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Here at Michigan and other Mayhem, two non-professional researchers will intrigue you with interesting stories about Michigan murders, mysteries, odd facts, and other mayhem from around the world. Two sisters-in-law will keep you guessing about what our next subject will be as we discuss true crime, paranormal, historical, and scientific topics. Our weekly podcast will keep you entertained and possibly titillated.

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Warning: This podcast occasionally contains strong language which may be unsuitable for children.

 

 

Show Notes: Howard Unruh- Father of Mass Murder, and Jamie Barsegian was Murdered

This show, “Michigan and other Mayhem”, is a sort of factual, slightly comical, always earnest podcast about interesting stuff in Michigan and around the world. It is done by two sisters-in-law (Ali and Jenn) that like to talk about random interesting stories.  Expect cults, mysteries, murder, fast talking, and a couple of mental palate cleansers… and cuss words.  Those happen on this show, a lot.

Episode 60: Howard Unruh- Father of Mass Murder, and Jamie Barsegian was Murdered

Alerts:

  • Pretend podcast music because Jenn likes it.
  • Ali has a weird laugh. It is often loud.

HUNU Walking Sticks

Walking sticks are not just for pimps. They are good for winter walking stability and self-defense. They have an Instagram feed and incense burners! hunuwoodworking  on Instagram. Melvin recreates them by hand with repurposed items. Also find them at hunuwoodworking@gmail.com.

Howard Unruh, Spree Killer

A spree killer is someone who kills at two or more locations with very little time in between the murders. They are not defined by the number of victims.

Howard Unruh was born January 21st, 1921. He was the oldest of two sons, born to working class parents in Camden, New Jersey. When Howard was nine, in 1930, his parents divorced. It was unusual at the time for a couple to divorce, but that was the most emotionally jarring thing to happen to him. Howard’s mother, Freda, then raised the two boys, Howard and James, while working at an assembly line job.

Howard became a devout Lutheran, who collected stamps, played with model trains, and spent copious amounts of time reading the Bible. People often described him carrying around his Bible with him everywhere he went. After high school graduation, he was working as a sheet metal worker until he enlisted himself into the army in 1942, during World War II.

During the war, Howard’s rating as a soldier was considered excellent and he was deemed to be a model soldier. An article in the Saturday Evening post stated he was “a good man on patrol and skirmishes… unrattled and efficient with a rifle”.

However, his fellow soldiers noticed he had some personality quirks for that time and the environment they were in. Howard neither drank, smoke, cussed, nor showed any interest in female companionship. He was an obsessive diary keeper. When another soldier peeked at what he was writing, he read shocking details of the dates, times, and places of each of the enemy Howard had killed. Howard even described how the bodies looked in death, when he was able to get close enough to them.

At the war’s end, in 1945, Howard was given an honorable discharge. He went back home to live with his mom, Freda. After returning, Howard didn’t get a job and he had no friends. Howard did date a girl, once, from his Bible study class, but he ended it because of his disinterest in marriage. He never once touched her physically during the time they were dating.

Back at home, Howard lived in an apartment building with his mother, in which he occupied the second floor and the cellar. Howard had set up a shooting range in the cellar of his home where he spent hours practicing shooting his 9-mm Luger that he had purchased at a pawn shop.

In his neighborhood, Howard had a reputation for being a little weird, not really friendly, but basically harmless. Howard, on the other hand, was paranoid and convinced that his neighbors were talking about him behind his back. He believed they gossiped about the fact that he didn’t work and had to rely on his mother to take care of him. Howard also thought that everyone was gossiping about his lack of interest in women, claiming he was homosexual.

Howard was homosexual. Unfortunately, at the time, there were sodomy laws that prohibited consensual sex between adult men. The broken laws could be punishable by lengthy jail sentences. Howard used to travel to Philadelphia several times a week, for nameless hookups. Being Howard, he kept a list in his diary of his encounters. Some partners were listed by their first name, while others were just described as ‘a man’. He was very descriptive in his writing, regarding what happened during his trysts.

There was a second diary that Howard was keeping at the same time. It was a list of grievances he had against his neighbors. (An actual shit list or hit list.) Particularly, Howard was angry with Maurice Cohen, a druggist who lived next door to Howard. Maurice and his wife, Rose, had given Howard and his mother, Freda, permission to use their backyard gate as a shortcut, but Howard kept leaving the gate open and stray dogs were getting into the Cohen’s yard and getting into their trash. Rose had also complained on multiple occasions, because Howard would play his radio loudly during the night and early morning. To resolve some of the issues, Freda had a gate built in the Unruh back fence.

Thomas Zegrino, was a tailor that Howard was also upset with. Howard believed that Thomas was spreading rumors about him being a homosexual. A barber named Clark Hoover, had made Howard angry when he had spread dirt over a vacant yard near Howard’s home. The dirt had prevented rainfall from draining, causing Howard’s cellar to flood.

A shoemaker named John Pilarchik, had tossed trash into Howard’s yard repeatedly. Dominick Latela, was a restaurant owner who had called Howard something to the effect of a gun-toting hoodlum. Carl Sorg, was a teen who had used Howard’s basement electric line to light up trees he was selling in the vacant store that made up the first floor of Howard’s apartment building. It caused his electric bill to go up.

In his diary, Howard had a list of ten people that he had issue with. Next to each name, Howard had a shorthand notation. Ret. W.T.S. meant Retaliate When Time Suitable, and D.N.D.R. meant Do Not Delay Retaliation.

On Monday, September 5, 1949, Howard was stuck in traffic on his way to Philadelphia, missing a planned meeting with a lover. Howard arrived back home at three in the morning, only to discover that his newly installed gate had been badly damaged. Howard assumed it was the Cohens who did it out of spite (it was actually some local kids) and began his revenge plot for his promised retaliations.

A few hours later, at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday the 6th, Howard woke up, washed, shaved, and dressed in a light suit with a bow tie. He had breakfast with his mother, who noticed he was distracted. Howard then went down to his cellar to get a lead pipe. Howard than took the pipe upstairs and called his mom into the living room When Freda got there, he raised it up, like it was planning to strike her with it. She asked him a question, like “why are you doing this?” and she backed up to the door, swung it open, and ran.

Howard set the pipe down and picked up his Luger, an extra clip that was fully loaded, as well as 33 loose cartridges, and left the apartment.

The first place Howard went was to John Pilarchik’s shoe shop. He is a man Howard had felt slighted by because John had called Howard a no-good gun-toting gangster. (At this point, isn’t Howard proving him right? He is toting a gun and he’s about to kill people.) At 9:30 a.m. John was nailing a sole to a shoe, when Howard walked up to him and shot him in the stomach. Realizing John was still alive after the first bullet, he then shot him in the head. Howard didn’t speak a word during the ordeal, he only turned and walked back out of the store when he was done.

Howard then went next door to the barber shop owned by Clark Hoover. Clark had made Howard’s hit list by spreading dirt in a vacant lot that caused Howard’s cellar to flood when the rainwater wasn’t able to drain away. Clark was trimming the hair of a six-year-old boy named Orris Smith. As he entered, Howard said “I’ve got something for you, Clarkie,” then opened fire.

Speaking later with the police, Howard said that Clark had dodged around the chair, making it hard for him to get a clear shot at Clark, but he was able to hit him eventually. Howard’s bullets hit both Clark and Orris, the young boy who was getting his haircut. Orris’s mother, seated nearby screamed and ran to her son. Howard headed back out to his next destination.

At his confession, one of the few times Howard showed emotion is when the police told him about Orris dying. Howard said he hadn’t realized he had shot him, he was aiming for Clark, and that he was sorry.

The Cohen’s were next on Howard’s list. These were the people that Howard held the most anger towards. They often had disputes as next door neighbors, with Howard playing his radio too loud and leaving their gate open. As he approached their drug store, Maurice Cohen came out in the street and cried out “What’s going on here?” when he saw Howard’s gun. Then he turned a hauled ass back into the store.

A customer, James Hutton, then walked out of the drug store, trying to find out what all the commotion was about. Howard said, “Excuse me, sir,” and when James didn’t move, Howard shot him in the chest and head. When James dropped to the ground, dead, Howard stepped over him and entered the store. Howard told the detectives later that shooting James was necessary to hurry things along as he was blocking the sidewalk. Howard was worried Maurice Cohen would get away if he wasted anymore time.

The Cohens had fled to their upstairs apartment. Maurice was shouting for his family to hide. Maurice grabbed his son Charles and they both climbed out the window and on to the porch roof. Jumping down to the ground, Maurice tried to run with his son to safety. Rose, Maurice’s wife, shut herself into a clothes closet. Minnie, Maurice’s 63-year-old mother ran to the phone to call the police.

Howard, who had run upstairs after them, broke down the locked door. He then saw Maurice through the window and shot him in the back. Maurice fell to the ground, dead. Howard claimed to remember seeing Maurice running but didn’t remember killing him.

Howard could hear noises coming through one of the closets, it was Rose, who was whimpering in terror. Howard shot three times through the wardrobe door before pulling it open. Being shot, she was now calling out openly for help, so Howard shot Rose in the head.

Howard then went into the next room where Minnie, the grandmother, was on the telephone. Howard shot her in the face. He then went back through the apartment and out of the drug store’s door. He was back on the street, ready to continue his rampage.

Putting a new clip into the Luger, Howard started heading towards Thomas Zegrino’s tailor shop. As Howard crossed the street, a car was driving past. Alvin Day, a television repairman and World War II vet, was the driver. Alvin slowed down as he saw James’ body lying prone on the sidewalk. Howard walked over to the car and shot Alvin in the head.

There were men on the opposite side of the sidewalk, watching what was happening from the door of a saloon, bartender Frank Engel and a customer. Howard sent a couple of shots in their direction and the men dove back inside the bar.

In a nearby building, Thomas Hamilton, who was 2 years old, looked out of his family’s ground floor window. Howard, seeing the motion of a curtain rustling, fired his gun at the window while continuing to walk on to the tailor shop. His shot hit and killed the toddler.

Thomas Zegrino wasn’t in his tailor shop when Howard got there, he was out running an errand. Howard believed that Thomas was guilty of telling someone in town that he had seen Howard going down on a man in an alley. Helga, who was 28 years old and Thomas’s new wife, was manning the business when Howard came in. She cried out “Oh, no, no,” as Howard fired two shots at her, killing her.

Howard then decided to kill Earl Horner, although he was not on the list. Earl was the manager of the local grocery. Howard liked Earl but thought one of his clerks had been rude to him. Thankfully, Earl had locked the door as several people had rushed to his store looking for sanctuary from the killing. Unable to get in, Howard shot a few shots through the door, but everyone inside was ducked behind the counters and stayed safe.

As Howard left the grocery store, he saw a car that had stopped for a red light. Helen Wilson, 37-years-old, was driving and had her mother, Emma Matlack, 68, and son John, 9-years-old, in the car with her. John was sitting between his mother and grandmother in the front seat. Howard walked up to the car and fired three times. His shots instantly killed Helen and her mother, Emma. John, who was shot in the neck, lived for 18 hours before succumbing to his injuries.

Howard than walked back by his home, to a beat-up old house that was located behind it. The house was owned by Madeline Harrie, who was in her late 30’s. Howard walked up the front steps and into the house. Madeline was sitting in the kitchen with her two teenage sons, Armand and Leroy. Howard fired at Madeline three times, striking her once in the left arm. Armand, who was 16, went after Howard, but Howard hit him in the head with the butt of the Luger. Howard then shot both of Armand’s arms and then placed the gun against his chest. When Howard pulled the trigger again, the gun was out of bullets.

Howard turned to leave, fishing in his pockets for more ammo. That’s when he felt a deep sting in his left buttocks. Howard realized that he had been shot. Although he didn’t see him at the time, the man that shot Howard was Frank Engel, the barkeep. After Howard had fired at him, Frank had gone to his apartment and grabbed his .38-caliber pistol and shot Howard from his second-floor window.

Howard could hear the cop’s sirens approaching. It was now 9:43 a.m. and in 13 minutes, Howard had killed 13 people and wounded three others. His rampage was referred to as the “Walk of Death”. Howard then returned home to his apartment, barricaded himself in, and lay back in his bed.

At this point, there is a grouping of about 50 police officers surrounding Howard’s building. They had all the guns they could hold pointing at his home. (So many guns. Every gun but the umbrella and suitcase gun.) When they called for Howard to surrender, he popped off a couple shots at them. They returned fire as Howard crouched low.

Suddenly, Howard’s house phone rang. (Remember that there are no cell phones in 1949, so it is not the cops calling from outside.) It is an editor for the Camden Evening Courier newspaper, Phil Buxton. He had heard about a madman that had shot up his neighborhood and then holed up in his apartment. Phil had found Howard’s phone number in the local directory.

After several moments of ringing Howard picked up the phone and identified himself. Phil said he was a friend and he wanted to know what the police were doing to him. They spoke for a quick moment before Howard excused himself, saying he was busy at the moment and hung up. Phil said it was the strangest interview he had ever had. (What did he expect? He had interrupted a rampage killer who was trading shots with the police.)

Usually, spree killers aren’t just homicidal, but they are also suicidal. Killers like Howard are often mad at the world around them and decide that they are going to die, but they want others to suffer first. However, that is not the way Howard went.

A cop tossed a tear gas grenade through Howard’s window, and Howard quickly called out that he was giving up and coming down to meet them. He had left his gun sitting on his desk and came out with his hands up. The crowd that had gathered were screaming and shouting curses at Howard.

Howard remained calm and collected through the entire police process. It took two hours for Howard to complete his confession, with the transcript being 66 typed pages. Through the confession, Howard had kept a flat affect, being very cold in his delivery.

When asked why he had done it, Howard had said that a feeling had been building for a couple years. It had started when he came up with the idea that Maurice Cohen, the druggist, was getting into Howard’s personal business. Howard believed that Maurice was talking negatively about him behind his back. An example Howard gave was one time he had heard Maurice say, “See that guy? He allows his mother to support him.”

Howard’s mother, Freda, had gone to her sister’s house after Howard had threatened to attack her. She learned from her ex-husband, Howard’s father, about what Howard had done. Sam, Howard’s dad, thought about holding back on the fact that their son had killed children, but in the end decided to tell Freda the full story. Freda collapsed after hearing the news.

It wasn’t until after the lengthy confession that Howard was taken to the hospital where they found a large gaping wound on his left butt cheek. The bullet had traveled in his body to become lodged in the top of his femur, by the hip joint. They had to leave the bullet in but did treat the wound.

The public went nuts. He was a white Bible class teacher with a stellar military record and a quiet demeanor. Howard was now also a rampage killer who killed three children and ten adults. At the time it was hailed as the worst one-man massacre in American history and he was given the moniker of ‘The Father of Modern Mass Murder’.

Hospitalized for two weeks, immobile in bed, Howard was seen by five different doctors who worked to evaluate his mental condition. Howard reveals that he had intended to kill his mother, in order to spare her from the pain of what he was about to do. He was also truly surprised that the doctors were treating him. He believed that murder was a sin and he should be killed for committing it. The physicians agree that Howard should be moved to a mental health facility for further testing.

The newspapers are all over the place. Some blamed his homicidal rage on his homosexuality, others blamed it on his combat encounters. James, Howard’s brother, and Sam, his father, claim that it was his time in the service that affected Howard negatively and he had come back from war as a changed man.

Howard’s killing spree lead the American government to go after ‘war trophies’ like Howard’s handgun, the Luger. It intensified a drive by the War Trophies Safety Commission to collect weapons of a foreign make. Several hundred small arms were amassed in three days of collection.

At the New Jersey State Hospital for the insane, Howard was being treated by four different physicians, daily. Howard was found to have a high degree of suspicion with general paranoid tendencies. He was considered to have above average intelligence, with schizoid and seclusive inclinations. Howard readily admitted his crimes but showed very little remorse or regret.

Howard told his physicians that he would have killed a thousand people if he would have had enough bullets. He was committed to the New Jersey State Hospital indefinitely. Family members of the slain were upset that he was not sent to jail and given a death sentence.

The conditions in which Howard lived in the hospital, however, were just as bad as a jail. For thirty years, Howard was confined to the maximum-security Vroom building, which had been built in 1917. It had insufficient heat, warped frames around barred windows which let the cold in, horrible food, severe overcrowding, and brutal mistreatment by guards. Riots were common in the building. The suicide rate of the patients was around 144 attempts in one year, with six of them being successful.

Howard was a model patient. After the first 30 years in the Vroom building, administrators had agreed to let Howard go to a minimum-security mental hospital but again the family of victims were outraged and spoke out. Howard tried again and was denied by a judge the second time. It wasn’t until August 1983, when Howard was 62 years old, that he was transferred to a less restrictive hospital, the Raycroft Center. He stayed there, the oldest patient in the facility, until he was transferred to a nursing home as a sick old man. Howard died October 19, 2009 at age 88, in a nursing facility.

The majority of this article came from a book called Rampage that was written by Harold Schechter. https://www.amazon.com/Rampage/dp/B07DP873X9/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=howard+unruh&qid=1573237384&s=books&sr=1-1

Jamie Barsegian was Murdered

On June 15, 2018, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, police received a call from Tywuan Sims-Scott, age 19, stating he had killed someone and planned on killing the police next. The police found him bloody and carrying knives, walking down the middle of the street. It is said that he tried to get police to shoot him. Tywuan had killed his roommate’s girlfriend, Jamie.  Tywuan had stabbed Jaime over 40 times. It is said that the reason he killed her was over an argument about sharing food.

Tywaun Sims-Scott was found guilty of first-degree murder but was determined to be insane. On November 7, 2019, he received a life sentence without parole. Since Tywuan was found to be mentally ill he will receive  treatment while in prison.

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Warning: This podcast occasionally contains strong language which may be unsuitable for children.

Howard Unruh- Father of Mass Murder, and Jamie Barsegian was Murdered Episode 60

For this episode we visit a spree killer from the 1940’s, Howard Unruh of Camden, New Jersey. He was considered to be the Father of Mass Murder. We also discuss Jaime Barsegian’s murder at the hands of a mentally ill individual.

Click Here to listen to episode 60

Listen, Subscribe, and review us on Google Play by clicking here and on iTunes by clicking here

Join the conversation by visiting us on Twitter, and Facebook

Do you want to contact Michigan and other Mayhem? Do you have a story you want to share? Contact us by clicking here

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Warning: This podcast occasionally contains strong language which may be unsuitable for children.

New Zealand Earthquake Lights

November 2016 in Kaikoura, New Zealand there was an earthquake.  It lasted about 2 minutes and created a tsunami.

Huge quake! Shake you out of your panties, big.  For perspective, the earthquake was 7.8 magnitude in Kaikoura.  Ten is the highest the Richter scale goes.  In 1960, Chile the had a 9.5 earthquake, biggest on record.

In Kaikoura, two people died, and many were stranded by the broken pieces of land. 

The lights appeared at the peak of the shaking. At a distance: the sky lit up in blue and green colors, a little yellow Videos are at night and looks like lightning on a cloudy night:

Security camera footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjqxiSxhNCw

Close to the quake, it looked like sizzling flames coming out of the ground. There were reports of ghost globes, or possible ball lightning.  There were blue and green shimmers.

Lights reported during earthquakes go back thousands of years.  It’s been sited at least 60 times. Earthquake lights weren’t thought to be real in previous years, but with cellphones and security cameras, there is a lot more proof.

Hypotheses:

  • Result of a positive charge generated along stress gradients that “accumulate at the surface”
    • A high density of accumulated charged atoms are thought to ionize pockets of air with creates light-emitting plasma
  • Intense electric fields are created piezoelectrically (ability to generate an electric charge in response to mechanical stress) by tectonic movements of rocks containing quartz
  • Local disruption of the Earth’s magnetic field

Continuing the Conversation: The Craigslist Murder of Brooke Slocum and the Decapitation of Charles Oppenneer and the Suicide of Brady Oestrike in Wyoming Michigan

Continuing the Conversation: This week we talked about the Murder of Brooke Slocum and the murder and decapitation of Charles Oppenneer, and the suicide of Brady Oestrike.

Click Here to read Neil Blake’s MLive.com article 60 Craigslist killer crime scene photos to learn more about the murders and murder.

The Murderer Brady Oestrike made videos of him preparing his home for his victims. Here is one of the videos on MLive.com’s Youtube channel, you will find many more videos on their Youtube channel.

 

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Warning: This podcast occasionally contains strong language which may be unsuitable for children.

Continuing the Conversation: Family Annihilator Steven Wayne Benson

We did a podcast in October 2019 that included the story of Steven Wayne Benson, family annihilator. Steven planted a bomb in his car and then ushered his family inside it.

Pretending he needed something in the house, he left the car, standing on the porch steps as it exploded.

Steven’s mother and nephew died instantly. Steven’s sister was throw free of the car, suffering deep burns.

He killed to his family to get to their money.

A book was written about his crime: https://books.google.com/books?id=nL-mQROQPfQC&pg=PA139&lpg=PA139&dq=Steven+Wayne+Benson&source=bl&ots=Ct1cUKeQTy&sig=ACfU3U26eX_aJMcknR7k8j_JIfZk2d2u6g&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjU86TBmezlAhVEXKwKHS-ABQMQ6AEwCHoECAgQAg#v=onepage&q=Steven%20Wayne%20Benson&f=false

Illegal Snow in Michigan

By the second week in November 2019, Michigan had already broken some snowfall records.

Did you know it was illegal in Michigan to not completely clean the snow off of your car?

You have to clean off not just the windows, but your head and taillights along with your license plate.

Its also illegal to have snow from your car fly off and obstruct the view of the drivers around you.

Stay safe this winter!

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/02/12/driving-snow-covered-car-you-could-ticketed/328554002/

Decapitation, Murder of Charles Oppenneer and Brooke Slocum and Historic Hotel Fires

Episode 59: Decapitation, Murder of Charles Oppenneer and Brooke Slocum and Historic Hotel Fires

Click Here to listen to episode 59

Today we talked about the murders of two young people, commonly known as the Craigslist murders. Then we keep it dark with two hotel fires that took the lives of over 50 people collectively.

We provide funny reviews of an Inn to give you a mental palate cleanser. Enjoy!

Listen, Subscribe, and review us on Google Play by clicking here and on iTunes by clicking here

Join the conversation by visiting us on Twitter, and Facebook

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Warning: This podcast occasionally contains strong language which may be unsuitable for children.

Show Notes: Bodies Historic Hotel Fires, Decapitation Murders of Charles Oppenneer and Brooke Slocum

This show, “Michigan and other Mayhem”, is a sort of factual, slightly comical, always earnest podcast about interesting stuff in Michigan and around the world. It is done by two sisters-in-law (Ali and Jenn) that like to talk about random interesting stories.  Expect cults, mysteries, murder, fast talking, and a couple of mental palate cleansers… and cuss words.  Those happen on this show, a lot.

Episode 59: Bodies Historic Hotel Fires, Decapitation/Murder of Brooke Slocum and Charles Oppenneer

Review of Econo Lodge, Battle Creek, MI

Alerts:

  • Pretend podcast music because Jenn likes it.
  • Ali has a weird laugh. It is often loud.

We discuss the dark bean ambrosia, coffee for a minute.

Decapitation/Murder of Brooke Slocum and Charles Oppenneer

 The deaths of Brooke and Charles have been referred to as the Craigslist murders.

Brooke was 18 years old and about eights months pregnant. Her boyfriend Charles was 25 years old. They were from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Being in need for money, they posted an ad on Craigslist requesting to borrow 50 dollars in gas. About a week after they posted the ad, Brady Oestrike replied, taking the conversation from one about gas money to an exchange for sex. Brady offered Brooke $125 for sex.

July 12, 2014, the couple met with Brady, who was 31, at a Wyoming, Michigan park around 11:30 p.m. Three days after they met at the park, Charles’ car was found abandoned. His body was found, headless, in the car. Brooke was missing. Their home was searched, and the police investigated their internet history, finding the conversation with Brady.

The police were then able to execute a search warrant for Brady’s home in Wyoming, MI. Brady fled in his car and eventually crashed. He then killed himself with a gunshot. There is video of the incident, showing the crash and Brady’s subsequent death. When police searched the car, they found Brooke strangled to death in the trunk.

It was believed that Brady held Brooke in his home. There is disturbing video of Brady preparing his home to hold his victim. (Jenn watched it on YouTube along with the car crash video.) Police believe her body was in the trunk because he was trying to hide evidence when the police searched his house.

Charles’ skull was found on March 26, 2019, in a wooded area in Alpine Township in Gazeon Park. It is believed that Charles died of a gunshot.

Other notes about Brady Oestrike: In May of 2014 he met a woman on Craigslist. She willingly moved in with him but then he chained her up in his basement. He physically and sexually abused her. The woman escaped and told police what happened, but no charges were pressed against him.

On the day he was to meet with Charles and Brooke, Brady was supposed to fly to Las Vegas to meet a woman he had hooked up with on a sexual fantasy website.

Historic Hotel Fires in Michigan, Kerns and Wenonah Hotels

Kerns Hotel

The Kerns Hotel was built in 1909 along the Grand River in Lansing, Michigan. It was built with a brick exterior and a wooden interior, originally containing 162 rooms.  (Michigan was a lumber state, so the wooden interior was standard for the time.) It contained four stories and was upgraded to a 211-room hotel in 1934.

The hotel was very popular for state legislators, due to its location in the state’s capitol, Lansing. It was beautifully located at the edge of the river and in the heart of town. The Kerns Hotel was also known for their restaurant and bar. On top of that, it was the first hotel in Michigan that piped ice water to each of the rooms.

On December 11, 1934, the same year the hotel added the new rooms, it caught fire. It was believed that the hotel manager, David Monroe, had discarded a lit cigarette in his room. He was one of the people who died in the resulting blaze. About 30 minutes after the fire started, it was noticed by a night watchman, around 5:30 in the morning. He immediately sounded the bell to alert the fire department of his discovery.

There were 215 guests in their rooms that night. The fire department was able to arrive quickly, evacuating many of the people on the first two floors.  However, the wooden interior had helped the fire spread quickly throughout the structure. Fire ladders and nets were brought to the exterior of the structure, trying to assist the people trapped on the upper third and fourth floors.

Others, desperate to escape the heat flares and flames began to jump from their windows down to the kitchen roof below. Eventually, the roof of the kitchen collapsed, cutting off even that dangerous avenue of escape. Some victims of the fire, tried to jump into the nets below, but missed and died after falling to the ground. People also attempted to leap from their windows into the Grand River. Unfortunately, due to it being winter, the river was freezing and filled with ice, possibly frozen solid. To make matters worse, as the fire continued, the exterior brick walls began collapsing onto rescuers.

The Kerns Hotel fire is thought to be the worst in Lansing’s history.

It was determined that 32 people died at the scene, with two others later succumbing to their injuries and perishing at the hospital.  There were 44 injured. Of those who died, there were 14 firemen who died and seven state legislators. An announcement made at the scene recalled the first body being pulled from the site came from the river and was thought to be Senator John Leidlein. Senator Leidlein did die due to the fire at the Kerns Hotel, but that was a misidentified body. Senator William Hanna died after missing the safety net.

The Detroit fire department sent a crew to Lansing to assist them in dealing with this tragedy. It arrived in Lansing by 9:30 a.m. and immediately began to work securing the scene and searching for survivors. They were there to give the Lansing firefighters reprieve so they could take a moment to rest and mourn the loss of their coworkers. The Detroit fire crew also brought extra equipment to aid in clean up.

Due to the death of the legislators, special elections needed to be held in four different districts. This caused the pollical power to shift from republican to democrat with a seat win. At least one senator’s wife was compensated financially for her husband’s death.

https://cardboardamerica.org/2016/12/12/kerns-hotel-fire-december-11-1934/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerns_Hotel_fire

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/1837770/1934_kerns_hotel_fire_in_lansing/

Wenonah Hotel Fire

The Wenonah was a hotel that was built in Bay City, Michigan, opening November 9, 1908. It was a four-story upscale hotel and was received with a lot of fanfare. The night it opened, about 1,000 people had purchased tickets to enter the hotel’s restaurant to eat for the night. Eleven stores were built into the first floor and the main floor lobby was near to 5,000 square feet. The hotel was constructed with mostly concrete and steel, with wood only being used for interior finishes like door jambs and windowsills.

On December 10, 1977, the Wenonah Hotel caught on fire around 7:00 a.m. It had since been turned into a block of apartments with about 140 residents. Dave Shore, who operated a radio station from the hotel’s lobby, stayed on the air, reporting the fire until he had to be evacuated at 7:30 a.m. It was reported that people on the top two floors were still jumping from the building until 8:15 a.m. Machines with cherry-pickers were brought to the scene from Michigan Bell and Consumers energy, trying to reach the people at the top. Civilians brought ladders to the scene, working to assist people out of the building.

Every article that I read had a different speculation on how the fire started. I read everything from a mentally imbalanced man in the hotel possibly being an arsonist, along with speculation on a grease fire or faulty wiring. The cause of the fire is still unknown. There was additional speculation that the fire had grown so quickly because of a highly flammable paneling that had been later added to the structure.

A man named Randy Badgerow, who was an ambulance driver at the time, drove to the hotel after seeing smoke. Randy and his partner were the first ambulance on the scene and the first person they treated was a man who had jumped from his window, landing on the sidewalk in front of them. Randy said he still has moments of PTSD from being part of the tragedy.

The city was in the middle of a cold snap and one of the fire hydrants that firemen had tried to use was frozen. When the water did start to pump out, it froze on the sidewalks, streets, and truck ladders causing difficulty in the rescue. Freezing temperatures in the single digits mixed with 30 mph winds caused icicles to form on the firemen as they tried to hose down the structure.

Forty-three people were treated and released, with another 23 people admitted into the hospital with more serious injuries. There were 10 fatalities. At 10 a.m. fire fighters were able to pull back on their main assault on the fire. The roof had collapsed, and a majority of the fire was out.

The Bay County Historical Museum has an exhibit on the Wenonah Hotel fire.

https://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/2017/12/the_wenonah_hotel_fire_40_year.html

http://www.bay-journal.com/bay/1he/writings/wenonah-hotel-opens.html

http://www.bay-journal.com/bay/1he/writings/wenonah-hotel-1908nov9.html

Trip Advisor Review of Econo Lodge

Battle Creek, MI

Mike M.

Brutal !

We arrived at 3:00 in the afternoon to Police cars in the parking lot. I ask at the desk what was going on, the clerk had very little english skills other then $44.00 for the room, not sure what it was all about. I also asked the clerk where the Arena was, he did not know of any Arena. As we entered the facility the hallway and room were dark, musty and cold. Took a while to figure out how to get heat on in the room. I was going to call the desk and ask, but did not want to pay $44.00 again. The drain plug in the shower was not operational and stuck in the down position. Not sure how they got the water out of the tub ? Place served its purpose though, very convenient location to Kellogg Arena, about a 1/2 block away, you can see it from the front desk. The Battle Creek Policeman was very helpful pointing it out to us.

Date of stay: February 2013Trip type: Traveled as a couple

Room Tip: Bring a weapon !

Debbie

Bug infested

I would not recomment this place, unless you know for 100% sure that the roaches are gone. They need to infested the BattleCreek, MI hotel. Husband stayed there 3 nights because they said they would take care of it, and every night when he got back he found 2 or 3 bugs running around in his room. They did nothing to make it better. I truly believe that they should spray after the first day instead they told him they would take care of it and did NOTHING.

 Date of stay: July 2019

Grace M.

Reviewed January 6, 2014

Positive Experience

I am a professional who stayed at Econo Lodge for 4 nights and truly enjoyed myself. The room I had was clean and had nice décor. There was a fridge and microwave. For the price of $42 a night I was not expecting this. The front desk staff was honest. Bob returned my $50 bill when I accidently gave him an extra one. The staff was willing to get me breakfast even when I got up late and everything was already put away. I felt they were like family while I was away from home. True, the place is not in an upscale neighbourhood but I am quite familiar with the homeless population. I did not see any hookers, addicts, or smell drugs inside this motel as others talk about. I had a positive experience here.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g41969-d142306-Reviews-Econo_Lodge_Battle_Creek-Battle_Creek_Calhoun_County_Michigan.html

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Old School Makes Way For Special Olympics

In western Michigan this year, an old catholic high school began its transformation into becoming a Special Olympics facility.

South Christian High School, south of Grand Rapids, is being made into the “Special Olympics Michigan Unified Sports & Inclusion Center”.

The former high school already has two gyms, three sports fields, and a large auditorium.

The administrators for  Olympics Michigan said the focus of the facility will be sports, health, and wellness. This includes programs that address preventative care and nutrition.

https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/2019/11/former-west-michigan-school-campus-to-become-worlds-largest-special-olympics-facility.html

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