10.12.2009

40 YEARS MICHIGAN COED MURDERS LANDMARKS


It all started when I mentioned to my youngest brother JR that my stories on John Norman Collins still get a lot of traffic for almost a year now. Searching the internet for anything new, we discovered that there was barely anything newer than the 1980s. Most of the key players have passed away. There are 2 videos and a 5 part interview from Kelly and Company. We decided that we would take RK readers on a little photographic tour of the crucial sites related to this case.


This is really spooky... IT seemed thst every site we encountered had lone female joggers running by. This young woman stopped for my camera and we exchanged pleasantries as she ran by. I thought to myself... she would never be running down the country road alone if she knew what had taken place here nearly 40 years ago.


This is a very busy intersection in front of McKinney student union at Eastern Michigan University. Joan Schell was last seen here getting into a late model red and white car with 3 young guys. Tha car pulled around the back side of the Union and Ms Schell was never seen alive again. A guy was sitting on the front porch of this old house and saw Joan get into that red and white car.



Joan was standing in the front and to the far left of this building. From the time I was about 9 years old my grandmother owned a cool house nearby and I would run over here to buy cool EMU stuff from the bookstore in the basement. My grandmother's house was right behind the Water Tower here is a picture of the house now. Back in 1967 is was white with a white stone porch.


Below is what John Norman Collins' Uncle house looks like now. It is almost unrecognizable. I think I would have torn the house down and built a new. Creepy even though it looks pretty and has a very large 2 story addition on it.


After John Norman Collins was identified by the Wig store manager on Washington St. and forensics on hair fragments that were found on Beineman's underwear which matched with hair fragments found in the basement of Collins' Uncle's home.


Collins' Uncle a State Police Officer, noticed that there were a lot of redwood paint blotches on his basement floor that weren't there before he and his family went on a short trip and left John to watch their home.


Below is the approximate locate of where youngest victim Dawn Basom was found out in the open along Gale Rd. Odd as I was shooting this picture I ran into the lone woman jogging


Gale at Vreeland Rd is where 13 yr old Dawn Basom was found lying on the side of the Rd in plain sight. She appeared to have been dragged in closer to the road so someone would spot her. No one will ever know why.



Here is the power tower still standing on Leforge Rd. The old farm house. barn and school house are all gone now.


There is little left of this area. There is one silo and a foundation to the second silo and what looks like a utility shed behind it. On the other side of Leforge is the spot where an old run down farm house and barn once stood now there are gone. The barn was torched by arson back in the 1970s. There was a cool old school house on the corner but that is torn down too.





"The Michigan Coed Murders", as they came to be called, began with Eastern Michigan student Mary Flezlar on July 10, 1967. Her body was later found with multiple stab wounds, and more grotesquely, no hands or feet on August 7. Almost one year later on July 6, 1968, student Joan Schell was found dead in Ann Arbor with 47 stab wounds. She had last been seen on July 1 with John Norman Collins. When questioned Collins claimed that he was with his mother at the time in Centerline, MI and it was probably just a case of mistaken identity. They took him at his word.


That same month, on the 26th, 16-year-old Maralynn Skelton was also found dead, beaten and bludgeoned extensively. About three weeks later Dawn Basom, just 13, was found dead after disappearing the previous evening. She had been strangled. University of Michigan graduate Alice Kalom was next, found in a field with her throat cut, stab wounds, and a gunshot to the head. When the killer had not been found in two years, the public outcry was became intense.

Then famed psychic Peter Hurkos was hired to use his skills to find the killer or lead to new clues. Hurkos proved to be of little help and soon the police had yet another body on their hands, student Karen Sue Bieneman. She came up missing on July 23, 1969, and was discovered a few days later, strangled and beaten to death.


The killer had taken too big of a risk with Beineman however. While waiting on Beineman on the day she disappeared, a Wig shop manager had gotten an decent look at as she road away with a man on a Triumph 650 Bonneville motorcycle. Collins was subsequently taken into police custody but denied any involvement whatsoever in the killing.


During the investigators were told that Collins was considered oversexed and tended to harass women past the point of normal behavior. A list of women came forward all claiming to have dated or double dated with John Norman Collins. He must have been a very busy man with all the dates he went on.

Collins went to trial and on August 19, 1970, was found guilty and sent to prison for life with hard labor.John Norma will mark his 40 th year of incarceration in 2010. He is currently in Marquette Branch Prison at Marquette, Michigan.

36 comments:

Jerry Kelly said...

"just watched video with my wife who lived across the street at 614 emmet she said she wiil get intouch with you with some very scarry stories nice job kimmer"

Ted Copeland said...

Nice job Kimmer

Tom said...

Very cool. Did I turn you on to the book Michigan Murders that had a bunch of stuff on John Norman Collins? Memeory is fuzzy it might have been you that let me read it. Pretty weird at the time how close they came to catching him at different times.

Larry in Fla said...

Wow, Kim, this does bring back memories. Collins lived at end of our block on Emmett St and he used to speed by on his motorcycle and wave to us--we thought he was soooooo cool...almost James Dean like! The assistant DA was a friend of my Dad's! I remember the day they began to extract evidence from Collins apartment and car just down the street...very, very spooky...

Randy W said...

Geez! Has it been 40 years?!? I remember the last victim was murdered just 3 BLOCKS from my house!!!! Sherry and Mike (my bro and sis) went down to babysit some kids whose parents who'd rented the house afterwards, and actually saw the bloodstains!!! ICK!!!

Larry in Fla said...

Randy, bloodstains....c'mon! Sounds like a little youthful imagination!! LOL!!

Randy W said...

Honest to God, that's what they said - apparantly, they didn't clean it well enough, and they came through the paint!
Needless to say, Sherry and Mike were creeped out!!! That house still has a bad feeling to it, when I go by it!!! *SHUDDER!*

Jerry K said...

heard the same thing

Larry in Fla said...

Randy/Jerry--C'mon! they didn't clean well enough??!! Folklore!

Jerry K said...

jc painted basement floor, uncle was suspicious had test done found blood, thats how jc got caught

Anonymous said...

"I was a 6th grader at Fletcher Elementary School and I can remember that my older sister knew Dawn. So sad...my twins are at EMU and they were home this weekend and asked me if I knew anything about the serial killer. Not something a mom wants to think about."

Jason said...

AWESOME

Julie Lovett said...

Great Job! And I'm with you we should NEVER forget that something like that Can & DID happen here.

Anonymous said...

My mother was friends with Maralynn Skelton. She told me years ago that Maralynn was killed by a motorcycle gang. She said that the girl was an informant. A woman police officer mentioned her name to someone and that someone "dropped the dime" on Maralynn.

Mike Sylwester said...

I finished reading the book "Michigan Murders" today and am looking at the Internet for more information. Thank you for spending the time and effort to upload your videos and photos.

Jim said...

I was in Ypsi when all this was happening. Now, 40 years later, I find that a close, (unnamed), old girlfriend of mine was one of the last people to speak to Karen alive. My friend, in the wig shop, told Karen to NOT go on the motorcycle with this guy.....because he had just tried to pick my friend up for a ride. My friend admonished her telling her that it was too dangerous to ride with a strange man. She replied that it was probably stupid but that he was just taking her home. She was never seen alive again. True story, but I will protect my lady friend's privacy and withold her name.

Sheri said...

My name is Sheri I live in Salem twp not far from the Michigan murders.. A couple of yrs ago I was told by the Librarian at Salem to read this book. I was only 5 and 6 yrs old when the murders happened so never heard about them.. Since reading this book I have been assumed by every aspect of what happen.. I saw your video you did on the location of where the girls went missing and where they were found.. That was haunting to me and very disturbing .. After I saw in the video the home you lived in and how you lived next door this man It had to be haunting to you to know you could of been one of his victims... After watching the KELLY AND COMPANY VIDEO that i saw I have to question myself if I truly believed he could of murder these women .. After I read the book there was no doubt in my mind.. Well I just want to let you know much I had enjoy the video you had done it just put everything in perspective .

Sheri

SHERI said...

I grew up in Farmington and in 1978 Timmy King the last victim of the Oakland county child killer was found a mile from my home SO yes I understand how life was scary MY world stopped that day of my innocents Im still haunted by that.. I read the Jane Mixer story and how they found out recently that GARY LEIBERMAN killed her but what i find amazing is how a 4 yr old boys blood was found on her hand when he lived many miles away.. ITs too bad DNA wasn't known back in the 60s maybe then John Collins could of been stopped sooner..

Thanks for the reply

Anonymous said...

What is the exact address of where Karen was murdered?

C said...

My name is C and I have been doing some research about the co ed killer. The 619 Emmet house is actually a sorority house, not a fraternity house. It is Alpha Xi Delta, I am a member and will be living in the house next year. I had no idea that a murderer lived there!
-C

ProudKansan08 said...

Thank you for doing this.I read a book called Michigan Murders, I think, in 1977 and I was shocked this happened.This really gives visuals to the descriptions the book gave and its interesting & sad to see where they were found, where they were last seen, where all the locations were.To this day, some 33 years after reading the book, it still haunts me.

Hofxnofx1 said...

I'm making a documentary about the coed murders, would you or anyone be interested in helping or being interviewed?

Hofxnofx1 said...

Great work

DewDropPony said...

Reading this book should be required for all college students, especially females.

DewDropPony said...

7 months ago

It really hammers down the point that you need to watch yourself. Watch where you walk, tell people where you are going, when youre coming back, have pepper spray on your key chain, and don't go to people's houses/take rides with people that you just met. Seems basic enough, but a lot of this could have been avoided (or just brought the killer behind bars faster) if these girls would have followed these basic precautions.

dandyboy52 said...

dear retrokimmer & brother, I dearly love that you did this memorial to the poor victims of that sadistic monster,

My father & I were going to do this very thing, but Then I got very badly injured,and couldn't finish our memorial, (there;s next year) fine job thank you for remembering the girls !!!!!

joefeipel said...

the ironic thing of this is that my mother was very close friends with one of the girls maybe you should talk to her some time

detroitbullet said...

I work with Doug Harvey's grand son Joe whom claims his gradpa solved this case is this not true and he was a botched job ? mean while looking for Iggys fun house

carypappass said...

In 1969....my family had a coney island in Annarbor....across from the Michigan theater.....we all remember it well....I read the book and took the same tour....but at that time the old farm house was still standing....my brother and I went there late at night, and we walked the property....when U drive up the short driveway.....when U reach leavel....that's were the lilac plums were placed togather.....one extra flower to indicate there is an other death comming soon !

carypappass said...

My brother and I, walk down the rickety steps down the basement as it explained in the book....with the cobble stone walls....let me tell you, something came over me it's hard to explain....but I cried uncontrollably...I will never forget that night !

Anonymous said...

Some of my Fraternity Brothers lived in the Emmet House in 1990. Their lease expressly forbade any "painting" or tampering with the Basement. The Inside was really old and spooky, like still 1870's. There was a door with steps from the basement into the garage that had been covered over. The address has been changed to "College Place" to try to thwart groupies, but at the end of the name list on the Mailbox, we put "John Norman Collins" as a joke. The mail lady did a "double-take", every time she put their mail in!

Craig Fuller said...

Very nice job!!! Some peoples facts are not so good but you did a nice job!!! (yes that is my real name and yes Mel is my grandfather... The man who put the cuffs on JNC!!!)

Anonymous said...

Collins, now known as John Chapman, proclaims his innocence to this day. Funny thing, blood and semen evidence were collected from most of the victims and never once has Collins filed an appeal demanding a DNA test.

Anonymous said...

For those of us who lived here during those years, the palpable fear in the air at the time will always be a strong memory. My mother was a student at EMU then and knew John's aunt. I remember her telling us how shocked the aunt was at the arrest and how hard she found it to believe that her nephew was involved. I also know someone who was a graduate student working on a project with Alice at the time she disappeared--she was absolutely horrified to find out that she had been murdered. I know a woman who went bike riding with John during that period. She said they stopped for a moment and he asked her "What would you say if I told you I was the coed killer?" She laughed it off, but said he looked frighteningly serious. The moment passed and they continued their ride uneventfully. I remember being quite scared myself at the time and I still think of those girls as I pass the landmarks involved in the case. So sad.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Ypsilanti although I was not even born at this time my grandmother had sixteen kids born and raised in Ypsilanti so i have heard about it. Your site is great and detailed really nice.In 2003 I actually live in the house right behind Mary Flezlar appartment we never understood why we always heard females crying and yelling. Then we googled the address and the Michigan Murders popped up.

Anonymous said...

12:41pm Mar 4
didn't want to post this, detract from your wonderful honoring of the victims, but I remember this era well... went to Huron Relays in ypsi shortly thereafter... also I played football against JNC at Jackson Prison. Muddy Waters, coach at Hillsdale, would take us (freshman) there to make us tough... JNC was a little sh*t, smart alec and cocky... wore a stocking cap under his helmet... played middle linebacker and would cuss at and spit upon the offensive line men (ME)... anyway, thanks for the memory, albeit sad