Show Notes: Forensic File Story of Jeanette Kirby Plus Murder By Fire

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 53: Forensic File Story of Jeanette Kirby Plus Murder By Fire

Review of Norway Speedway, Norway, MI

Alerts:

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

In the middle of Ali’s story, she started to talk about L.A.R.P.ing. (Live action role play) which is basically people dressing up and playing out roles in the fashion of Dungeons and Dragons. Are people who are furries also L.A.R.P.ing? Ali thinks so. She also thinks certain types of dominatrix  play is L.A.R.P.ing.

Murder of Jeanette Kirby

I Watched Forensic Files Collection C4: E8 to find this story.

Muriel Kirby met Jeanette Kirby, her daughter, for breakfast almost every day. On June 11, 1986,  Jeanette didn’t meet her mom or call and cancel. Jeanette didn’t show up for work as a Medicare analyst. She wasn’t in her home.  Jeanette was 35 years old, divorced, and had no children. She had also disappeared.

Riverbend Park, in Ingham County, Michigan, is a large, rural park. The park contains about 500 acres of land, which is mostly wooded. The day after Jeanette disappeared the police found Jeanette’s car in a parking lot at the park.  It had a parking ticket on the windshield that indicated her car had been at the park since the day before. Jeanette was known to walk long distances through park in her free time.

The next day, Jeanette’s body was found just a half mile from where her car was parked, in a ravine. The night before, the night Jeanette went missing, there were severe thunderstorms. The thunderstorm had destroyed or washed away evidence around her body. There weren’t any footprints in the dirt or fingerprints on her body. Investigators were able to tell that Jeanette had struggled with someone while she was on the walking trail and that she had then been dragged or pulled down to the ravine.

Her clothes had been methodically cut from her body. Jeanette’s hands were bound behind her back with a white zip tie. This zip tie is the particular brand of tie that police officers use when metal handcuffs are not available. They are called ‘Flex-Cufs’. The square head on a zip tie can only be pulled forward as a tab locks in place over each ridge, keeping it from sliding backwards. ‘Flex-Cufs’ have a stronger tab that is metal, rather than the standard plastic.

This put police officers on the list of potential offenders. No witnesses recalled seeing a police officer in the area. Officers who were known to be in the area were questioned. There were still no leads.

Although Jeanette’s clothes had been cut off her, the medical examiner was not able to find any signs of sexual assault, according to Forensic Files. Another article that I read said there were some media accounts that said she was assaulted. I wasn’t sure what was correct. Jeanette had three knife wounds in her chest. There wasn’t any other evidence at the scene besides the cuffs and the cut clothes.

Jeanette’s ex-husband had an alibi and lived in Florida, ruling him out. She dated casually, but there was no evidence pointing to any of the men in her life.

A clue to the crime was the way that Jeanette’s clothes had been cut from her body. They had been slashed repeatedly and in a manner that suggested the cutting of the clothes themselves was sexual to the attacker. It was done in a methodical way that would have taken considerable time.

The case went cold.

Four years later, in 1990, a criminal attack in Leland, Michigan, about 200 miles away, shed light on the case. A woman in Leland was driving down a deserted road.  A truck with police lights attached to the top pulled her over. A man exited the truck wearing a police hat but not a police uniform. The man in the police hat ordered the woman into his truck but she resisted.  They struggled with each other on the side of the road. In an effort to subdue her, the man pulled a gun, firing a single shot into the air. Just after the shot, another car came around the corner, startling the man.  He fled back to his truck, driving off.

The investigators began questioning people, looking for a man driving a truck with police lights attached to the top. A gas station attendant remembered the vehicle and that the man who stopped for gas paid with a credit card. The man’s name was David Draheim.

David Draheim was 33 years old at the time.  He was a volunteer fireman but had no police connections. He was vacationing at his parent’s cabin in Glen Haven, MI, about 30 minutes away from Leland. When not at the cabin, David lived in Ingham County, just like Jeanette. He worked one mile from where Jeanette was murdered. The woman from the attempted abduction picked David out from a lineup. He had an Ingham County sheriff’s hat in his car. Inside his truck were a knife and some white zip ties but they were not the ‘Flex-Cuf’ brand. 

Police investigators did not feel as if they had enough evidence to convict him for Jeanette’s murder. They were able to convict him for the attempted kidnapping charge with the woman from Leland. He received 40 years in prison and Jeanette’s case went cold again.

Twelve years later, in 1998, Jeanette Kirby’s mother, Muriel, contacted Jennifer Granholm, Michigan’s attorney general at the time. (Jennifer Granholm would later serve as a governor in Michigan.) Jennifer sent two investigators to go back over the files that were collected on Jeanette’s murder.

The investigators decided to contact someone who had yet to be interviewed, David’s best friend, Mark Greko. (gree-co) Mark told investigators that a few years before Jeanette’s murder, he and David were roommates. They were both security guards and David (maybe Mark) drove, as his personal vehicle, a used police car. (Side Note: In a photo of him with the car, the car still has the police emblem and everything. 1984 was a different time.)

While the two men were working on the car, Mark found a bag of ‘Flex-Cufs’ that had fallen between the inner and outer wall of the fender. Mark said he kept one of the ‘Flex-Cufs’ for himself and gave the rest of the bag to David. Mark put his ‘Flex-Cufs’ in the brim of his security hat, a common practice for law enforcement. Fourteen years later, Mark was able to find his old security hat in his basement, with the police brand zip tie still in it.

Investigators needed a way to see if they could match the tie from Mark’s hat to the tie found around Jeanette’s wrists. Proving they were made from the same batch would be pairing the ‘Flex-Cufs’ on Jeanette’s wrists to the ones that were given to David by Mark. Investigators from Michigan traveled to the factory in Mexico that makes the tie brand ‘Flex-Cufs’. It was the only factory in the world to do so at the time.  They couldn’t match the chemical compound of the plastic to evidence because it was too general.

They were able to match the small stainless-steel tabs inside the head of the zip tie. Investigators noticed that a saw cuts the tiny tabs from large spools of steel. Each saw blade maked a distinctive cut mark on the metal. A scientist working for Michigan State police decided to gently melt the wax around both sets of ties, exposing and extracting the tiny metal tab inside. The two tabs were then microscopically examined side-by-side. He was then able to put the two pieces together, matching up the striation lines from the cuts so that they matched exactly. They matched so well that it was believed the two tabs could even have been cut from each other when they were made in 1979.

On June 12, 2002, 16 years after she was murdered, David’s trial began for the death of Jeanette Kirby. It was surmised that David left his job and drove to the park. There he ran into Jeanette, attacking her, securing her hands, and then torturing and stabbing her.  At the trial, David’s wife testified that he also tied her up with the cuffs previously. His wife also mentioned that he jogged often in the park with the ‘Flex-Cufs’ tied to her waist.

David was found guilty.

According to OTIS, David Draheim is still alive in Saginaw Correctional Facility. On July 7, 2002, he was sentenced to a minimum of 60 years with a maximum of 90 years for Open Murder Homicide.

This is on top of the 40- 80 years David had received for two charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a weapon used in 1990. He had also been convicted of repeatedly raping a waitress after acting like he was going to help her changer a flat tire.

Prison terms that David has already completed were the three charges from Leland in 1990 for Attempted Kidnapping, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, and a Felony Firearms charge.

The earliest David could be released is in January of 2050 and the latest is June of 2074. He is currently 62 years old; his birthday is November 11, 1956. (I’m trying to let you know he’ll die in prison.)

https://mdocweb.state.mi.us/otis2/otis2profile.aspx?mdocNumber=213141

1992 Cold Case of 16-Year-Old David Cole and 17-Year-Old Timothy Fowler Burned to Death in Lenawee County Michigan

On May 10, 1982 the police and fire department were called to a home that was engulfed in flames on Pieh Highway in Lenawee County. The home that burnt down was David Cole’s house. He was at the time of the fire home with his friend Timothy Fowler without supervision as David’s Mother Sandra Hill and Stepfather Matt Hall were away in West Virginia visiting an ill family member. 

After the fire was extinguished a 5-gallon gas can was found and it was determined to be arson, investigators were unable to determine if the fire started in front of a bathroom door or in the kitchen area. The two teens were found in the bathroom and since the two were dressed in day clothes it is believed by investigators that the two were alive in the bathroom when the home burnt down. It couldn’t be determined why the two of them didn’t try to leave the home but instead stayed in the bathroom, there was a window where they could have escaped in the bathroom. It was obvious that one of the boys tried to save themselves by filling up the bathtub with water and submerging himself but unfortunately the bath tub melted around him. 

There were multiple suspects in the fire and murder of the two teens but not enough evidence to solve the case. In reading about the case there were two theories on their murder.

1. The boys were killed over a high school love interest quarrel

2. The boys were killed over drugs and money that was owed to a drug dealer

On Websleuths the sister of Timothy Fowler stated he didn’t do drugs. She went on to write that she believed Timothy’s girl friend at the time was unfaithful and if she didn’t have anything to do with the murders, she knows what happened that night at the house. She does note that she did in fact have a family member at the time who may have owed money to a drug dealer and that drug dealer may have decided to kill the boys instead of killing the one who owed them money. 

Nicole Henley a freelance writer of true crime wrote a good article on this story on Medium.com

Norway Speedway, Google Reviews

Norway, MI

I looked up reviews to two different racetracks in the upper peninsula and could not find a truly angry review. Either they know how to show you a racing good time or it takes a lot to motive them to write a one-star review.

Barbie McConnell.Bennett

July 2019, 5 stars

We came up from the L.P to the U.P for the 4th of July weekend. Attended the event …👍👍😎
This was an awesome evening spent at the race track. Prices was unbelievably inexpensive .. Food was fair priced and good too. Brining own cooler made it even better yet. Highly enjoyed the race and the 50/50 raffle drawings.

Here are the slightly angry reviews:

Despite being upset Jesse Treece still gave the racetrack 5 stars in 2016:

Love the atmosphere, President of the track has his head up his ass.

The only one-star review came from Randy Dessart in 2017:

They should make sure the people who are letting the people in know about deals they are running, tonight was ladies night, $5.00 to get in and my wife was charged$10.00. How many others were charged$10.00 when it should of been $5.00.

There wasn’t one angry sentence with five exclamation points. There wasn’t even a negative sentence with one exclamation point. No angry capital letters. No rightgeous indignation. 

It was so nice. I read them twice. No $#!+

(Lesson: Don’t mess with a yoopers cash.  They will one star you.  That’s what it took to finally push one over the line.)

https://www.google.com/search?tbm=lcl&ei=J65pXbWQIMWWsAW7pIrADA&q=norway+speedway+stockcar+racing+mi&oq=norway+speedway+stockcar+racing+mi&gs_l=psy-ab.3..33i299k1l2j33i160k1.93041.112875.0.113329.52.48.2.2.2.0.235.4831.8j32j1.41.0….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..7.44.4739…0j35i39k1j0i131k1j0i67k1j0i10k1j0i20i263k1j0i22i30k1j33i10i299k1.0.KLxUWKlJip8#lrd=0x4d524457d0d3ae19:0x11b12fb1cb64b916,1,,,&rlfi=hd:;si:1274852610190653718;mv:!1m2!1d45.77141497731903!2d-87.90770477722569!2m2!1d45.77105502268097!2d-87.9082208227743

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