A body found yesterday afternoon on a Superior Township farm was tentatively identified as that of a 19-year-old Eastern Michigan University coed who disappeared without a trace July 9."
This report in the Ann Arbor News on Tuesday, August 8th, 1967 described the first of a string of coed murders in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area of Michigan over the next two years. The body was that of Mary Fleszar, 19, who was last seen by a roommate when she left their apartment near the university campus to go for a walk. She was wearing a bright orange tent dress with large white polka dots, and a pair of sandals. She was five foot two, weighing about 110 pounds, wore glasses, and had brown hair. She had not taken her purse, but her car keys were gone, and her car was parked across from where she normally left it, which her mother thought was odd.
Half an hour after she left the apartment, a university police officer had spotted her walking alone. Later, a man sitting on his porch who knew her saw her walking toward her apartment. Then he saw a young man driving a bluish-grey Chevy stop beside her, open his window, and talk with her. She shook her head and walked on. He drove by again and pulled up in front of her. She again shook her head and walked around him. He backed out, accelerated with an angry screech, and left. Concerned, the man on the porch watched her draw close to her building and then lost sight of her, but did not see the car return. He was the last person to see her alive.
ON 48 HOURS
Jane Mixer was murdered in Ann Arbor, Michigan in March 1969. She was 23 - about the same age her niece, Maggie Nelson, was when she resolved to learn all she could about the aunt she never knew.
“Jane was many things I wanted to be - driven, disobedient, brilliant, independent. And I also knew that she died horribly,” says Maggie.
Maggie says she didn’t feel she could ask anyone in her family for details about Jane’s murder but says the case has haunted her.
Maggie’s mother, Barbara, Jane’s older sister by two years, admits there was a pall of silence. “We didn’t talk about what had happened to Jane,” says Barbara. “One, it was painful. And it seemed almost lurid to think about it or talk about it.”
But Maggie felt compelled to unravel the mystery surrounding Jane. She went to the public library and pored over old newspaper reports, finally learning the details of her aunt’s death.
Back home, she dug up some of Jane’s diaries and began to read.
Maggie discovered that Jane was high school valedictorian and, over the objections of school officials, had given a fiery graduation speech calling for social justice. She went on to the University of Michigan and was committed to changing the world.
Maggie also tracked down Phil Weitzman, one of the people closest to Jane in 1969, when she was one of just 37 female law students in a class of 420.
“Whatever she got involved in, she was extremely passionate about,” remembers Phil.
And she was passionate about Phil. Early that spring, Phil says, they were ready to announce their engagement. “Jane said that she wanted to go home and talk with her parents, and felt that she could convince them that this was a good thing.”
Jane planned to go home first, with Phil following a few days later. So she posted a note on a college ride board, looking for a lift from Ann Arbor to her home in Muskegon.
Phil says no one thought anything of it, because everyone did it in those days. He says Jane found a ride with a man named David Johnson.
“We talked on the telephone and I thought she should come with Phil," her sister Barbara recalls. "She told me that she thought it would work out better if they came independently, and I said it wasn’t right and she said, ‘Trust me.’ And those are the last two words she ever said.”
Jane had told her parents she would be leaving Ann Arbor around 6 p.m. and was expecting to arrive by 9:30 p.m. that evening.
As time ticked by and Jane didn’t show up, her father grew concerned. Finally, around 11 p.m., he simply couldn’t wait around anymore, and Maggie says he set out looking for her in his car, driving around for several hours.
Sometime that night, Jane Mixer was killed. SEE MORE HERE
THE GILBERT MANSION echoed the Quirk Mansion across the Huron River and their families sent signals back and forth from the tall towers on dark and stormy nights...
Few towns can boast such a perfect setting for a ghost story as Ypsilanti with its famed Gilbert Mansion at 227 N. Grove. Its mansard roof, tall chimneys, and looming tower call out for tales of other worldliness.William H. Gilbert built his spectacular Second Empire home on a knoll overlooking a scenic curve in the Michigan Central Railroad as it approaches Depot Town from Detroit.
Colorful gardens, ponds, and waterfalls from a spring on the property made the entire countenance a showplace. While some might think this a strange place for a houseof such style and dignity, Gilbert enjoyed the view––because he was a high official with the MCRR.
Mrs. Gilbert regularly opened the house to the children of her neighborhood at Halloween so they could climb to the top of the four-story tower to survey the city’s many towered skyline.
Even in its declining years of disrepair, the Gilbert Mansion maintained its dignity and fostered stories worth repeating. Although the place was uninhabited for several years, some contend there were other kinds of inhabitants in that grand edifice.
When the Boys & Girls Club occupied that building and played basketball in the former dining room, Randy Carpenter was the handyman who strove to maintain the failing structure. He reports sleeping on the floor after working late and waking to find his heavy toolbox moved and hidden elsewhere in the building. Carpenter and others testify to hearing “strange noises” throughout the building, but have never made visual contact with anything suspicious.
In later years the Gilbert Mansion was converted to elegant apartments and, since the central chimney collapsed in 1990, nothing more has been heard from this apparition. Perhaps it was crushed by the tons of bricks cascading to the basement..
DENTON RD BRIDGE
There are many legends surrounding the Denton Rd bridge. The bridge is said to be haunted by a woman who's child was killed by a car, she walks the bridge and legend has it that you can hear the baby cry. Dark figures chase cars over the bridge.
HUTCHINSON HOUSE IN YPSILANTI
A large house stands overlooking the city at the corner of Forest Avenue and River Street, known as the Hutchinson House for the man who had it built. The house is a local landmark, and the subject of some conversation. The story is the stuff of novels, but is true.
Shelley Byron Hutchinson was born in a log cabin just north of Ypsilanti on Oct. 19, 1864, in Superior Township.
The family soon after moved to Ypsilanti, and the father, Stephen, became the town constable. The young Shelley made his living as a dancing master.
It was while working as a clerk in a store in Battle Creek that the young Shelley came up with the idea for trading stamps. The stamps were given to customers to encourage sales, and customers saved the stamps until they had enough to exchange for premiums.
He opened his first store in Jackson, and from this modest beginning the business grew. Then Hutchinson took in a partner, Thomas Sperry, and the business became S&H Green Stamps.
The business was a great success. Hutchinson once told a friend, "The money came in so fast he couldn't take care of it with a scoop shovel."
In 1899 Hutchinson married the 18-year-old Clara Unsinger in San Francisco. The couple lived in New York for a time, and then came to Ypsilanti for a visit in 1901.
On his arrival, he informed his father the household furniture was on the way. A few days later he said to his father: "I think I will build a house here or in Detroit. Which place do you prefer?" "Here, of course," said his father. Work on the new house began in August of 1901.