Battle Creek Enquirer from Battle Creek, Michigan on March 22, 1991 · Page 3
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Battle Creek Enquirer from Battle Creek, Michigan · Page 3

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Battle Creek, Michigan
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Friday, March 22, 1991
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Page 3
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LOCAL FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 1991 BATTLE CREEK ENQUIRER 3 A Metro Area News Briefs astadSoirn DPy's Fire hits SAF.E. Place An attic fire forced 16 residents and staff members to temporarily evacuate S.A.F.E. Place, on Northeast Capital Avenue, about 5:22 a.m. today. Battle Creek firefighters said the electrical fire began in the attic of the building, which serves as a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Damage was estimated at $1,000. No injuries were reported. Parade to rally support for troops ALBION Albion will demonstrate its support for troops in the Gulf War with a parade and rally on Saturday. The activities are being sponsored by the Albion Area Desert Storm Support Group. According to President Debi Garcia, the line of march will step off at 2 p.m. at Cass and Superior streets in downtown Albion, then head south through the business district to the Albion Public Library, where the honor roll of local people serving the Gulf will be read. The American Legion will provide an honor guard for the activities. Five men arrested in prostitution sting Five men were arrested Thursday in the latest crackdown on prostitution in downtown Battle Creek. The sting, which was conducted at West Michigan Avenue and Carlyle Street, used a female Battle Creek patrol officer as a decoy with police detectives as backup. Those arrested, ages 28 to 50, all of Battle Creek, were charged with solicitation for prostitution after they allegedly offered the undercover officer money. The arrests took place from 7:23 to about 10:30 p.m. The dragnet is part of ongoing efforts to curb prostitution in the downtown area. The last sweep was in November, when 21 men were arrested during a two-night prostitution sting. It was conducted in the same place as Thursday's operation. Seminar to explain veterans' benefits A half-day seminar to explain benefits available to veterans, their families and caretakers is planned for April 27 in American Legion Post 54, 1 125 E. Columbia Ave. The session, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include discussions on federal and county benefits, hospitalization plans, national cemetery benefits and Veterans Affairs services. Community services offered by the Legionnaires also will be discussed, including visitation with medical center patients and ; transportation offered to medical facilities in other communities. "Based on our conversation with area veterans, were convinced many are unaware of all the benefits they earned while members of our armed forces," said James Barclay, post commander. All local veterans, their spouses, children and other family members are invited to the program conducted by resource people from the VA and American Legion, plus city and state authorities. For reservations, call 963-3356. Wolpe plans town meeting U.S. Rep. Howard Wolpe will be in Battle Creek on Saturday for a town meeting. Wolne. D-Lansine. will meet with residents from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in American Legion Post 54, 1 125 E. Columbia Ave. The public is invited to share concerns with the congressman. Jonathan Mflkr is Metro Editor and Bill Miller is Regional Editor. If you hare a story idea or questions, can 966-0668 or 9664684 after 9-30 ajn. By BILL MILLER Regional Editor COLDWATER Public response to the Marilynn DePue murder story on NBC's Unsolved Mysteries Wednesday night led directly to the violent death of the only suspect, her ex-husband Den- nis, eignt hours later. "This is the 72nd case solved as a result of the show, and it's the first time anything like this has happened, that it's ended so trag Marilynn DePue ically," said John Cosgrove of Cos-grove-Meurer Productions in Los Angeles. "We hate to see someone take his own life. But we're relieved for the family that the case is closed. It gives them a chance to move on with their lives." The show dramatized how DePue, deeply disturbed over a recent divorce from Marilynn, assaulted her at their Coldwater home last Easter in front of their children and then dragged her away. Her body was found the next day with a gunshot wound to the head, and DePue and their van were gone. Several photographs of DePue were shown, asking for information on his whereabouts, and a toll-free telephone number given. DePue "Then she said, 'Is there a number?' He said, 'I'll call you in about a week.' She said, 'Call when you get there.' "She said she knew she'd never see him again." Blizzard wondered if he had been watching a police program on TV because "he watched stuff like that," Harris said. Blizzard then looked at a program guide and discovered that Unsolved Mysteries had been on. She called a friend, and the two decided to find someone who had watched the show not knowing Harris had already seen it. "It hit me when this came on," Harris said. "I limbed in on Michigan, the van, the murder. I hoped they'd show his picture. Then it came on and I freaked out." Harris called Blizzard. "I saw Hank on Unsolved Mysteries. I said he's a murderer. She freaked out." Harris invited her friend to spend the night at her house, and then called the Unsolved Mysteries tip number. The two women spent most of the night talking to Branch County Detective Sgt. Pat Loss in California and the FBI in Dallas. Blizzard met DePue at a party last Halloween at a local club and they started dating, according to Harris. He told her he had been in the area since May, renting a room in Mesquite. His landlady said he had dated frequently. In December, he moved in with Blizzard and that's when Harris met him. "I had an uncomfortable feeling about him from the day I met him," she said. "He was very knowledgeable and good to her. He was home during the day. He told her he was doing contract illustrations and Urban League -founder worked taird By TRACE CHRISTENSON Staff Writer Evelyn Golden spent much of her life working for firsts. . The 81 -year-old founder of the Battle Creek Area Urban League remembers how hard it was. "We were just trying to get the first teller in a bank or the first clerk in a store," she said. "They were jobs that whites would just consider ordinary jobs. But we had to work hard to get blacks those first jobs." Golden talked about the early days of the Urban League during an interview Thursday upon her return to Battle Creek from her Students MARSHALL Not far from a bank of computers, a pillow with a Garfield pillow case lays on the floor. Diagrams of the Space Shuttle cockpit are on one wall. Nearby, a student eats microwave popcorn. The Space Shuttle Toadily Awesome IV is about to finish a 30-hour trip without moving. Inside, nine eighth-grade students from Marshall Middle School, most operating on less than three hours of sleep, are about to complete an around-the-clock science project The 42-foot shuttle, constructed of wood and cardboard, flew the mission on the balcony of the Ijf f xX, At Yjfy- DePue went to roadblocks at '" Zi? the bridge and .: on 1-20 east 1 ' I Arkansas i . 1 . I rp, irnP Chase ended when j Enlarged I DePue fatay snot area J . himself in his van BOF? Mississippi . 1 y w yChina Louisiana Vicksburg fsonBd, -W6 I r Among the hundreds of calls that poured in was one from Grapevine, Texas, a Dallas suburb. FBI and other law enforcement agencies, including Branch County Undersheriff Gary Abbott, contributed to this account of the chain of events: DePue, who was going by the name of Hank Queen and living with a woman named Linda Blizzard, apparently saw himself on the TV program, quickly packed some bags, told the woman he had writing. He would fix dinner at night; he was very domesticated. "He didn't really like to go out in public much. She occasionally got him to go out to dinner. His van stayed in her garage, although occasionally he would go to the grocery store and to the library to do research. "He never showed any temper toward her. I never saw him take anything but aspirin. No medication, he didn't drink, no caffeine. "He was a very avid sports fan. He went with her to see a boyfriend who builds and races model boats. On Sunday, she got him to go to church ... in Richardson. "But to me, things weren't clicking. He was evasive where he was from. He wore dark glasses when he went out. He gave her a Valentine's card and he didn't sign it. He said he had grown up in Indiana, that he had gone to Michigan State. He never really said where his family was." There came a point in January or February that Blizzard started getting suspicious. "She had him investigated by a private detective, but didn't find out much," Harris said. "She had never seen a driver's license or wallet, never seen mail come to the house. And he had money all the time and didn't go to work." Harris said her friend managed to take some snapshots of the man and she had just picked up the prints Wednesday. On Thursday night, Harris said she and her friend felt exhausted and drained. "It's hard when somebody hasn't done anything to you, you have feelings for them. It's pretty much of a shock, but maybe it ended for the best." home in Santa Barbara, Calif. She will be a special guest at the Urban League's annual Whitney M. Young Jr. dinner tonight at the Stouffer Battle Creek Hotel when the Urban League will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Hiring blacks in the 1960s was still not done in many businesses, Golden said. It was the same struggle before the Battle Creek School Board hired a black teacher. "They just didn't hire them," she said Thursday. "We worked on it more than two years. The school board would even meet in their homes to discuss it. Those pushing for minority shuffle to cockpit to conduct experiments Trace Christcnson middle school gymnasium. Plastic windows which obscured the view were the only visual link to the outside. But the students did communicate by computers, talking to others locally and across the country. But early Thursday morning, they learned about technical problems when the computer modem malfunctioned, cutting their Graphic by Julia McCallum Information provided by the Vlcksburg Post to leave to visit his sick mother, and left. Soon after, Blizzard received a call from a friend who had seen the show and recognized Queen as DePue. The friend then called the Unsolved Mysteries number. Program officials alerted the Dallas FBI office, which issued an all-points bulletin that was picked up by the Louisiana State Police. The bulletin included information that the van was traveling with license plates stolen in Texas. From 1A By BILL MILLER Regional Editor COLDWATER The death of murder suspect Dennis DePue came as a relief to people here, but many also regret that it leaves important questions unanswered. DePue was found dead Thursday morning in Vicksburg, Miss., after shooting himself in his van at the end of a police chase through two states. He had been wanted for the murder last Easter of his ex-wife, Marilynn, a popular Coldwater High School counselor. At the high school Thursday, Jan Storrs felt as if a weight had been lifted, but was sad as well. "It puts to an end what's been a very difficult year for the students and Manlynn's kids," Storrs said. "It's going to be hard for those kids. At some level there are going to be a lot of unanswered questions, a lot of things they might have wanted to say to their father they now can't say. At another level it's going to be OK, because they didn't want to talk to him." One of the DePues' three children, Julie, is a senior living with a teacher's family until she graduates. The other two children, Scott, 12, and Jennifer, 19, are living in Florida with their aunt, Beverly Bank. The children have been overwhelmed by the TV program and following events, Bank said. "It's just been a very quiet response; they're still thinking about it. They were kind of hoping for a fast response. I'm cer teachers felt "it was so important to have teachers of other races to develop the concepts that children have," she said. She said the Evelyn Golden school board only relented after urging by Virgil Rogers, a superintendent hired with supplemental money from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Golden, wife of the late Battle Creek attorney James Golden, Related photo 1A link to the outside. Calls from Boston and Chicago were garbled because of the problem and the mission commander, 13-year-old Chad Prat-ley, said the breakdown was frustrating. The students were given several experiments to conduct, including measuring the inside volume of the shuttle. But equipment did not include a ruler or yardstick. "We used a Rubic's cube," explained Jeff Troyer, the science officer. The group determined the inside of the shuttle was more than 16 million cubic centimeters. ' ''r 0 Trooper David Thomason was patroling 1-20 in northeast Louisiana when at about 2:30 a.m. CST (3:30 p.m EST) he spotted a van matching the description of De-Pue's, speeding at about 80 mph to the east toward the Mississippi River and the bridge crossing to Vicksburg, Miss. The van passed the cruiser, then slowed down to 55 mph. Thomason followed him for 12 miles and radioed other agencies to set up a roadblock. He then turned on his emergency lights and siren and DePue sped up to 75 mph. For 35 miles, Thomason followed him to the river with sirens wailing. On the Vicksburg side of the river, Warren County Sheriff Paul Barrett and his deputies were waiting with the roadblock. DePue slammed into two cruisers and drove through. Officers then shot out three of his tires. He kept rolling, on three wheel rims and a left front tire, through a thinly-populated residential area, before he stopped and fired several shots at pursuing officers. Barrett fired a machine gun at the van and when there was no response, authorities approached the. van and found DePue slumped beneath the wheel, holding a .357 Magnum. DePue was dead from a gunshot wound to the head. They found $16,000 in cash in his pockets, Barrett said. "Authorities in Michigan said it belongs to him. They said it wasn't unusual for him to be carrying that much." Relief dulled by sadness Coldwater still mourns murder victim said she and others wrote to Whitney Young, then the president of the national Urban League, urging him to permit a chapter in Battle Creek. Two years later, in 1966, the organization was founded, and Golden became the first board chairwoman. With help from the Kellogg Foundation, the Urban League hired Milton Robinson as its first president and Lillian Chase as a secretary and set up a tiny office in the Community Building, next to the new Urban League offices at 172 W. Van Buren St. Although an NAACP chapter was operating in Battle Creek, The group also kept records on changes of temperature in the shuttle, fluctuations in their weights and kept notations on various sounds. The crew, which finished their flight Thursday, was the second this year. Ten others from Dale Rosene's class flew earlier this week. Other flights may be scheduled next month. Despite the long hours together, the students said they never were bored. "Every time I looked at my watch, it was like three hours had gone by," said Annie Boughton, the assistant health officer. "I brought some games but we didn't have time to play them," ! ' """'" "" - Staff Photo by Don Nelson Branch County Undersheriff Gary Abbott at news conference. "The van was full of photographs, books, clothes, garbage, water bottles, all kinds of stuff," he said. The photographs were snapshots of a partially-clothed man and an enlarged amateur photo of a partially-nude woman, and of people on a beach. Barrett said he recognized De-Pue's face from photographs, but that a positive identification would be made through dental records. The body was to be released today to DePue's family in St. Joseph. The Unsolved Mysteries viewers will be told of the dramatic and tragic end to the story, Cosgrove said, in a short segment at the end of the program in two weeks. "A lot of people we interviewed said that Dennis was suicidal. When you look back on it, it's not a surprise it ended this way." tainly glad it's finished and kids don't have to do anything like a trial." Storrs said Julie, who was interviewed on Unsolved Mysteries, had been excited about the program "but as it came close the reality of it hit her, what it meant, that it was going to bring up a lot of old wounds, that she was going to have to deal with her feelings about it. She became more hesitant, confused, 'do I really want this to happen?' Half of her wanted her father found, half didn't. She was scared that if he were found, and there were a trial, and he went to jail, she would have some obligation to visit him in prison." Meanwhile, Marilynn's mother, Betty McClenahen of Dearborn, said the past year has been full of nightmares. "I was terribly upset, I couldn't sleep, I'd wake up through the night, things would flash into my mind. "I think he did a lot more to Marilynn before he shot her . . . Scott told me he had kicked her face and stomped on it . . ." "I still get an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. I remember her coming in to see me when I was sick. She was the kindest person there was to everybody. I'll never get over it." Irma Spence, who owns Irma's restaurant in downtown Coldwater, said that Marilynn was a close friend who often came to her place for lunch. "I'm a little sad about it all, because I think about both families. A lot of people are going be hurt over this, but I think it's the best thing that could have happened . . . She was really a special lady." for firsts Golden said she believed the Urban League, which includes employment programs, also was needed. "They were the two oldest and the biggest black organizations in the country and they worked hand in hand," she said. Despite progress, Golden said, racial tension is on the rise and racism remains, even though in subtle forms. She cited documented cases of employers hiring whites who are less qualified than blacks and renewed racial tension at colleges across the country. "We must always be vigilant," she said. said Angje Miller, the flight health officer. Other distractions weren't brought on board. "I tried to sneak in a TV, but it got confiscated," said Pratley, the commander. Students said they learned teamwork, perseverance and ingenuity. And for some of the students, the trip enforced an interest in the space travel. "I have always wanted to be the first person to step on Mars," said Jeff Troyer. "It would be total coolness." Trace Christenson is a staff writer. His column appears on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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