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City Police Hope Probe Will Clear Up 4 Slayings

City Police Hope Probe Will Clear Up 4 Slayings image
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We re investigating four murders. It's as simple as that. If we can crack one case maybe it'll break them all." The speaker was an Ann Arbor Pólice Department detective sergeant, nis face drawn and strained from 12 hours of investigating what his chief has called the most sadistic murder seen here ; in 30 years. Detective Sgt. Wilham D. Canada is the principal officer in the investigation of the slaying of 16year-old Maralynn Skelton. Her body, one-third of the skull shattered and cracked from repeated head blows, was identified yesterday afternoon by Policewoman Beverly Scannell of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department. The nude body, a shirt jammed in the mouth and a garter belt garroting the neck, was found by a surveying crew in a wooded area of a new subdivisión at the northeast edge of Ann Arbor yesterday morning. The victim lay on her back about 75 feet from a house under construction on Pemberton Dr. off Waldenwood Dr. in the Earhart subdivisión. The location is just west of Earhart Rd. and less than a quarter of a mile from the spot on Glacier Way where the stab-riddled body of an Eastern Michigan University coed, Joan E. Schell, was found last July. No identification papers were found on or near the body. The girl was identified at University Hospital by Pólice woman Scannell, who had had several encounters with the girl in connection with narcotics investigations. The Wayne County policewoman was summoned to Ann Arbor after Pólice Chief Walter E. Krasny and Sheriff Douglas J. Harvey pulled from their files a "missing!' flyer issued on Monday. The flyer said Miss Skelton left Flint last Saturday afternoon, made a phone cali from Ann Arbor to a woman friend in Ypsilanti later that day but never showed up for an appointment at the McKenny Union on the Eastern Michigan University campus. The girl's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Archie Skelton, appeared at the Washtenaw County Sheriff 's Department yesterday afternoon and conferred briefly _with Harvey and Detective Lt. Stanton Bordine fore being taken to U-M Hospital where their daughter's body lay. The first and original "missing" report on the Skelton girl was made to the Sheriff's Department last Saturday night by her boy friend, Michael Millage of 1076 Janet, Ypsilanti Township. Millage told deputies Maralynm was supposed to have been driven from Flint t US-23 and Washtenaw Ave. east of Ann Arbor ear lier that day. He said from that spot she made a cali to Mrs. Sharon Santucci of 518 Forest, Ypsi lanti, asking to be picked up at the McKenny Union. Mrs. Santucci wáited there until 6 p.m. but Maralynn never appeared. On the following day, Sunday, Mr. and Mrs. Skelton, alarmed because of no word received from their daughter, called the Wayne County Sheriff's Department. The "missing" flyer was then printed and sent out to área pólice agencies. Mr. and Mrs. Skelton, Romulus residents for some time, had purchased a house in Flint recently and were scheduled to move to that city on April 2. Meanwhile, they were shuttling back and forth between the two cities. Pólice say the girl had "had trouble" with her parents. "She ran with some pretty fast company," one detective says. "Her juvenile record out of Wayne County indicates connections with narcotics trade and association with a number of off-beat characters. A lot of people have to be talked to in this one." As squads of Ann Arbor pólice detectives begin checking out the scores of tips funnelling into headquarters today, the terse comment by Sgt. Canada, "We're investigating four murders," sets the grim tenor of the probe. Was Maralynn Skelton the fourth victim of what Chief Krasney says could be "a psycho, gone kill-crazy"? Was Mary Fleszar, the shy, quiet-mannered EMU coed, whose nude, mutilated body, found on a dump north of Ypsilanti in 1967, the killer' s first victim? Did Joan Schell, the bright, outgoing Plymouth girl, take her ride to death from the McKenny Union last June with the same man? And was Jane L. Mixer, the brilliant 23-yearold U-M Law School student, dead from two gun shot_wounds in the head, dumped on a grave in tiny Dentón Cemetery east of Ypsiianti last Friday by the same madman? The questions puzzle, confuse, intrigue. Miss Skelton certainly was a different type of individual than were the first three victims. She had her right ear pierced so she could wear a brass earring through it. She liked to wear blue jeans, attend "swinging" parties, go out with older boys. A Wayne County Sheriff's Department bulletin on the missing girl calis her a "user and pusher" of narcotics, including heroin and mescaline. ' She was known, the Wayne County Sheriff's Department says, to frequent "hippie hangouts" in Ann Arbor and Ypsiianti near the campus of Eastern Michigan and U-M. The Michigan Union and McKenny Union at EMU were common meeting places for Miss Skelton and her friends, pólice checks show. Her parents told Wayne County officers last Sunday they had received a "threatening" phone cali about their daughter. They said the phone caller warned them they might find the girl "laid out somewhere with three bullet holes in her head." The caller told the Skeltons Maralynn was involved in illict drug traffic. Ann Arbor pólice say the key to her murder lies in an accounting of her activities immediately after she arrived at Washtenaw Ave. and US-23 east of Ann Arbor last Saturday afternoon. Chief Kransy says the best sources indícate she had been dead less than 24 hours when her body was found yesterday morning. A resident of the area reports hearing a scream late Monday night near the subdivisión site and others say two cars - a red Pontiac and a small, white car were seen. Joan Schell hitchhiked a ride in a red and black car on the night of June 30 when she was last seen alive. Detective Lt. George L. Simmons says the autopsy shows the Skelton girl received "egg shell fractures" of the skull. "She was hit repeatedly with a heavy weapon," Simmons says. "She was clubbed from both sides of the head. Berrien County Sheriff's Department detectives in St. Joseph, Mich. believe the Skelton and Schell killings are too similar to a triple slaying which occurred near Benton Harbor in 1965 to ignore. They are bringing to Ann Arbor a portfolio of investigative material on the unsolved murder of Mary E. Jones, 37, Amelia Boyer, 60, and Diane Carter, 7. Mrs. Jones was decapitated, Mrs. Boyer was cut up and stabbed and the Carter girl was [slashed extensively. I Deputy Pólice Chief Harold ËHETsayHutT reassnments in the Pólice Department llï betog IsTeLcasfoL fato one big break. If we get it we may clean the siat?'