homicides since 1984.
Comparatively, there were 17 homicides in St. Joseph County last year, and
22 in 1999. Even those figures are low compared with the 396 slayings in
Detroit last year, or the more than 600 homicides each year in Chicago and
New York City.
The 12 homicides in Marshall County since 1984 are:
Darlene Hulse, 28, was abducted from her Argos home in August 1984 and fatally
beaten with a fireplace poker. That homicide is unsolved.
Brandie Peltz, 11, was killed by an intruder in her Argos home in December 1986. Her killer has
never been identified.
Paul Griewank, 30, of Plymouth, was shot and killed
in August 1986 as he locked the back door of the Dairy Queen, which he
managed. The shooter has never been arrested.
Gloria Bustamante, 47, of
Bremen, died in an October 1986 house fire set by her husband, Arthur
Bustamante Sr. Bustamante, now 75, will be released from prison in February.
James Davidson, 35, of Donaldson, was fatally shot by his wife, Cathy, also
in October 1986, at their home. At trial, a jury found that she had been
abused. She served four years in prison for voluntary manslaughter.
Richard Grubbs, 19, of Plymouth, was strangled during a robbery in December 1986 by
Lance Mangun and John Dubois. Mangun was freed from prison in 1998 and
Dubois, now 30, will be released in 2008.
Cory Huss, 11, was killed by his brother, Gregory Huss, then 16, in February 1987. Gregory Huss will be
released from prison in 2005.
Timothy Baker was shot and killed in Plymouth
in January 1989 by Troy Croft after an argument over a woman. Croft, now 43,
will be released in 2009.
On Dec. 28, 1991, David L. Beldon Sr. of
Tippecanoe was shot and killed, but a jury found it to be self-defense by an
William Brian Brown of Tennessee was killed by two brothers,
Timothy and William Morrison, in April 1992. Timothy Morrison, 32, will get
out of prison in 2013, and William Morrison, 33, in 2009.
Starrene Clevenger, 38, was killed in October 1994 by Ed Hosch, because he was
jealous of the time his wife spent with her. Hosch, now 37, will get out of
prison in 2005.
Charles Taylor, 27, was killed in 1997 by Steven Black, then
38, over a child-custody dispute, coincidentally concerning the grandson of
the late Starrene Clevenger. Black will be in prison until 2020.
In April 1998, Charles Clinton, 69, killed his wife, Eva Chilton, 67, and then
himself in their rural Plymouth home. Police believe the family had a
history of domestic violence.
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