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View Full Version : MI MI - Charles Rutherford, 34, & Lana Stempien (fd dec.), Aug 2005 - Detroit Boaters



Only4Justice
08-20-2005, 08:38 PM
http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/4857624/detail.html

Michigan State Police said in a Tuesday news release that a 27-foot Wellcraft boat named "Sea's Life" was found adrift on Friday at about 11 a.m. with its motor running and no persons onboard.

The vessel was found after the Coast Guard's Sault Ste. Marie sector received a report that a boat matching its description had been located near Bois Blanc Island, Mich. The St. Ignace station launched its 47-foot life boat and tracked down the missing boat at that location.

The Coast Guard suspended its search for Stempien and Rutherford on Saturday after an extensive two-day search covering the area between Marquette Island, Bois Blanc Island and Mackinac Island.

The Michigan State Police St. Ignace Post said that it's keeping its investigation into the disappearance open.

Authorities said at this point, they do not suspect foul play.


This is a couple of attorneys from Detroit. Mid-30's, boyfriend & girlfriend, come from good families.

What do you all think? Foul play or accident?

I hope I posted this correctly. I am here all the time, but rarely post. I want your great opinions sleuthers! :innocent:

I know this girl....haven't seen her in years, though.

SewingDeb
08-20-2005, 09:00 PM
This is a strange one....motor running, no passengers....police don't suspect foul play?
What do they think happened, I wonder? A suicide pact?

Only4Justice
08-21-2005, 08:42 AM
This is a strange one....motor running, no passengers....police don't suspect foul play?
What do they think happened, I wonder? A suicide pact?

No, I don't think it was suicide. Like I said, this girl is an acquaintance from many years ago. This couple had much going for them. I talked to my aunt yesterday who knows this girl good, and she (Lana) had called her dad just prior to them disappearing, checking in with him. She also talked to a cousin of mine (her best friend) that same day. Nothing was amiss.

But, I wonder, could working for the City of Detroit as an attorney play into this?

Also, I heard from my aunt that the panic button was pushed at around 1:30 a.m.

babydust2004
08-26-2005, 04:35 AM
The discovery of a body that washed up on a rocky shoal in northern Lake Huron may be the first step in unraveling a mystery in the disappearance of a Grosse Pointe Farms attorney who went missing along with her boyfriend two weeks ago as they boated to a Mackinac Island getaway.



The body of a woman found Wednesday in Hammond Bay may be that of Lana Stempien, 35. A lakeside resident spotted the body around 4:30 p.m. about a quarter of a mile north of the Hammond Bay Marina, Michigan State Police Sgt. Michael Powell said Thursday.



"The chances are 60% or greater that it's Lana's body," Powell said.

Still missing is Stempien's boyfriend, Charles (Chuck) Rutherford, 34.

rest of story at link

http://www.freep.com/news/mich/missing26e_20050826.htm

KrazyKollector
08-26-2005, 07:55 AM
Perhaps one of them had gone swimming (the water is in better condition out farther) and got into trouble so the other one jumped in, hoping to save the other and both drown. It says the motor was "on" but it doesn't say it was in gear moving, does it? I might have missed that part.


What time did they go out on the boat?

Since one person looks to be washed up, I am hoping it was just a horrible accident. Such a sad waste of two lives.:(

Only4Justice
01-15-2006, 06:11 PM
From Dateline NBC Fri. 1/13/06:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10807318/

What secrets lie beneath the icy surface of Lake Huron? Did something sinister happen there? Do the chilly waters hold the elusive clues to a mysterious disappearance, a death, and a family’s desperate quest to unravel it all?

It was tragedy that revolves around a vibrant young beauty in the prime of her life.

More at Link....

What do you all think happened aboard this boat?

Alice253
01-15-2006, 08:05 PM
I don't know, right now I lean toward foul play by a third party and that's partially because Chuck has never been located alive. I do think it is interesting that Lana's body was recovered and Chuck's was not. However, they could have gone in the water at different places...one scenario I have in mind is that someone they met up with on shore approached them on the water .... Chuck was made to go overboard first, Lana was then possibly sexually assaulted (though there is no documentation of this anywhere and I don't know if it has been ruled out), then she was pushed overboard.

FWIW, that's my thoughts on it, right now anyway.

LinasK
01-15-2006, 08:21 PM
I think Chuck pushed her and made a new life for himself.

nanandjim
01-15-2006, 08:59 PM
I don't know, right now I lean toward foul play by a third party and that's partially because Chuck has never been located alive. I do think it is interesting that Lana's body was recovered and Chuck's was not. However, they could have gone in the water at different places...one scenario I have in mind is that someone they met up with on shore approached them on the water .... Chuck was made to go overboard first, Lana was then possibly sexually assaulted (though there is no documentation of this anywhere and I don't know if it has been ruled out), then she was pushed overboard.

FWIW, that's my thoughts on it, right now anyway.
My husband and I watched the show. Man, she was absolutely gorgeous. At first, we both thought what you said...third party...boyfriend dumped first...

However, I can also see where he may have done it. However, WHY would be the question. They are both attorneys. He is from a wealthy family, if I recall correctly.

The thing that made me suspect him was that she called another guy while she was on the boat. Her boyfriend was really jealous of this other guy. Plus, she told others that she was going to break up with her boyfriend. So, who knows?? Maybe, in a fit of rage, he made her strip and threw her overboard.

Julie
01-15-2006, 09:01 PM
If that comment she made to a friend about if anything happens to her, check out her boyfriend, is true, why on earth would she go on a trip alone with him??

LinasK
01-15-2006, 09:12 PM
If that comment she made to a friend about if anything happens to her, check out her boyfriend, is true, why on earth would she go on a trip alone with him??
Even though she was a beautiful, well-to-do lawyer, she may have been trapped in an abusive relationship and not known how to end it or been in denial. Many women in these situations don't think they have the mental strength to end it. I saw the photos, although she was very tall, he was larger than her.

nanandjim
01-15-2006, 09:28 PM
If that comment she made to a friend about if anything happens to her, check out her boyfriend, is true, why on earth would she go on a trip alone with him??
I couldn't figure this one out, either. Perhaps, he talked her into going to patch things up. After she was on the trip, she realized it was a mistake. Remember, they said that they found an empty bottle of vodka on the boat and that they were sure that it wasn't her doing the drinking.

Perhaps, he got drunk and belligerent--like he did that one night at the bar. People do all sorts of things when they are drunk. Plus, the condition of her shoe does indicate some type of struggle.

Only4Justice
01-16-2006, 08:01 PM
Hi All ~

I actually knew Lana. She was a best friend of one of my cousins, and was at many of my family gatherings throughout the years. I hate to say this, but I never liked her very well, she was sort of uppity, and I never thought she was "all that". My brother told me after her death that he had "hooked up" with her a couple of times.....

Anyway, my cousin is the 'friend' who was with this couple when he threatened her, the argument the bartender overhead. They have all been deposed by her family's attorney at this point.

I think Chuck had quite the temper, and my cousin told me that he planned to ask Lana to marry him when they got to Mackinaw. Maybe he proposed to her while they were on the boat, I believe she would have said No, and possibly he threw her overboard and disappeared.

A couple of things I know from having an inside track.....1) Chuck's parents were staying on Lake Huron near where the boat was found when this happened, and 2) I am very familiar with Lake Huron, and MOST people do not swim in this lake, it is cold all year round. The only times we have swimmed in it is if the weather happened to get to 100 degrees or so.

Any other thoughts from anyone?

________________________________________________

The above is only MY opinion and I am entitled to have one.

T'sNana
01-16-2006, 08:23 PM
I heard something very poignant the other night (something on Court TV, I believe - criminal profilers) and they said that men kill women who are trying to leave them and women kill men trying to leave.

michelle
01-16-2006, 08:27 PM
at first i thought that the boyfriend killed her and he started a new life, but what would he gain? he wouldnt get anything they werent married, and that just doesnt make sense....maybe she had an admirer or a stalker of some sort...

T'sNana
01-16-2006, 08:47 PM
I tend to think they met up with someone else on a boat...maybe the other people pretended to have trouble with their boat. I sure don't know....it's strange.

michelle
01-16-2006, 08:50 PM
I tend to think they met up with someone else on a boat...maybe the other people pretended to have trouble with their boat. I sure don't know....it's strange. it is very strange i tend to think she may have been sexually assaulted why else would she be naked? and whats up with that thing stuck in her shoe??

Only4Justice
01-16-2006, 09:00 PM
it is very strange i tend to think she may have been sexually assaulted why else would she be naked? and whats up with that thing stuck in her shoe??

I wonder also why she was naked. I think the autopsy would have shown if she was sexually assaulted, and that information would be out there. Her family would probably want that information out there since it would prove there was some foul play, which the police are not saying at this point.

My cousin (best friend of Lana) said Lana was not happy in their relationship and would have never married him.

His family is not speaking at all. Their lawyer says they are very private people and are grieving. I do believe the lake does not always give up bodies, so it is a real possibility that he is still out there.

One thing I know for sure....no one swims in Lake Huron in the kind of weather it was that day. I do not for one minute believe Lana went into that lake willingly.

_________________________________________

The above is MY opinion only and I AM entitled to have one!

michelle
01-16-2006, 09:09 PM
I wonder also why she was naked. I think the autopsy would have shown if she was sexually assaulted, and that information would be out there. Her family would probably want that information out there since it would prove there was some foul play, which the police are not saying at this point.

My cousin (best friend of Lana) said Lana was not happy in their relationship and would have never married him.

His family is not speaking at all. Their lawyer says they are very private people and are grieving. I do believe the lake does not always give up bodies, so it is a real possibility that he is still out there.

One thing I know for sure....no one swims in Lake Huron in the kind of weather it was that day. I do not for one minute believe Lana went into that lake willingly.

_________________________________________

The above is MY opinion only and I AM entitled to have one! she was beautiful, do you think her boyfriend had anything to do with it?

Only4Justice
01-16-2006, 09:42 PM
she was beautiful, do you think her boyfriend had anything to do with it?

I hate to speculate, in case he has drowned also, but my feeling is YES, he had something to do with it. My theory is that he proposed to her, perhaps after making love (which is why she was naked, but still had on her jewelry), and when she told him NO, he threw her in the lake because he was in a rage. This is only my opinion and a theory of what could have happened.

Here is another article:

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060114/NEWS06/601140304

Then, on Aug. 24, a woman's body, nude but for a thin gold necklace and an expensive non-waterproof watch -- items friends say she never wore swimming -- was found washed up in Hammond Bay, several miles away from where the Sea's Life was located. Officials identified it as Stempien's.

An autopsy found carbon monoxide in her organs and determined she drowned. Traces of alcohol were found in her system -- but at levels consistent with a body's decomposition.

Rutherford has never been found.

And the questions have continued to pile up, haunting the Stempiens.

For instance, when boaters spotted the Sea's Life floating near Marquette Island, they reported seeing blue dock bumpers, used to protect the ship's hull when docked or tied up to another boat, onboard. But a later inventory by authorities failed to mention the blue bumpers -- and family members say Stempien carried only white ones on her boat.

If the bumpers were there, could it indicate they had tied up to another boat?

Then there is the knob that was found embedded in the sole of Stempien's sneaker. It's supposed to fasten the boat's global positioning satellite device to the instrument panel. What was it doing on her sneaker?

The GPS device, according to investigators, appeared to have been turned on at about 1:22 a.m. Aug. 12, the day the boat was found. At that time, it put the boat about 10 miles out in Lake Huron off Nine Mile Point -- about 12 miles away from where it was found about eight hours later.

I find the part about the GPS very suspicious. It was said in articles and on Dateline Friday that the GPS was deliberately ERASED, and then turned back on at 1:22 a.m. That is suspicious in itself.

I'm still thinking of how/why the knob would be embedded in Lana's shoe. Her family is quoted as saying it would be difficult to get the knob into the shoe without using a hammer, indicating that she had used her foot somehow against the dash where the knob was at.

Why did her body have Carbon Monoxide in it? There is no answer for that, either.

_________________________________________________

The above is only MY opinion and I AM entitled to have one.

LinasK
01-16-2006, 09:59 PM
Only4 Justice, I have a couple of questions: 1) How far was Rodgers City from Mackinaw Island? The article says she called her parents at 1:45p.m. and said they'd arrive in a couple of hours I believe. 2) Could it have been a murder-suicide, where Chuck decided if Lana couldn't marry him, then noone could have her and jumped in after he pushed Lana overboard?

Middle of the afternoon seems an unlikely time for a 3rd-party attack, but I am curious about the discrepancy in the color of the bumpers. Perhaps Chuck arranged for a 3rd party to attack her.

GreenEyedGirl
01-16-2006, 10:16 PM
I could be way off the mark here, but if his parents were in Lake Huron, perhaps they are the "third party". Maybe Chuck killed Lana and somehow contacted his parents and they met him there and helped him escape??? I don't know. I'm just throwing some theories out there. I find it odd that they decided they didn't need the aid of the lawyer, and now they're not saying much. Just my opinion. And, like I said, I could be way out in left field. But, it looks like foul play to me. And, I think Chuck is involved somehow.

Only4Justice
01-16-2006, 10:18 PM
Only4 Justice, I have a couple of questions: 1) How far was Rodgers City from Mackinaw Island? The article says she called her parents at 1:45p.m. and said they'd arrive in a couple of hours I believe. 2) Could it have been a murder-suicide, where Chuck decided if Lana couldn't marry him, then noone could have her and jumped in after he pushed Lana overboard?

Middle of the afternoon seems an unlikely time for a 3rd-party attack, but I am curious about the discrepancy in the color of the bumpers. Perhaps Chuck arranged for a 3rd party to attack her.

LinasK, Rogers City is 2 hours away from Mackinac Island. So, Lana calling and saying they would be there is a couple of hours sounds right.

Your theory of a murder-suicide is a good one, and I believe it may be a possibility. I am absolutely convinced Lana did not go into that lake willingly.

Since I have been on Lake Huron many, many times, I can tell you that even if someone did dock their boat to Lana's boat, it would probably not been seen. The lake is very big and there are not many boats out there. Another possibliity I have thought of is that they met some people while docked for the night before, who may have followed them and did them harm. But, then why was Lana naked, but not sexually assaulted (as far as we know.)

I have known Lana for many years. This has caused her family a great deal of pain, as expected. I hope answers are found.

Thanks for replying!

__________________________________________________ ___

The above is MY opinion and I AM entitled to have one!

wondering22
05-13-2006, 08:41 PM
Bumping UP - featured on Dateline tonight.

wondering22
05-13-2006, 08:42 PM
Bumping UP - featured on Dateline tonight.


After January's feature, two sisters came forward, they saw the vacant boat near shore, with another boat speeding away from it. Quite interesting.

dulcinea
05-13-2006, 10:07 PM
After January's feature, two sisters came forward, they saw the vacant boat near shore, with another boat speeding away from it. Quite interesting.
I wonder if it was actually speeding away from the boat or it was near it and really has nothing to do with Lana's boat. Would Chuck have been able to arrange for someone to pick him up being so far away from home? If someone picked him up, I imagine it would be a stranger. Assuming they know of what happened, I believe they would have come forward by now.

wondering22
05-13-2006, 11:02 PM
They definitely said the boat was empty, near the shore, and there was another boat speeding away from it .... the impression I got, but that THEY DID NOT EVER SAY... was more like, something potentially really premeditated, with accomplices.

That was my IMPRESSION, and I could be totally mistaken; however, after listening to part of the interview with the black gentleman who described seeing him beating her up on the street, and how bizarre & violent his behavior was... well, his words were very credible to me, but I didn't catch the entire interview.

Maybe there will be a transcript? Or a TV rerun, sometime?

dulcinea
05-14-2006, 12:50 PM
I didn't see this interview with the man. It sounds like you're saying this man implied that Chuck violently beat Lana when they were ashore somewhere. Was there evidence on her body to suggest this when she was pulled from the water? If indeed something like this happened, surely there would be trauma to her. Why didn't this man call police if he saw something violent happen? Like I said, I didn't see this interview, so maybe I am missing something.

wondering22
05-14-2006, 04:02 PM
I didn't see this interview with the man. It sounds like you're saying this man implied that Chuck violently beat Lana when they were ashore somewhere. Was there evidence on her body to suggest this when she was pulled from the water? If indeed something like this happened, surely there would be trauma to her. Why didn't this man call police if he saw something violent happen? Like I said, I didn't see this interview, so maybe I am missing something.

Sorry, the time he saw the beating was on the street, and he said he was amazed by the hostile violence. It had nothing to do with the boat; I don't know how much earlier, how many weeks/months, whatever, that he saw them fighting and saw her beaten.

Also, another thing stated on that program is that she'd told....... two other people, CANT REMEMBER WHO, that if any ever "happened" to her, that he'd be an immediate POI... evidentally quite a few people, but I don't know on how many occasions, had witnessed his behavior when he was ANGRY with her; one time it was in a dinner club, and two policemen escorted him out.

I really knew nothing about this case before this show, and I was busy with some other things, and didn't have the opportunity to pay it the attention that your questioning requires.

Hopefully someone familiar with the case and watched Dateline will address your questions.

LvsAMystry
05-14-2006, 07:22 PM
I saw the show.

The man who came forward that saw him beating her was a witness several months prior who saw them outside a bar in Detroit at night and he was in his vehicle driving the same way also as they left. He saw Chuck beating her and she somehow got away, by car I assume, and Chuck was chasing her in his car. The man indicated he'd never seen someone so enraged -- Chuck even hit another car while giving chase, but kept going even with his airbag unleashed with him having to keep knock it out of the way. I'd say I'd remember a sight like that as well.

As far as her telling people that something may happen to her. Her two friends said they'd been watching television when something regarding the whole Laci Peterson case came on. It was then that she confided that she was afraid of Chuck and if anything happened to her, he'd be responsible.

I think he did her in and somehow managed to get someone to pick him up off the boat. There was evidence another boat had been tied to it. I believe he's alive and hiding.

wondering22
05-14-2006, 09:26 PM
I saw the show.

The man who came forward that saw him beating her was a witness several months prior who saw them outside a bar in Detroit at night and he was in his vehicle driving the same way also as they left. He saw Chuck beating her and she somehow got away, by car I assume, and Chuck was chasing her in his car. The man indicated he'd never seen someone so enraged -- Chuck even hit another car while giving chase, but kept going even with his airbag unleashed with him having to keep knock it out of the way. I'd say I'd remember a sight like that as well.

As far as her telling people that something may happen to her. Her two friends said they'd been watching television when something regarding the whole Laci Peterson case came on. It was then that she confided that she was afraid of Chuck and if anything happened to her, he'd be responsible.

I think he did her in and somehow managed to get someone to pick him up off the boat. There was evidence another boat had been tied to it. I believe he's alive and hiding.

Thank you SO much, I was unable to pay attention during that segment, and was previously unfamiliar with the case. I hope there's a transcript somewhere, sometime. The new details about her case turned out to be very interesting, with the new witnesses. From the little I know, I'd have to agree with your assessment that he's currently in hiding.

dulcinea
05-14-2006, 11:36 PM
Does anyone know if this car chase incident was reported to the police by anyone? Had I been a witness to this I would have been terrified. I can't understand why she would go on a trip alone with him if she really thought he might harm her.

LinasK
05-15-2006, 12:08 AM
I saw the show.

The man who came forward that saw him beating her was a witness several months prior who saw them outside a bar in Detroit at night and he was in his vehicle driving the same way also as they left. He saw Chuck beating her and she somehow got away, by car I assume, and Chuck was chasing her in his car. The man indicated he'd never seen someone so enraged -- Chuck even hit another car while giving chase, but kept going even with his airbag unleashed with him having to keep knock it out of the way. I'd say I'd remember a sight like that as well.

As far as her telling people that something may happen to her. Her two friends said they'd been watching television when something regarding the whole Laci Peterson case came on. It was then that she confided that she was afraid of Chuck and if anything happened to her, he'd be responsible.

I think he did her in and somehow managed to get someone to pick him up off the boat. There was evidence another boat had been tied to it. I believe he's alive and hiding.
I saw the Dateline show months ago, and I also got the gut impression Chuck is responsible and in hiding to play the victim. This girl was an expert boater, this was no accident, IMO ...

Tristan
05-15-2006, 04:35 AM
On the recent "Dateline" show, they stated as fact that the boat's GPS had been tampered with, so that no one would ever know where the boat had been that day.

The fact that Lana was found nude is very telling.
According to reports, it was much too cold for a skinny dip, and
the Swim Ladder was NOT down. Very, very troubling.

If her boyfriend had something to do with this, where could he be hiding
without having to use his bank accounts, credit cards, etc??

I seriously doubt this was an accident.

wondering22
05-15-2006, 09:30 AM
Does anyone know if this car chase incident was reported to the police by anyone? Had I been a witness to this I would have been terrified. I can't understand why she would go on a trip alone with him if she really thought he might harm her.

He went to the police, after he saw their photographs on the local television news, as he recognized them immediately.

Another thing her family mentioned, in regards to her nudity, is that whenever she went swimming, she always removed all of her jewelry and particularly an expensive watch she owned - but her jewelry & watch were still on when they found her body.

Tristan
05-17-2006, 03:39 AM
Yes, I saw that, too.

I'm so surprised that there is no more interest in this case....from the media
or from people here at Websleuths.

michelle
10-11-2006, 10:43 PM
This is a very interesting case. It boggles my mind. I remember when this first happened. I wonder what really happened??? http://www.stempienrutherford.com/contact.html

OneLostGrl
10-11-2006, 10:51 PM
Wow! I had never heard of this case before. It is indeed very interesting!
I wonder what happened?!?

michelle
10-11-2006, 10:53 PM
Wow! I had never heard of this case before. It is indeed very interesting!
I wonder what happened?!?I have no idea but I am watching it now on Dateline and it is so sad. Lana was beautiful, when they found her she was naked. Her boyfriend has never been found.

LinasK
10-11-2006, 10:54 PM
We had a thread going about this case, check the Cold Case Forum???

I think Chuck's disappearance is awfully fishy(no pun intended)...

michelle
10-11-2006, 10:56 PM
Heres a better link with more info.... http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15209681/

nanandjim
10-11-2006, 11:12 PM
I watched this Dateline segment before. I also find it quite strange that her husband's body was never found. There are several disturbing clues.

michelle
10-11-2006, 11:14 PM
I watched this Dateline segment before. I also find it quite strange that her husband's body was never found. There are several disturbing clues.It could be possible he is alive somewhere.

nanandjim
10-11-2006, 11:21 PM
It could be possible he is alive somewhere.
Yep. I also think that this is a possibility. I mainly think that this is a possibility because they were not robbed. It doesn't make sense that someone would just murder them. I guess that someone could have accosted them solely to rape her and then thrown them both overboard or that he got drunk, made her strip and pushed her overboard and then committed suicide.

Who went to the trouble of manipulating the GPS data? Was it Chuck or was it strangers? Who owned those blue floaties that were tied to the boat? How did the GPS knob get screwed into the bottom of her tennis shoe? Were her clothes found on board? If not, where were they? Why weren't they robbed? Was it just some psychopaths out to rape and murder two people?

michelle
10-11-2006, 11:22 PM
Yep. I also think that this is a possibility. I mainly think that this is a possibility because they were not robbed. It doesn't make sense that someone would just murder them. I guess that someone abducted them solely to rape her and throw them both overboard or that he got drunk, made her strip and pushed her overboard and then committed suicide.

Who went to the trouble of manipulating the GPS data? Was it Chuck or was it strangers? Who owned those blue floaties that were tied to the boat? How did the GPS knob get screwed into the bottom of her tennis shoe? Were her clothes found on board? If not, where were they? Why weren't they robbed? Was it just some psychopaths out to rape and murder two people?That too me is a HUGE clue, it took some force for that to get in her shoe like that.

nanandjim
10-11-2006, 11:35 PM
That too me is a HUGE clue, it took some force for that to get in her shoe like that.
Wouldn't it seem like someone had to screw it into the shoe, using force?? Also, I just read on her website that the blue floaties that were seen trailing from the boat by the guy who called the boat in were missing when the coast guard reached the boat. Where did they go? Could someone have been on the boat and then left before the boat was found??

lilsister
10-11-2006, 11:40 PM
from the charley project.....


Charles Rutherford Jr.

http://www.charleyproject.org/images/r/rutherford_charles.jpg http://www.charleyproject.org/images/r/rutherford_charles2.jpg http://www.charleyproject.org/images/r/rutherford_charles3.jpg http://www.charleyproject.org/images/r/rutherford_charles4.jpg
Above Images: Rutherford, circa 2005

http://www.charleyproject.org/banners/bar.jpg

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: August 11, 2005 from Presque Isle, Michigan
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: March 17, 1971
Age: 34 years old
Height and Weight: 6'2, 205 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Brown hair, hazel eyes. Rutherford's nickname is Chuck.


http://www.charleyproject.org/banners/bar.jpg

Details of Disappearance

Rutherford was last seen at approximately 12:30 p.m. at the Presque Isle Marina in Presque Isle, Michigan. He and his live-in girlfriend, Lana Ann Stempien, were planning to travel across Lake Huron to Mackinac Island in 27-foot Wellcraft Cabin Cruiser named Sea's Life. A photograph of Stempien and their boat is posted below this case summary. At 2:07 p.m., Stempien called a relative on her cellular phone and said she and Rutherford were a few hours from Mackinac Island. That was the last contact with her. The next morning, when the couple had not arrived on the island, they were reported missing.

That same day, Sea's Life was found idling in neutral, ten miles from Mackinac Island. The radio was playing, the running lights were off and the swim ladder was up, and there was a 20-foot line floating off the back of the boat. The boat was empty and there were no signs of Rutherford or Stempien anywhere. The couple's cellular phones and life preservers were still on board. One of the knobs from the instrument panel had come off and was found embedded in the sole of Stempien's shoe.

Two weeks after Rutherford and Stempien disappeared, Stempien's body washed ashore near Hammond Bay, several miles from where her boat was found. She was naked except for a thin gold necklace, a ring and her Omega watch, which her loved ones say she never wore in the water, as it was expensive and not waterproof. There was an elevated level of carbon monoxide in Stempien's blood and investigators theorized she became overcome with fumes from the boat motor while swimming. The cause of death was ruled as drowning. The couple's loved ones stated both Rutherford and Stempien were strong swimmers and trained in boat and water safety, and were not risk-takers. Coast Guard officials stated the water conditions on the day they went missing were fine were boating but may have been too rough for swimming. The water temperature that day was approximately 68 degrees.

Some of Stempien loved ones suspect foul play was involved in her death. There were reports that Rutherford and Stempien were having relationship problems prior to her death, but other witnesses characterized the couple's relationship as strong and loving. Authorities stated there was no evidence of a struggle on the boat or any trauma to Stempien's body, and it is likely that she and Rutherford drowned accidentally. Rutherford is still missing and his disappearance remains under investigation.

http://www.charleyproject.org/images/r/rutherford_girlfriend.jpg http://www.charleyproject.org/images/r/rutherford_boat.jpg
Left: Lana Stempien
Right: The Sea's Life

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Investigating Agency
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Michigan State Police
906-643-7582

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Source Information
The National Center for Missing Adults (http://www.theyaremissed.org/ncma/)
The Detroit News (http://www.detnews.com/)
WXYZ Action News (http://www.wxyz.com/)
Click On Detroit (http://www.clickondetroit.com/)
The Traverse City Record-Eagle (http://www.record-eagle.com/)
The Detroit Free Press (http://www.freep.com/)

http://www.charleyproject.org/banners/bar.jpg

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004.

Last updated February 22, 2006; details of disappearance updated. Charley Project Home (http://www.charleyproject.org/index.html)

kato
10-12-2006, 09:58 AM
Greta had an hour long "Crime Scene" special about this case maybe about a month ago.

Tristan
10-14-2006, 02:59 AM
I find this case baffling.

Does anyone know the answers to the following questions?
(I haven't seen them addressed anywhere.)

1. Was Lana raped?
I'm guessing the body was too decomposed to tell.

2. Were Lana's clothes found on the boat?
If not, where were they?

3. Just how hard (or easy) is it to "disappear" and never be found.....
creating a new identity and a new life.

It just seem that that would be incredibly difficult to pull off.

I'd love to hear some theories from anyone following this case.

mysteriew
10-14-2006, 08:02 AM
I find this case baffling.

Does anyone know the answers to the following questions?
(I haven't seen them addressed anywhere.)

3. Just how hard (or easy) is it to "disappear" and never be found.....
creating a new identity and a new life.

It just seem that that would be incredibly difficult to pull off.

I'd love to hear some theories from anyone following this case.

They still haven't found Olivia Newton-John's boyfriend and he disappeared from a boat. There are theories that his disappearance was staged.

It isn't him, but does anyone else see a resemblance to John "Woody" Woodring?
http://www.crimelibrary.com/news/original/0906/2902_woodring4.html

lookieloo
04-08-2007, 02:39 PM
Hi - I saw this broadcast a year or so ago, and then it was broadcast again last night on Dateline. What a baffling case. It seems to me that there must have been a third boat what with the different color fenders. But him having been known to have had a bad temper, that doesn't sit right with me. And I know everyone "grieves differently", but for his parents and family never to have said a word about their son or the girl he wanted to marry, that to me seems odd, like possibly they do have something to hide. If that is the case,they know it is better to keep your mouths shut just in case something slips out. Is Dateline the only source of newd for this, or are there articles in newpapers or online that can be linked to this case? Only4 Justice, thanks for sharing your information.

UM&AMWfan
04-16-2007, 07:05 AM
This case is one of the most baffling ever so I'm very suprised it isn't getting a lot more interest on these boards when so many other cases are.

UM&AMWfan
04-16-2007, 07:11 AM
Wow, I'm also very suprised this case isn't getting a lot more interest on these boards when so many other cases are especially considering
this case is one of the most baffling ever.

It's amazing there hasn't been a post here in almost a YEAR for a case that's more mysterious and intriguing than most of the cases on here that get more attention!

nanandjim
04-16-2007, 11:12 AM
Hi All ~

I actually knew Lana. She was a best friend of one of my cousins, and was at many of my family gatherings throughout the years. I hate to say this, but I never liked her very well, she was sort of uppity, and I never thought she was "all that". My brother told me after her death that he had "hooked up" with her a couple of times.....

Anyway, my cousin is the 'friend' who was with this couple when he threatened her, the argument the bartender overhead. They have all been deposed by her family's attorney at this point.

I think Chuck had quite the temper, and my cousin told me that he planned to ask Lana to marry him when they got to Mackinaw. Maybe he proposed to her while they were on the boat, I believe she would have said No, and possibly he threw her overboard and disappeared.

A couple of things I know from having an inside track.....1) Chuck's parents were staying on Lake Huron near where the boat was found when this happened, and 2) I am very familiar with Lake Huron, and MOST people do not swim in this lake, it is cold all year round. The only times we have swimmed in it is if the weather happened to get to 100 degrees or so.

Any other thoughts from anyone?

________________________________________________

The above is only MY opinion and I am entitled to have one.
I just saw your post! Wow. This is interesting, especially that Chuck's parents were staying where the boat was found. I'm leaning towards he may have been involved. Have you heard anything else? They have shown this story more than once. So, they are lucky to have gotten the airtime. However, if it is a coverup within Chuck's family, I'm not sure that you'll get anyone to step forward with new information.

UM&AMWfan
04-16-2007, 12:23 PM
Only4Justice, you have some very interesting inside info that the rest of us don't.

I also think that it's possible Chuck and his family could be involved especially after the details you mentioned in your posts. But I see a definite problem here because Chuck was a district attorney in Detroit or somewhere in Michigan and he was from there and lived there his entire life so if he killed Lana and then his family helped him hide then he KNOWS he'll NEVER be able to show his face in his own hometown ever again!!

Would someone kill somebody if they knew they could never show their face in their home state ever again and he would even have to be wary of living ANYWHERE in the country since Chuck's face is all over the country!!

So, it's hard to believe Chuck would have done away with Lana KNOWING that he couldn't even show his face in a lot of places in America unless he did something drastic and had massive plastic surgery but I don't think even that can alter the basic recognizable features of your face.

Also, WHY did Lana go ALL ALONE with Chuck on a boat in a lonely lake if she wasn't happy being with him and knew she didn't want to marry him???

curves
04-16-2007, 03:10 PM
Very odd. Did they ever use sonar to search under water, like they did with Laci?

Myserty64
04-16-2007, 06:24 PM
I agree curves; very odd.

When reading about the case there is a lot of 'she wouldn't have done this' and 'he wouldn't have done that' from family and friends.
However, never ever underestimate the ability of intelligent people to do something very stupid.

He must have drank the vodka and if he heard her talking to another man,well, is that asking for trouble or what?

Did a violent argument break out as she was about to change into her nightwear?

My first thought was murder/suicide. Could he could have drowned himself having weights attached to............ perhaps his legs?
I think he is on the bottom of the lake.

JMO.

UM&AMWfan
04-17-2007, 04:53 AM
I think suicide is possible but unlikely. Chuck was a professional and came from one of the best attorney families in Michigan and I believe Chuck was a district attorney when he disappeared or he used to be.

Chuck and Lana were both attorneys with great jobs and they had schedules to keep and many plans and they lived rather lavish lifestyles and had a lot of the finer things in life.

Usually suicide victims are not wealthy attorneys with a lavish lifestyle and a lot to look forward to.

Myserty64
04-17-2007, 07:34 AM
Good points but jealousy is a very powerful emotion.

Maybe he lured her to the deck with some ruse as she was undressing for bed. He then unbalanced her and overboard she went. He then sailed off leaving her to succumb to hypothermia.

I think the trigger was the call she made to the other man. Possibly it was the 'if I can't have her then nobody can' syndrome that kicked in. Especially if he sensed it was over for them.

If he didn't do it who did?
Where is he now? Hiding out in some South American country or even Mexico?

As I wrote above never underestimate the ability of intelligent people to do very stupid things.
Criminal history is littered with crimes of passion.

I'm just thinking aloud and it could have been something entirely different.

Amraann
04-17-2007, 08:35 AM
I have always found this case interesting..

My first assumption is that they were possibly fooling around on the boat and with the rough seas one of them fell in and the other in an effort to save the first went in after them.
The blue bumper could simply be a mistake on the part of the other boater. Another thought is that it was not a bumpr at all but maybe Lana and/or chuck in the water.. The water, especially in rough weather can play tricks on the eyes and often the brain registers what it thinks it sees rather then what the object really is.
Witnesses make mistakes all the time.
The GPS like all computerized things could have had a glitch.
How many times has something weird happend on your computer?
Something saved gone missing etc??

It is alarming that Chuck apparently had a violent temper while drinking.
Crimes of passion happen all the time in all socioeconomic brackets.

UM&AMWfan
04-17-2007, 04:33 PM
Good points but jealousy is a very powerful emotion.

Maybe he lured her to the deck with some ruse as she was undressing for bed. He then unbalanced her and overboard she went. He then sailed off leaving her to succumb to hypothermia.

I think the trigger was the call she made to the other man. Possibly it was the 'if I can't have her then nobody can' syndrome that kicked in. Especially if he sensed it was over for them.

If he didn't do it who did?
Where is he now? Hiding out in some South American country or even Mexico?

As I wrote above never underestimate the ability of intelligent people to do very stupid things.
Criminal history is littered with crimes of passion.

I'm just thinking aloud and it could have been something entirely different.

But you are agreeing with me since your theory is not suicide. It's possible that Chuck left the country but is it worth it to kill someone knowing you can NEVER go home again without fear of being caught?

Chuck's face is all over Michigan so if Chuck shows up in Michican it's only a matter of time before someone recognizes him and he has a lot of explaining to do.

I like the idea a previous poster had that they should use the same technology the used for Natalee Holloway to drag the lake for the body of Chuck.

If they still can't find it then you've really got to wonder.........

mattsmom
04-17-2007, 09:13 PM
I just read through the thread kind of quickly. Did I miss it or is there no mention of an autopsy on Lana's body? Had she been in the water too long to determine cause of death?

drumstick
04-18-2007, 11:15 AM
Since her last cell phone transmission was on Thurday afternoon at approx. 2:00 PM and she had told her Aunt that she was two hours
away from her destination, I believe something happened to them
shortly after her last call.

I looked at the summer current charts for Lake Huron and the location of where her body washed ashore is consistant with that information.

The timeline would be that Thursday 2:00 to 4:30 PM.

It was never stated if her sweat clothes were the clothes found on the deck. That's an important clue about what actually happened.

In choppy water on a 27 ft. boat I would not expect her to be able to
hear on her cell phone and that could explain the boat being found
idling in neutral.
I also found it odd that she called her Aunt and then her male friend while experiencing rough water just to chit chat.
Were there hidden clues in her conversations?
Most people experienced with 5 ft. conditions would not compound the effects by placing the boat in neutral.
It can beat you up without trying.

The facts of the case rule out domestic dispute.
They dated for a year and then moved into a house and lived together for another year. All couples fight. Nothing remakable about their story.
They planned a romantic vacation all summer.

Her shoe is an important clue.
The gps going haywire is not.

The location of the boat being found is an important clue.
With mathematics and the current charts, the approx. location of where they were in the timeline can be discovered without gps marks.

I would be curious about a reenactment of kicking the gps and bracket with a similar shoe to see the result.

I've dismissed the blue bumpers. No evidence they ever existed.
Red herring.

What I think happened?

Without knowing what clothes they found on deck it's hard to say.

If her sweat clothes were not found on deck I think she removed them herself in the water to keep from being weighted down while holding onto the back of the boat until she was overcome by carbon monoxide.

If her sweat clothes were found onboard ... that changes everything.

IMO~

fran
04-18-2007, 11:40 AM
I saw this program months ago and if IRCC, his parents had him declared 'legally' dead within months of his disappearance. Sorry, that was a red flag to me. Did he have life insurance?

There's been many cases of well educated and well off people committing these types of crimes. Domestic violence has no boundaries.

IMHO, he's involved and possibly his family knows where he is. Canada?

With his education he could easily get a job and set up a new life elsewhere.

JMHO
fran

angelmom
04-18-2007, 12:45 PM
Since her last cell phone transmission was on Thurday afternoon at approx. 2:00 PM and she had told her Aunt that she was two hours
away from her destination, I believe something happened to them
shortly after her last call.

I looked at the summer current charts for Lake Huron and the location of where her body washed ashore is consistant with that information.

The timeline would be that Thursday 2:00 to 4:30 PM.

It was never stated if her sweat clothes were the clothes found on the deck. That's an important clue about what actually happened.

In choppy water on a 27 ft. boat I would not expect her to be able to
hear on her cell phone and that could explain the boat being found
idling in neutral.
I also found it odd that she called her Aunt and then her male friend while experiencing rough water just to chit chat.
Were there hidden clues in her conversations?
Most people experienced with 5 ft. conditions would not compound the effects by placing the boat in neutral.
It can beat you up without trying.

The facts of the case rule out domestic dispute.
They dated for a year and then moved into a house and lived together for another year. All couples fight. Nothing remakable about their story.
They planned a romantic vacation all summer.

Her shoe is an important clue.
The gps going haywire is not.

The location of the boat being found is an important clue.
With mathematics and the current charts, the approx. location of where they were in the timeline can be discovered without gps marks.

I would be curious about a reenactment of kicking the gps and bracket with a similar shoe to see the result.

I've dismissed the blue bumpers. No evidence they ever existed.
Red herring.

What I think happened?

Without knowing what clothes they found on deck it's hard to say.

If her sweat clothes were not found on deck I think she removed them herself in the water to keep from being weighted down while holding onto the back of the boat until she was overcome by carbon monoxide.

If her sweat clothes were found onboard ... that changes everything.

IMO~

ITA with your whole post. I had my own long one all ready to type and yours is better written. :p

I think this is one of those bizarre accidents that we will never totally understand, like the little boy who fell in the septic tank. It seems too crazy NOT to be foul play, but in reality it is probably just a horrible accident.

LaWanda
04-18-2007, 12:54 PM
There is another thread with links to pics and more articles and info on the autopsy: http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35044.

Kadie
04-18-2007, 06:35 PM
I saw this program months ago and if IRCC, his parents had him declared 'legally' dead within months of his disappearance. Sorry, that was a red flag to me. Did he have life insurance?

There's been many cases of well educated and well off people committing these types of crimes. Domestic violence has no boundaries.

IMHO, he's involved and possibly his family knows where he is. Canada?

With his education he could easily get a job and set up a new life elsewhere.

JMHO
fran

I was wondering if anything new had progressed on this case....so started reading this thread and looks like you all were wondering too! :)

Yes, Chuck's family had him declared legally dead. I believe this happened approximately a year after he disappeared. (please correct me if I am wrong). I think it was mentioned on MSNBC that this was odd as I think in Michigan you usually have to wait up to 7 years to declare someone legally dead if there is no body.

Was there life insurance? Anyone know?
I do find it interesting as well that Chuck's family was vacationing somewhat near where the boat was found.

~Kadie

KarlK
04-18-2007, 06:44 PM
I like the idea a previous poster had that they should use the same technology the used for Natalee Holloway to drag the lake for the body of Chuck.

If they still can't find it then you've really got to wonder.........

Drag lake Huron? While this may be useful to locate a sunken ship it would be useless for a human body, the area of the lake is over 20,000 square miles. It's an inland sea with strong currents. Searches for bodies on the Great Lakes are done the same way they are conducted at sea. If the body isn't floating may as well forget about it or hope it will eventually wash up on a shore somewhere.

angelmom
04-18-2007, 09:24 PM
I was wondering if anything new had progressed on this case....so started reading this thread and looks like you all were wondering too! :)

Yes, Chuck's family had him declared legally dead. I believe this happened approximately a year after he disappeared. (please correct me if I am wrong). I think it was mentioned on MSNBC that this was odd as I think in Michigan you usually have to wait up to 7 years to declare someone legally dead if there is no body.

Was there life insurance? Anyone know?
I do find it interesting as well that Chuck's family was vacationing somewhat near where the boat was found.

~Kadie

I think 7 years might be standard if a person just disappeared, but they have a very strong reason to believe he is dead and virtually no chance of recovering his body. I don't think this is cold at all. The paperwork to deal with the aftermath of someone being dead is unreal, and I would think having no death certificate would only complicate things to an extreme degree. They may have had to get one just so they could do things like cancel his cell phone and his lease and sell his car...otherwise, someone is responsible for all of those things.

What else can you do?

Kadie
04-18-2007, 10:15 PM
I think 7 years might be standard if a person just disappeared, but they have a very strong reason to believe he is dead and virtually no chance of recovering his body. I don't think this is cold at all. The paperwork to deal with the aftermath of someone being dead is unreal, and I would think having no death certificate would only complicate things to an extreme degree. They may have had to get one just so they could do things like cancel his cell phone and his lease and sell his car...otherwise, someone is responsible for all of those things.

What else can you do?

That makes a lot of sense! Thanks for posting.

~Kadie

UM&AMWfan
04-19-2007, 10:56 PM
Drag lake Huron? While this may be useful to locate a sunken ship it would be useless for a human body, the area of the lake is over 20,000 square miles. It's an inland sea with strong currents. Searches for bodies on the Great Lakes are done the same way they are conducted at sea. If the body isn't floating may as well forget about it or hope it will eventually wash up on a shore somewhere.

Well, there is that company Equisearch that brought in high tech equipment to drag the OCEAN around Aruba to look for Natalee Holloways BODY so they could use the same technology to search for Chuck's body and the lake is definitely smaller than the ocean.

Enrique Sparta
04-20-2007, 07:47 AM
There's no way she went into the water willingly.

She ALWAYS took her jewelry off, always. it was on when she was found.

And why naked? why? I think Only4Justice's comment about them having sex possibly and then he got mad for whatever reason and threw her over is a very good guess.

and who was tampering with the GPS system at 1:00 AM about 12 hours after Lana was last heard from in that phone call to her aunt?

very interesting that Chuck's parents were staying near where she was found.

It seems to me the father, a lawyer, knows lots of people in that area and has some pull.

I, took, think he killed her and is in hiding, possibly starting a new life or just doesn't want to be caught. She was absolutely victim of foul play. The detective, Robin Sexton, was pretty piss poor from what I saw on Dateline.

curves
04-20-2007, 08:54 AM
Myserty, I agree that clever people do stupid things when they are drunk - especially if they have been drinking and have a bad temper.

Fan - unfortunately suicide doesn't discrimate, no matter what your back ground is. If you have just killed someone in the heat of the moment that may seem like the only way out. Having said that I don't think he did commit suicide because I think his body would have been found by now.

Drumstick - good work with the tidal flows! That makes me more inclined to believe he didn't die because his body should have washed up near where Lana's was. Even if he weighted himself down it's unlikely we would have been able to do a great job of it on his own and at least a part of his body should have been found by now.

I think the GPS is very important because someone did erase it's memory. I also think it's unlikely that if it was really rough water Lana would decide to take all her clothes off and have sex! Then go outside naked and check something, that just seems illogical to me. Because we don't know where they were as the GPS was erased they could have made it to the island and something could have happened there. Chuck's parents being nearby seems too coincedental to me. Chuck could have called them and they could have helped, drive the boat back to where it was found and then helped him fake his death. I would be interested to know what colour their floaters (is that what they are called?) are, or if they replaced them soon after that holiday. On the one hand it strikes me as very odd that they had chuck declared dead so soon. When posters have said they never said anything in the media about Chuck or Lana do you mean absolutely anything? Or did they release a small statement saying what wonderful people they both were and that it was a tragedy etc? If they are an affluent, well known family it's not so stange they haven't said anything as sometimes they don't want the press. On the other hand if they have said zip, then that does make me wonder.
Some parents will go to any lengths to protect their children - look at Jackie and Lee Peterson! It's not beyond the realms of possibility that they could have helped Chuck by hiding him and helping him get out of the area.

Lana obviously did not plan to go into the water when she did as she wearing her jewellery. Perhaps Chuck knocked her unconcious and panicked, thought he had killed her and pushed her overboard, this may explain the carbon monoxide in her system.

The thing I can't get over is that her body washed ashore and his didn't. How likely is that really?

kato
04-20-2007, 09:31 AM
Hi - I saw this broadcast a year or so ago, and then it was broadcast again last night on Dateline. What a baffling case. It seems to me that there must have been a third boat what with the different color fenders. But him having been known to have had a bad temper, that doesn't sit right with me. And I know everyone "grieves differently", but for his parents and family never to have said a word about their son or the girl he wanted to marry, that to me seems odd, like possibly they do have something to hide. If that is the case,they know it is better to keep your mouths shut just in case something slips out. Is Dateline the only source of newd for this, or are there articles in newpapers or online that can be linked to this case? Only4 Justice, thanks for sharing your information.

Don't know where you would find it but Greta had a 1 hr. special about this case on her Crime Scenes program.

angelmom
04-20-2007, 02:01 PM
There's no way she went into the water willingly.

She ALWAYS took her jewelry off, always. it was on when she was found.

And why naked? why? I think Only4Justice's comment about them having sex possibly and then he got mad for whatever reason and threw her over is a very good guess.

and who was tampering with the GPS system at 1:00 AM about 12 hours after Lana was last heard from in that phone call to her aunt?

very interesting that Chuck's parents were staying near where she was found.

It seems to me the father, a lawyer, knows lots of people in that area and has some pull.

I, took, think he killed her and is in hiding, possibly starting a new life or just doesn't want to be caught. She was absolutely victim of foul play. The detective, Robin Sexton, was pretty piss poor from what I saw on Dateline.


How about if there was some freak accident that knocked him overboard?

If he went over accidentally and she jumped into to try to rescue him, and if the boat was running and got away from them, or the current took them away, and she was trying to get back on the boat and tread water to stay alive.

She might have inhaled a lot of carbon monoxide trying to get back on the boat.

She might have managed to keep her head above water and even swim a long way after he went under, which would explain their bodies being in different places. It is not unusual for a body to never be found in this lake.

She might have taken her clothing off ( like the people who fell of the cruise ship) knowing that it would only weigh her down, but she might have been reluctant to take off her jewelry. She obviously wouldn't have taken time to remove her jewelry before attempting to save her boyfriend.

The stuff with the GPS could have happened before and be totally unrelated to the accident. Who knows? I actually think if this were a well planned murder, the killer would have left that as normal as possible. He could have just deleted the entries that were incriminating instead of wiping the whole log. It isn't like a black box that records everything the boat has done.

I agree with the previous poster and LE who don't think the blue bumpers ever existed.

A year is not too short a time to put your entire life on hold before declaring someone dead who has gone missing "at sea." What reason do they have to believe he is ever coming back? I think the whole 7 year thing is cruel and unusual to the survivors. Can you imagine if we made the 9/11 families wait 7 years unless they got DNA? It would be hateful. I doubt any one of them waited a year.

KarlK
04-20-2007, 11:48 PM
A year is not too short a time to put your entire life on hold before declaring someone dead who has gone missing "at sea." What reason do they have to believe he is ever coming back? I think the whole 7 year thing is cruel and unusual to the survivors.

I believe the 7-year delay only applies when the circumstances surrounding a disappearance are completely unknown therefore making it difficult for a court to determine the probability that the person may still be alive. In the present case presumption of death by drowning, either accidental or voluntary (suicide), was deemed strong enough to have the person declared legally deceased. I don't think one needs to be a powerful attorney who can "pull strings" in order to obtain such a ruling.

AlwaysShocked
04-21-2007, 01:05 AM
Here's some info from Wikipedia about the parents having Chuck declaared dead one year after the disappearance:

"Authorities have not found Rutherford's body despite repeatedly searching Lake Huron.[1] Investigators also found no activity on any of Rutherford's bank or email accounts after his disappearance.[1] They have ruled his death as an accidental drowning.[1] Less than a year after his disappearance, Rutherford's parents went to court in an attempt to have him declared dead in absentia. Normally, an individual has to be missing for five years to officially be considered dead in Michigan. In court proceedings attended by relatives of Stempien, who feel Rutherford is alive and may have murdered Stempien,[1] and Rutherford's parents, Rutherford's status was debated. The sole witness was a local police official who stated that their investigation determined Rutherford was dead. On August 3, 2006 the court declared Chuck Rutherford legally dead.[5]"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Lana_Stempien

drumstick
04-21-2007, 08:18 AM
AlwaysShocked, thank you for including this link.

I was surprised by reading several inconsistancies in the reports about
the facts of this case.

A few that stood out to me ...

Lana made the phones calls from land while gassing up, not underway.
The blue bumpers were found tied to the boat.
The gps was not erased.

Without the true facts and knowing what LE knows about this case,
it's impossible to reach any logical opinion.
There's too many inconsistancies in the reporting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Lana_Stempien (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Lana_Stempien)

They stopped at Presque Isle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presque_Isle) for gasoline and Stempien made a congenial 14-minute call to her Aunt Pat.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Lana_Stempien#_note-Hansen#_note-Hansen) The couple then departed, however, the seas were unusually rough. After another boater saw the couple's relatively small boat, he became concerned and called the Coast Guard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coast_Guard). The boat was found unoccupied with the engine still idling.

The boat was also found with blue fenders tied to the boat which the couple reportedly did not own (they reportedly owned white fenders) and which family members have stated indicates that another boat was tied to theirs.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Lana_Stempien#_note-Hansen#_note-Hansen) Additionally, nearly a day after the couple were last heard from, the GPS was turned on or may have recorded over itself.[4] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Lana_Stempien#_note-WZZM13#_note-WZZM13)


http://www.wzzm13.com/news/watercooler/watercooler_article.aspx?storyid=62438 (http://www.wzzm13.com/news/watercooler/watercooler_article.aspx?storyid=62438)


Investigators have said that there is no evidence of foul play.

The GPS device contained no data showing where the boat had been before 1:23 a.m. Aug. 12, 2005, and Andrew Jarvis, an attorney and spokesman for Stempien's family suggested earlier this year that data had been erased.

The crime lab report rules out that possibility, stating that the old data of where the boat had been were "wrapped over" with new data - which is exactly what the device is supposed to do as it records data.

UM&AMWfan
04-22-2007, 01:53 PM
Don't know where you would find it but Greta had a 1 hr. special about this case on her Crime Scenes program.

It's also been on Dateline NBC at least three times and on MSNBC but it hasn't really generated much interest on these boards or in the public which is strange because this is about as mysterious as a case can get and it does have the attractive white woman that is mandatory for any case to get lots of national attention like Natalee Holloway, Laci Petersen, Chandra Levy, etc.!!

LOL!

LisainWV
04-22-2007, 09:35 PM
What does Chuck's cell phone records look like? Anyone know?

Texana
04-22-2007, 10:44 PM
I saw this one of the times it aired on tv, it was enthralling.

I honestly didn't know what to think...except that I feel more suspicious about Chuck--

I just wouldn't be that amazed to learn that he's not dead.

angelmom
04-23-2007, 06:38 AM
It's also been on Dateline NBC at least three times and on MSNBC but it hasn't really generated much interest on these boards or in the public which is strange because this is about as mysterious as a case can get and it does have the attractive white woman that is mandatory for any case to get lots of national attention like Natalee Holloway, Laci Petersen, Chandra Levy, etc.!!

LOL!

I think part of the reason it isn't getting as much attention is that there isn't all that much mystery. I mean, with Natalee, Laci, and Chandra, something obviously happened to them that was NOT an accident. And here, while you obviously have a family and a group of people who think that there was some foul play and that he is living incognito on some island somewhere, I think LE and the vast majority of people would say it was an accident and they are both dead. It's sad, but it isn't any great unsolved question of life.

There are things that happen like this every day. The few people I have known in life who have died tragically in an accident have all left some unanswered questions. In each case, there are a few family members who can't let go of the idea that it wasn't a random accident, although it clearly was. I think that some people, in a complicated grief, need someone to blame, and can never accept that accidents happen in life and feel some need to hang onto this mission of finding "the real killer" because letting it rest feels like letting go of the person that they love.

SadieMae
04-23-2007, 07:54 AM
LinasK, Rogers City is 2 hours away from Mackinac Island. So, Lana calling and saying they would be there is a couple of hours sounds right.

Your theory of a murder-suicide is a good one, and I believe it may be a possibility. I am absolutely convinced Lana did not go into that lake willingly.

Since I have been on Lake Huron many, many times, I can tell you that even if someone did dock their boat to Lana's boat, it would probably not been seen. The lake is very big and there are not many boats out there. Another possibliity I have thought of is that they met some people while docked for the night before, who may have followed them and did them harm. But, then why was Lana naked, but not sexually assaulted (as far as we know.)

I have known Lana for many years. This has caused her family a great deal of pain, as expected. I hope answers are found.

Thanks for replying!

__________________________________________________ ___

The above is MY opinion and I AM entitled to have one!
Hi Only4Justice. I'm very familiar with boating in that area. Did it all the time growing up. Traveled from Saginaw River to Mackinac Island, stopping at Tawas, Rogers City, Cheboygan, etc. many times. It's been a long time, but is Presque Isle near Thunder Bay? Water was always rough going through. Your are so right about the water. It's to cold sometime near the end of summer, August to swim in. In fact it's always cold! I'm trying to follow this, but I"m not clear about the bumpers. She had white, then someone blue were found on the boat? White fenders are very common, and I didn't ever see blue, unless things have changed. I'm old now...hehhehe Has anyone checked around at the marine supply stores there to see if any carried blue fenders locally? I'm seriously thinking the boater made a mistake about seeing blue bumpers if none were on the boat. Could have been a reflection off the water making them appear blue.

I agree, it doesn't make sense for only one body to wash up, not when they were in the water around the same time and close proximity to each other.

UM&AMWfan
06-12-2007, 04:38 PM
Haven't there been any updates in this case? It does seem strange that Lana disappeared in the area that Chuck's parents were.

This case is probably the most mysterious case in the U.S. in recent memory (last 3 years) so I'm suprised it hasn't gotten more posts on here.

It's at least as mysterious if not more mysterious than the Jennifer Kesse case yet that thread gets a lot more posts.

Enrique Sparta
06-14-2007, 06:07 AM
I think something that is very important, the night following the last time anybody heard from Lana and Chuck, somebody in the night evidently tampered with the GPS system? The law enforcement tried to say this was standard and it just reset itself? I was under the impression that somebody went on to that boat and purposely deleted the location of the boat for that day for certain hours. Was there any definite answer on that?

Enrique Sparta
06-14-2007, 06:13 AM
I think part of the reason it isn't getting as much attention is that there isn't all that much mystery. I mean, with Natalee, Laci, and Chandra, something obviously happened to them that was NOT an accident. And here, while you obviously have a family and a group of people who think that there was some foul play and that he is living incognito on some island somewhere, I think LE and the vast majority of people would say it was an accident and they are both dead. It's sad, but it isn't any great unsolved question of life.

There are things that happen like this every day. The few people I have known in life who have died tragically in an accident have all left some unanswered questions. In each case, there are a few family members who can't let go of the idea that it wasn't a random accident, although it clearly was. I think that some people, in a complicated grief, need someone to blame, and can never accept that accidents happen in life and feel some need to hang onto this mission of finding "the real killer" because letting it rest feels like letting go of the person that they love.


yes angelmom, very good post. You're absolutely correct in that most people don't consider this to be much of a mystery. probably an accident. Chuck's body not being found does not really mean anything, it's a huge body of water.

UM&AMWfan
06-14-2007, 03:23 PM
yes angelmom, very good post. You're absolutely correct in that most people don't consider this to be much of a mystery. probably an accident. Chuck's body not being found does not really mean anything, it's a huge body of water.

But so many things point to this NOT being an accident. Why was the boat's ladder UP if they had gone DOWN to the water to swim? The water was much too cold to go swimming much less skinny dipping yet Lana was found nude. Why didn't Lana take of her jewelry like she always did before she went swimming? Why was Lana found nude when she never went skinny dipping in that lake before?

What about those different colored boat bumpers that were spotted by a witness? Why was there Carbon Dioxide in Lana's system? WHY was the GPS erased if it was JUST an accident??

Too many things are out of the ordinary which indicate this was not an accident and someone else was involved.

angelmom
06-14-2007, 04:26 PM
But so many things point to this NOT being an accident. Why was the boat's ladder UP if they had gone DOWN to the water to swim? The water was much too cold to go swimming much less skinny dipping yet Lana was found nude. Why didn't Lana take of her jewelry like she always did before she went swimming? Why was Lana found nude when she never went skinny dipping in that lake before?

What about those different colored boat bumpers that were spotted by a witness? Why was there Carbon Dioxide in Lana's system? WHY was the GPS erased if it was JUST an accident??

Too many things are out of the ordinary which indicate this was not an accident and someone else was involved.

My post http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1451386&postcount=40 was pure speculation but answered all of these questions. There are probably lots of other possibilities I didn't even think of.

I think LE finally concluded that these answers (or something similar) was much more likely than the idea that this was the perfect murder and that the guy is living out the rest of his life incognito somewhere, and NO ONE has spilled the beans. He would have had to have some help of some kind somewhere along the way, and I just don't believe people keep secrets for that long.

Enrique Sparta
06-14-2007, 06:47 PM
But so many things point to this NOT being an accident. Why was the boat's ladder UP if they had gone DOWN to the water to swim? The water was much too cold to go swimming much less skinny dipping yet Lana was found nude. Why didn't Lana take of her jewelry like she always did before she went swimming? Why was Lana found nude when she never went skinny dipping in that lake before?

What about those different colored boat bumpers that were spotted by a witness? Why was there Carbon Dioxide in Lana's system? WHY was the GPS erased if it was JUST an accident??

Too many things are out of the ordinary which indicate this was not an accident and someone else was involved.

Well it's possible they didn't go swimming but something happened where one went into the water (by force or by accident) and the other went in to save them in a panic. The ladder being up does not eliminate the possibility of accident. It does make the "let's go for a swim" extremely unlikely.

Also Lana had her jewelry on. That right there tells you she did not intend to go in the water. But again it doesn't eliminate accident.

the GPS thing is important. i'd like to hear from somebody who knows....would somebody have to deliberately delete the information? Or was there just certain sections of the trip that were deleted? How does it work? If it re-set itself, wouldn't all data be lost? What was found on the GPS when the cops searched? How often does the GPS just re-set itself?

what are we implying here regarding the GPS? that somebody came back to the boat in the middle of the night to delete the information? why would whoever did that not just do it as they were leaving the boat? why come back? doesn't make much sense.

Myserty64
07-12-2007, 02:20 AM
Since my earlier post I have re-read as much as there is available on this sad case and I have also read a lot of different people's opinions.

In MHO it was an an accident.

On of the two people, whether by the boat hitting a freak wave or simply falling overboard, found themselves in the lake.

The person still on the boat went to their assistance and by some means wound up in the water too.

With the swimming ladder in the up position it was impossible to get back on board and hypothermia or exhaustion or a combination of both resulted in drowning.

CyberLaw
07-12-2007, 09:24 AM
I guess I am a of a different opinion, I feel that another person was involved. Was it murder by BF or others, I can't say, but I do feel that this is not an accident.

Masterj
07-12-2007, 11:17 AM
I guess I am a of a different opinion, I feel that another person was involved. Was it murder by BF or others, I can't say, but I do feel that this is not an accident.

I don't feel it was an accident either.

Tristan
07-13-2007, 04:10 AM
This is one of the most mysterious cases I have ever heard of.
I absolutely do not believe this was an accident, especially since Lana
was an excellent boater and swimmer. She knew the waters of Lake Huron
inside and out.
There are just too many unanswered questions, such as:

Why were her boyfriend's parents in such a hurry to have him declared legally dead?

Why was Lana naked and wearing her jewelry?

Why was the GPS mysteriously erased?

I think the boyfriend killed her and had someone in another boat hitch up
to theirs (hence the different colored bumpers) and take him somewhere to
start a new life. He certainly had the money to do so.

The idea of someone on another boat randomly killing them just doesn't make any sense, especially since they didn't take Lana's expensive jewelry.
Also, as someone mentioned, there are not a lot of boats on that lake.

UM&AMWfan
07-14-2007, 06:36 AM
Since my earlier post I have re-read as much as there is available on this sad case and I have also read a lot of different people's opinions.

In MHO it was an an accident.

On of the two people, whether by the boat hitting a freak wave or simply falling overboard, found themselves in the lake.

The person still on the boat went to their assistance and by some means wound up in the water too.

With the swimming ladder in the up position it was impossible to get back on board and hypothermia or exhaustion or a combination of both resulted in drowning.

That doesn't make sense since even if one of the fell into the water it would only take a few seconds to drop the ladder down and go and get them especially since they knew that if they didn't drop the ladder down they couldn't get back in the boat.

The drunk scenario doesn't make sense since Lana was an expert navigator and obviously knows what it's like to be drunk since she was a regular drinker so she would have the foresight to know what to do even if she was inebriated.

I agree with the poster who said this is one of the most mysterious cases ever and I'm suprised it hasn't gotten hardly any attention at all except for the Dateline special which has ran several times.

They really need to find Chuck to get more answers.

Maybe So
07-14-2007, 10:05 AM
Actually I think it could have been an accident.

Perhaps both suffered from Carbon Monoxide poisoning from the boats engines?

It could explain the wierd parts of the scenario. Carbon Monoxide will cause lack of judgement and behavior much like intoxication. If you are already drinking alchohol then doubly so.

Lana's clothes could be missing because she took them off herself.

You are told to remove clothes and shoes if you are in the water as they will weigh you down. Many survival guides will tell you to try to take of clothing and fill your clothing with air to help you float. She may have done this. So, if she fell in then she may have removed her clothing in the water...or, if she decided to jump in for a swim (because of lack of judgement) or maybe she went in to save Chuck then she may have left her clothes on the boat to prevent them from weighing her down.

I would say that at some point she stood up on the controls and got that knob in her shoe. Perhaps trying to get up higher to see down into the water because the more intoxicated Chuck has fallen overboard first?

If he threw her into the water I would think she would be beaten and brused looking from fighting him off and fighting to get back on the boat.

Blue bumpers are probaby just a red herring.

His parents being in the area doesn't raise any flags for me. Perhaps that is why he chose that area...maybe family often spent time at this particular area.

Just my best guess from what I read. Could be something totally different happened.

s_finch
07-14-2007, 02:08 PM
This is one of the most mysterious cases I have ever heard of.
I absolutely do not believe this was an accident, especially since Lana
was an excellent boater and swimmer. She knew the waters of Lake Huron
inside and out.
There are just too many unanswered questions, such as:

Why were her boyfriend's parents in such a hurry to have him declared legally dead?

Why was Lana naked and wearing her jewelry?

Why was the GPS mysteriously erased?

I think the boyfriend killed her and had someone in another boat hitch up
to theirs (hence the different colored bumpers) and take him somewhere to
start a new life. He certainly had the money to do so.

The idea of someone on another boat randomly killing them just doesn't make any sense, especially since they didn't take Lana's expensive jewelry.
Also, as someone mentioned, there are not a lot of boats on that lake.

All those reasons plus the knob in the bottom of her shoe make me suspicious! Also, didn't I read the Chuck's parents refused to let Lana's parents into Chuck's apartment?

UM&AMWfan
07-14-2007, 03:39 PM
All those reasons plus the knob in the bottom of her shoe make me suspicious! Also, didn't I read the Chuck's parents refused to let Lana's parents into Chuck's apartment?

I never heard that before. Where did you read that?

Also, the Carbon Monoxide poisoning would have been most likely occur when they were ALREADY in the water as the showed on Dateline NBC. The CM exhaust is down below so it is very unlikely it would have affected them while they were up above. It seems once they fell in the water then they would've inhaled the CM,

So, it is not very realistic that they got CM poisoning when they were up above plus don't forget many family members had been on this boat for years and it had never given any problem. Even if there was CM poisining it's not like they were in an enclosed house since they would been outside where it would have more difficult for the CM to overcome them.

s_finch
07-14-2007, 04:16 PM
"Lana's torn shoe
He believes one of the most intriguing clues is Lana’s size 8 ˝ New Balance running shoe, found lying on her boat with a knob from the boat’s GPS bracket strangely wedged in the sole.

Cote: If you took a hammer and tried to pound that in, you would have difficulty doing that.
Swanson: That was very odd. The Coast Guard told us that the only way that the knob could have been embedded in her shoe was with force.
Hansen: Does that indicate to you that there was some sort of struggle on board this boat?
Swanson: That there was something.
Cote: Something out of the ordinary?
Swanson: Something out of the ordinary, something happened.
Cote also points to a suspiciously large tear in the back of the same shoe as one more hint of a violent struggle."


The above quoted section is from Dateline article locacted at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10807318/page/3/

Seems like there might be a picture of the shoe on the web somewhere, I'm not sure though.

Columbo
07-14-2007, 06:36 PM
This is one of the most mysterious cases I have ever heard of.
I absolutely do not believe this was an accident, especially since Lana
was an excellent boater and swimmer. She knew the waters of Lake Huron
inside and out.
There are just too many unanswered questions, such as:

Why were her boyfriend's parents in such a hurry to have him declared legally dead?

Why was Lana naked and wearing her jewelry?

Why was the GPS mysteriously erased?

I think the boyfriend killed her and had someone in another boat hitch up
to theirs (hence the different colored bumpers) and take him somewhere to
start a new life. He certainly had the money to do so.

The idea of someone on another boat randomly killing them just doesn't make any sense, especially since they didn't take Lana's expensive jewelry.
Also, as someone mentioned, there are not a lot of boats on that lake.

Tristan, I agree with you.

Amraann
07-14-2007, 07:20 PM
But so many things point to this NOT being an accident. Why was the boat's ladder UP if they had gone DOWN to the water to swim? The water was much too cold to go swimming much less skinny dipping yet Lana was found nude. Why didn't Lana take of her jewelry like she always did before she went swimming? Why was Lana found nude when she never went skinny dipping in that lake before?

What about those different colored boat bumpers that were spotted by a witness? Why was there Carbon Dioxide in Lana's system? WHY was the GPS erased if it was JUST an accident??

Too many things are out of the ordinary which indicate this was not an accident and someone else was involved.

If someone fell off the boat and the other jumped in to save them they would not have the ladder down.
The carbon monoxide could easily be from the boat exhaust if they were trying to get back onto the boat.
The GPS could have been erased by Lana on accident and the witness could have been mistaken.

UM&AMWfan
07-16-2007, 07:45 AM
If someone fell off the boat and the other jumped in to save them they would not have the ladder down.
The carbon monoxide could easily be from the boat exhaust if they were trying to get back onto the boat.
The GPS could have been erased by Lana on accident and the witness could have been mistaken.

They would have to have the ladder down otherwise they couldn't get back into the boat. Lowering the ladder takes 2 seconds so they would've lowered the ladder then jumped in the water and then climbed back up the ladder.

And it was the history of the GPS that was erased and they said you couldn't do that by just hitting 1 button by accident.

Truthful Lies
07-16-2007, 08:37 AM
Since my earlier post I have re-read as much as there is available on this sad case and I have also read a lot of different people's opinions.

In MHO it was an an accident.

On of the two people, whether by the boat hitting a freak wave or simply falling overboard, found themselves in the lake.

The person still on the boat went to their assistance and by some means wound up in the water too.

With the swimming ladder in the up position it was impossible to get back on board and hypothermia or exhaustion or a combination of both resulted in drowning.

I know it happens sometimes, but I just find it so hard to believe that someone as experienced as her went overboard..even in rough weather..even as an accident. This is only my opinion, but I've been in very, very rough seas and haven't come close. I have two theories: that they met someone on shore who later pulled up to the boat and some altercation ensued (maybe something as simple as a local psycho) OR Chuck had something waiting for her. Or..maybe he went overboard after drinking himself silly after finding out about her phone call. He could have possibly been suicidal before the trip and knew she was leaving..he drinks up the courage, jumps overboard dramatically, she jumps in after him. It's hard to rescue a drunk...especially without a rescue tube/apparatus. I was a lifeguard for years and those were the worst. They basically grab your head and push you under (as happens in most rescue assists)

Coriess
07-16-2007, 11:11 AM
I think suicide is possible but unlikely. Chuck was a professional and came from one of the best attorney families in Michigan and I believe Chuck was a district attorney when he disappeared or he used to be.

Chuck and Lana were both attorneys with great jobs and they had schedules to keep and many plans and they lived rather lavish lifestyles and had a lot of the finer things in life.

Usually suicide victims are not wealthy attorneys with a lavish lifestyle and a lot to look forward to.

Great jobs and money don't always take the place of happiness...if ever. Chris Benoit is one of those people that come to mind.
So very very sad.

BrianG
07-16-2007, 03:51 PM
As the second anniversary of Lana's loss approaches, it's heartening to see the level of interest that still remains in solving this tragic mystery.

For any of you who are seeking answers to the many specific questions I've seen raised here, you might wish to review this message board:

http://boards.courttv.com/showthread.php?threadid=236998

While rather lengthy, it contains a great deal of information, including links to many resources, and it is searchable.

May justice be done.

UM&AMWfan
07-16-2007, 04:36 PM
I know it happens sometimes, but I just find it so hard to believe that someone as experienced as her went overboard..even in rough weather..even as an accident. This is only my opinion, but I've been in very, very rough seas and haven't come close. I have two theories: that they met someone on shore who later pulled up to the boat and some altercation ensued (maybe something as simple as a local psycho) OR Chuck had something waiting for her. Or..maybe he went overboard after drinking himself silly after finding out about her phone call. He could have possibly been suicidal before the trip and knew she was leaving..he drinks up the courage, jumps overboard dramatically, she jumps in after him. It's hard to rescue a drunk...especially without a rescue tube/apparatus. I was a lifeguard for years and those were the worst. They basically grab your head and push you under (as happens in most rescue assists)

That's another thing. There was no rough weather. As a matter of fact the water was calm and smooth so that makes it even harder to believe that they just BOTH fell in without taking the most simple precautions especially since Lana was such an experienced navigator and good swimmer and Chuck must've had some experience too.

UM&AMWfan
07-16-2007, 04:39 PM
Great jobs and money don't always take the place of happiness...if ever. Chris Benoit is one of those people that come to mind.
So very very sad.

Chris Benoit is a horrible example since not only did he take steroids but he took several types of painkillers, uppers, downers, etc. There has been a lot of attention about that case on the evening news shows and wrestlers have been saying that all sorts of drugs at taken in pro wrestling to the point they call it the "wrestler's cocktail".

All those drugs most likely messed with Benoit's mind. Chuck and Lana didn't take any of those drugs in the amount Benoit did. Chuck and Lana drank but so do most boaters and they don't end up like this.

Truthful Lies
07-17-2007, 07:31 AM
Chris Benoit is a horrible example since not only did he take steroids but he took several types of painkillers, uppers, downers, etc. There has been a lot of attention about that case on the evening news shows and wrestlers have been saying that all sorts of drugs at taken in pro wrestling to the point they call it the "wrestler's cocktail".

All those drugs most likely messed with Benoit's mind. Chuck and Lana didn't take any of those drugs in the amount Benoit did. Chuck and Lana drank but so do most boaters and they don't end up like this.

Chuck seems to have a nervous personality. I wonder what medications he might have been taking...anxiety wise. Some drugs, like clonapin (sp?), can actually increase suicidal thoughts (why it isn't normally used if depression is present in any way-usually just for anxiety) - I know this from personal experience as well.

If he had gotten some drug like that from a friend, colleague, etc., he wouldn't have been screened for the depression and may not have realized the increase in suicidal thoughts was exacerbated by a medication. Just a theory.

Only4Justice
07-17-2007, 05:44 PM
I know it happens sometimes, but I just find it so hard to believe that someone as experienced as her went overboard..even in rough weather..even as an accident. This is only my opinion, but I've been in very, very rough seas and haven't come close. I have two theories: that they met someone on shore who later pulled up to the boat and some altercation ensued (maybe something as simple as a local psycho) OR Chuck had something waiting for her. Or..maybe he went overboard after drinking himself silly after finding out about her phone call. He could have possibly been suicidal before the trip and knew she was leaving..he drinks up the courage, jumps overboard dramatically, she jumps in after him. It's hard to rescue a drunk...especially without a rescue tube/apparatus. I was a lifeguard for years and those were the worst. They basically grab your head and push you under (as happens in most rescue assists)

I totally agree with your post. I believe Lana would have NEVER went into that water unprepared.

I started this thread when the accident occurred, as I have known Lana for many years. I never met Chuck.

I also have lived on this lake, and it is not a lake for swimming by any means. It is feasible that a body could never be found there. BUT, I don't recall any other drownings around that area where the body wasn't eventually recovered...

I KNOW Lana's family is desperate for answers. I believe they really feel something sinister happened.

Your post above about the strangers they may have met and who may have pulled up their boat...very plausible....as I know Lana was quite the "party girl" when I knew her (maybe she had changed ?)

If Chuck's body would wash up to shore, it would be found, and all of these unanswered questions would be answered. Personally, I don't believe that will happen....Whether that is because his body is still firmly lodged at the bottom of Lake Huron, or because he was involved in Lana's demise, I do not know.

I pray we know someday...for her family's sake (and Chuck's as well)....

Truthful Lies
07-18-2007, 06:51 AM
I totally agree with your post. I believe Lana would have NEVER went into that water unprepared.

I started this thread when the accident occurred, as I have known Lana for many years. I never met Chuck.

I also have lived on this lake, and it is not a lake for swimming by any means. It is feasible that a body could never be found there. BUT, I don't recall any other drownings around that area where the body wasn't eventually recovered...

I KNOW Lana's family is desperate for answers. I believe they really feel something sinister happened.

Your post above about the strangers they may have met and who may have pulled up their boat...very plausible....as I know Lana was quite the "party girl" when I knew her (maybe she had changed ?)

If Chuck's body would wash up to shore, it would be found, and all of these unanswered questions would be answered. Personally, I don't believe that will happen....Whether that is because his body is still firmly lodged at the bottom of Lake Huron, or because he was involved in Lana's demise, I do not know.

I pray we know someday...for her family's sake (and Chuck's as well)....

I thought about this only because when we cruise the abacos or exumas, and stop for dinner, we always meet other boaters...We've spent countless nights at marinas hanging out with other boaters when we've docked for the night. When they stopped in Oscoda and had dinner with the Bannons...perfect example. Have THEY been throughly investigated? Did the snub other boaters to go to dinner with the Bannons? Did anyone else at the marina have any observations about Lana and Chuck? I know this sounds bad, but my suspicions lie with the Bannons. They had an evening of cocktails? This is out there..but could they have been approached to swing and rejected the other couple? Could that have been a motive? Certainly. Lana and Chuck leave early in the morning to avoid seeing them? Just an idea.

fran
07-18-2007, 11:52 AM
I've watched this case off and on since it happened. Personally, I don't think this was an accident. The circumstances are eery, IMHO. It doesn't add up to me.

FWIW, I'm not a scientific person at all, but I was looking around yesterday about carbon monoxide poisoning. That is one of the things that has me bothered about this case. How could Lana have had carbon monoxide in her system. I ran across this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methylene_chloride

Dichloromethane's volatility and ability to dissolve a wide range of organic compounds makes it an ideal solvent for many chemical processes. It is widely used as a paint stripper and a degreaser.

and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dichloromethane

TOXICITY

Dichloromethane is the least toxic of the simple chlorohydrocarbons, but it is not without its health risks as its high volatility makes it an acute inhalation hazard. Dichloromethane is also metabolised by the body to carbon monoxide potentially leading to carbon monoxide poisoning.[


I'm wondering if the family knows if there were any cans of items onboard that would be used for paint stripping or degreasing or whatever. She only had a very small amount of alcohol in her system. Could she have been poisoned with something in her drink?

Just something I thought they might want to look into. It could be nothing, but just a thought.

JMHO
fran

Truthful Lies
07-18-2007, 12:15 PM
Fran, Very, very good ideas...that's interesting and the best COD theory I've seen

UM&AMWfan
07-20-2007, 07:12 PM
I thought about this only because when we cruise the abacos or exumas, and stop for dinner, we always meet other boaters...We've spent countless nights at marinas hanging out with other boaters when we've docked for the night. When they stopped in Oscoda and had dinner with the Bannons...perfect example. Have THEY been throughly investigated? Did the snub other boaters to go to dinner with the Bannons? Did anyone else at the marina have any observations about Lana and Chuck? I know this sounds bad, but my suspicions lie with the Bannons. They had an evening of cocktails? This is out there..but could they have been approached to swing and rejected the other couple? Could that have been a motive? Certainly. Lana and Chuck leave early in the morning to avoid seeing them? Just an idea.

Who are the Bannons??

Truthful Lies
07-21-2007, 07:30 AM
Who are the Bannons??

The couple that Lana and Chuck had dinner with that night:

"Richard Bannon, who’s boat was in the slip right next to Lana’s, offered to drive the couple to the nearby Au Sable Inn, where he and his wife joined them for dinner and drinks."

fran
07-21-2007, 10:04 AM
Fran, Very, very good ideas...that's interesting and the best COD theory I've seen

Thank you Truthful Lies.

I personally don't think this was an accident. Of course I could be completely off base, but what I know about the case doesn't add up. When something doesn't make sense to me, I have to look for what doesn't fit.

The carbon monoxide poisoning doesn't add up.
The GPS monitor information doesn't add up.
Her body washing ashore but his not, doesn't add up, IMO.
His family rushing to have him declared deceased seems out of place.

I feel badly for both families and their loss, but,..................are both families REALLY suffering a loss?

I don't blame Lana's family one bit for seeking more answers. I would too if I were in their place.

JMHO
fran

Truthful Lies
07-21-2007, 10:11 AM
What I'm wondering is...has LE kept track of Chuck's family's finances? Who benefited from his life insurance policy? Is that money still there or was it transferred to a "swiss bank account"? If Chuck is still alive, I'd bet his family would have had to give him money....

fran
07-21-2007, 10:44 AM
What I'm wondering is...has LE kept track of Chuck's family's finances? Who benefited from his life insurance policy? Is that money still there or was it transferred to a "swiss bank account"? If Chuck is still alive, I'd bet his family would have had to give him money....

EXACTLY!:eek:

fran

PS...I almost feel badly for being so skeptical and I'm not trying to hurt the bf's family, but I have learned the hard way, you can't take everyone at face value. I used to trust EVERYONE. It would be a shame for Lana's family and for justice, if in say 20 years someone found out he was living over in Europe somewhere, married with a family and not a care in the world.....fran

Truthful Lies
07-21-2007, 10:57 AM
EXACTLY!:eek:

fran

PS...I almost feel badly for being so skeptical and I'm not trying to hurt the bf's family, but I have learned the hard way, you can't take everyone at face value. I used to trust EVERYONE. It would be a shame for Lana's family and for justice, if in say 20 years someone found out he was living over in Europe somewhere, married with a family and not a care in the world.....fran

Honestly, I am more concerned for Lana's family. Chuck's body was never recovered....in my eyes...he's not "dead". I think it's a shame when LE isn't skeptical enough! This guy coudl be anywhere and a quick check of financial records isn't disrespectful...had it been Chuck that was recovered, I would ask the same about Lana. I think it's important..wish we all had the ability to investigate for ourselves! Glad to have you to bounce this off of, Fran.

fran
07-21-2007, 01:58 PM
Honestly, I am more concerned for Lana's family. Chuck's body was never recovered....in my eyes...he's not "dead". I think it's a shame when LE isn't skeptical enough! This guy coudl be anywhere and a quick check of financial records isn't disrespectful...had it been Chuck that was recovered, I would ask the same about Lana. I think it's important..wish we all had the ability to investigate for ourselves! Glad to have you to bounce this off of, Fran.

IMHO, what makes this suspect is that we already know that they had a volatile relationship. She had just been speaking to the one person we know Chuck wasn't happy about.

Let's just add these to the list of things that point to this NOT being an accident and there's more behind the scenes.

I'm with you, I wish I could investigate it myself too. Actually, I know someone who works in a crime lab, but it's not this type of stuff. Course, they don't talk about their work to me anyway, as they shouldn't and I don't ask, because it's none of my business! :)(darn, LOL)

JMHO
fran

Kgram
07-22-2007, 07:07 AM
I grew up on lake huron and agree they would no way have gone swimming. The knob in the shoe points to a struggle, or maybe he threw her in and he jammed the shoe on it himself to make it look like a struggle. I think his parents are acting strange. Why have him declared dead so soon? I thought about the possibility of him starting a new life someplace else. Our boat broke down once and we were closer to Canada than the US. We ended up in Canada and my Dad called one of his friends to bring our boat trailer to us and drive us home. He could have had someone take him to Canada in a boat and drop him off. No worrying about being seen crossing the bridge. And did he have any close friends or relatives who would have helped him? Thats a pretty big risk for someone to take. Did you have to show a passport to get across the bridge back then. I heard they were going to make people have one to get into Canada from the US. I know it seems far fetched but if he was going to go on the run that would have been a easy way to go and hide out until things cooled down in the US. I don't think he planned this if he did it. I think he snapped after she talked to the guy she called. He knew he was going to lose her. If someone helped him get a car, fake id and a place to stay it would work. As long as he got a good 10 hours away from Lake Huron this story would have been in the papers a few times and with the colder weather up there he would have had on coats and hats when he went out and eventually long hair and a beard. Getting money to him might not be easy at first prepaid visa cards would work for a while and a prepaid cell phones on each side would be easy for anyone to keep in touch with him. I wonder if the police checked into his parents and close friends or relatives? Were the police able to search his apt? But on the other hand if someone killed both of them they could have put her in the water by her boat and taken him way out in their boat and weighed him down with cement blocks so he would not be found and people would think he killed her and ran off.

UM&AMWfan
07-23-2007, 07:34 AM
I grew up on lake huron and agree they would no way have gone swimming. The knob in the shoe points to a struggle, or maybe he threw her in and he jammed the shoe on it himself to make it look like a struggle. I think his parents are acting strange. Why have him declared dead so soon? I thought about the possibility of him starting a new life someplace else. Our boat broke down once and we were closer to Canada than the US. We ended up in Canada and my Dad called one of his friends to bring our boat trailer to us and drive us home. He could have had someone take him to Canada in a boat and drop him off. No worrying about being seen crossing the bridge. And did he have any close friends or relatives who would have helped him? Thats a pretty big risk for someone to take. Did you have to show a passport to get across the bridge back then. I heard they were going to make people have one to get into Canada from the US. I know it seems far fetched but if he was going to go on the run that would have been a easy way to go and hide out until things cooled down in the US. I don't think he planned this if he did it. I think he snapped after she talked to the guy she called. He knew he was going to lose her. If someone helped him get a car, fake id and a place to stay it would work. As long as he got a good 10 hours away from Lake Huron this story would have been in the papers a few times and with the colder weather up there he would have had on coats and hats when he went out and eventually long hair and a beard. Getting money to him might not be easy at first prepaid visa cards would work for a while and a prepaid cell phones on each side would be easy for anyone to keep in touch with him. I wonder if the police checked into his parents and close friends or relatives? Were the police able to search his apt? But on the other hand if someone killed both of them they could have put her in the water by her boat and taken him way out in their boat and weighed him down with cement blocks so he would not be found and people would think he killed her and ran off.

Interesting theory but if he did that he would have to know he could NEVER go back home to Michigan and if he did he would be taking a huge risk.

It just seem unrealistic that he would impulsively kill Lana and then suddenly go to Canada when he had no plans to at all. I'm sure he had plans and appointments in Michigan and if he went to Canada he woud have no life at all but just starting all over again with no job, no place to stay and little money. I know someone could be helping him but we really have no reason to believe that however I still find it hard to believe this was just an accident so I think foul play is likely involved.

I hope LE kept tabs on Chuck's parents phone and still are. But it's easy to get another cell phone or even one in someone else's name if you wanted to avoid police scrutiny.

Truthful Lies
07-23-2007, 07:40 AM
At least it's harder to keep financial documents under the radar

nanandjim
07-23-2007, 09:36 AM
I grew up on lake huron and agree they would no way have gone swimming. The knob in the shoe points to a struggle, or maybe he threw her in and he jammed the shoe on it himself to make it look like a struggle...
This case is sure strange. It could have been him or it could have been strangers. I lean towards him because they were not getting along; she called a guy; he was said to have a temper; alcohol may have been involved; she was found nude wearing her jewelry; his body was not found.

Other families have been known to help their family members who have done something drastic. I think of the Kelly boy who raped girls while he was in high school. He ran off to Europe and his parents supported him for about 10 years before they were caught doing so.

What was the reasoning for Chuck's parents declaring him dead so quickly? I think that Dateline may have given a reason, but I can't remember. The cop that they interviewed on Dateline didn't seem to think that Chuck was still alive and considered the case closed. He seemed to have a very closed mind about the whole thing.

In any case, there was at least one or two homicides. It was not an accident. The police should not have closed this case.

You did not need a passport to enter Canada then. You still can get into Canada much easier than you can return to the U.S. At the moment, I think that the U.S. will still accept birth certificates because of the backlog on the passport applications.

Kgram
07-23-2007, 10:47 AM
Interesting theory but if he did that he would have to know he could NEVER go back home to Michigan and if he did he would be taking a huge risk.

It just seem unrealistic that he would impulsively kill Lana and then suddenly go to Canada when he had no plans to at all. I'm sure he had plans and appointments in Michigan and if he went to Canada he woud have no life at all but just starting all over again with no job, no place to stay and little money. I know someone could be helping him but we really have no reason to believe that however I still find it hard to believe this was just an accident so I think foul play is likely involved.

I hope LE kept tabs on Chuck's parents phone and still are. But it's easy to get another cell phone or even one in someone else's name if you wanted to avoid police scrutiny.

I know it seems unlikely this is what happened. But if he did do it I'm sure he'd rather never be able to go back to MI than go to prison. If they did start fighting maybe she scratched him up pretty good with her fingernails. It seems like they both liked to have a few drinks, who knows. And it's been almost 2 years. I'm sure he'd know how to create new id's and he's an educated man so if he was far enough away he could figure out a new way to make a living. He could be in Brazil or somewhere by now. I was reading all these post's over the weekend and started looking at the maps and remembered how easy it was to just go to Canada by boat and get in. It also brought back a lot of memories. I lived in Lexington way back in the mid 70's.

Kgram
07-23-2007, 11:27 AM
This case is sure strange. It could have been him or it could have been strangers. I lean towards him because they were not getting along; she called a guy; he was said to have a temper; alcohol may have been involved; she was found nude wearing her jewelry; his body was not found.

Other families have been known to help their family members who have done something drastic. I think of the Kelly boy who raped girls while he was in high school. He ran off to Europe and his parents supported him for about 10 years before they were caught doing so.
What was the reasoning for Chuck's parents declaring him dead so quickly? I think that Dateline may have given a reason, but I can't remember. The cop that they interviewed on Dateline didn't seem to think that Chuck was still alive and considered the case closed. He seemed to have a very closed mind about the whole thing.

In any case, there was at least one or two homicides. It was not an accident. The police should not have closed this case.

You did not need a passport to enter Canada then. You still can get into Canada much easier than you can return to the U.S. At the moment, I think that the U.S. will still accept birth certificates because of the backlog on the passport applications.


I read the watch was given to her by a dear friend and she cherished it. Perhaps an old boyfriend? I never did find out about her clothes. If her clothes were ripped and torn from a struggle maybe he took them.

I remember the Kelly case. He lasted 10 years. From what I understand Chuck was doing very well in his career. And his father had done well in his life so the family did have access to money.

A few interesting posts on this blog.

http://laurajames.typepad.com/clews/2006/01/the_stempienrut.html

Was not sure about the passport thing. I think I just showed my id. I was invited to go to Niagra Falls about 7 years ago. It sounded like fun so I went to MI met my friends and I saw Niagra Falls in January. I've been living in FL since the early 80's. Up until that trip I always thought I missed the snow and cold winters. Never again will I try that! Well I'm still going to do some searching on this and if I find anything I'll post it.

BrianG
07-23-2007, 12:26 PM
Source: http://www.elinewberger.com/enabling.html


"... Denial is a convenient defense in many other situations. An example is the well-publicized story of Alex Kelly.
In 1983, when he was a high school student in Darien, Connecticut, Alex and three other boys began a series of burglaries of neighbors' houses. They used the money to buy drugs. Eventually they were caught; Alex pleaded guilty to nine burglaries as a juvenile offender, and was sentenced to a maximum of thirty-five months in a juvenile detention institution where he entered a drug rehabilitation program. To his more rebellious contemporaries, Alex was "cool." A young journalist who grew up in Darien remembers: "People who knew about this at the time said, 'Yeah, that's crazy. This guy is crazy.' But they said it with a touch of admiration, like, this is real rebellion. A lot of people staked their rebellion on being associated with Alex Kelly rather than doing the things he did."
Sixty-eight days after Alex was sent away, he was released on probation by a judge who found him essentially rehabilitated. For a year, Alex made the judge look prescient. He studied himself onto the academic honor roll, starred on the football team, captained the wrestling team, and warned other students about drug abuse. Some called him "the comeback kid." His principal says, "He was the charming All-American boy. 'With it.' as the kids say. He was in the inner circle, an accomplished athlete, lots of things that kids want to be."
Then Alex was arrested again in February, 1986. A seventeen-year-old Darien girl told the police that Alex offered to drive her home from a party, drove instead to a deserted country club parking lot, and raped her. Police were already investigating the complaint of another sixteen-year-old girl, who said that Alex had offered her a ride home four days earlier and choked and raped her. Both girls claimed that Alex threatened them with repeat rape or even death if they told anyone of his sexual assaults.


Alex's father, in a 1996 ABC Turning Point documentary narrated by Forrest Sawyer, recalled the moment he heard of the arrest. "I got a telephone call from the police department, so I dropped everything and ran down there."
Forrest Sawyer: "Did it ever cross your mind that it was possible?"
Alex's father: "No."
Forrest Sawyer: "Not once?"
Alex's father: "No. I know Alex. To this day there's no question in my mind."
Forrest Sawyer asked Alex's mother: "Why would two young girls come forward and accuse a young man of rape under similar circumstances?"
Alex's mother: "Good question. Unbelievable. I don't believe it."

Alex's high school principal told Forrest Sawyer that she first heard of the arrest of Alex in a telephone call from the chief of police. "He said to me, 'We have come this close to two possible murders this week:" Sawyer reported her words to Alex's parents: "This close. . . to two murders."
Alex's father: "It's got to be one of the most irresponsible things I've ever heard for a chief of police to ever say...if that is the truth. Irresponsible!"
Forrest Sawyer: "There were, according to the two alleged victims, threats of murder."
Alex's father: "I don't believe that."Concerned that Alex's presence at school while he awaited trial would cause anxiety and distraction, the school administration graduated him in absentia a month after his arrest and forbade him to return. Alex noted that "All of these people that were so supportive and so behind me—they did all they could to, like, take credit for what I was doing. But the second any sort of rough times came. any allegations. they just jumped off."
A few days before he was to go on trial for the second of the alleged rapes. Alex Kelly jumped bail, flying to Europe with a ten-year passport in hand. Ten years later, with capture virtually certain, Alex turned himself in, was extradited to the United States, and went on trial. The first trial ended in a deadlocked jury. At a second trial, Alex was found guilty and sentenced to twenty years in prison. The judge rationalized the severe sentence not on the flight to Europe but on the nature of the crime and on Alex's lack of remorse.
Probably none of the parents whose stories have been told in this chapter were motivated principally by concern for their own or their family's reputations. What stirred them was the urge to protect and support their sons.
The parents of Alex Kelly were said to have had greater hopes for Alex's success than for his two brothers. Alex was to be the star of the family, and he showed considerable promise of fulfilling these expectations. There wasn't anything the family wouldn't do to enable Alex to be a success. The burglaries conviction was a trouble sign apparently largely ignored in the glow of his sports achievements and his academic record. Alex's arrest on two different rape charges was a stunning blow to him and to his family.
One can feel compassion for them—the family's hopes collapsed as swiftly as a house of cards—while believing that denial and flight simply delayed a resolution of wrongdoing. Alex will be middle-aged before he leaves prison. One of his two brothers died of an overdose of drugs while Alex was hiding out in Europe. The only way the family seemed to be able to survive these tragic changes of fortune was through denial: Alex still protesting his innocence, his parents still believing him.
Parents sometimes believe they are showing unconditional love when they really are exhibiting mechanisms of defense—denial. displacement, overidentification, and the like. We can't any of us be simply objective in our evaluation of others' behavior; our hopes and expectations inevitably are going to be entangled to a degree with our perceptions of what is going on. But there is no reason to be confused in principle. Loving a son does not require denying his wrongdoing; his wrongdoing never justifies ceasing to love him..."

angelmom
09-10-2007, 08:44 AM
http://www.comcast.net/news/national/index.jsp?cat=DOMESTIC&fn=/2007/09/10/759373.html&cvqh=itn_shipwreck

This has nothing to do with this case...except, I found the description of the storm interesting. Since I have never been to the Great Lakes, I have trouble wrapping my head around a quite different definition of "lake" than the one I've always lived with.

Also, 2 bodies were never recovered, although the wreck is undisputed. I wonder if they will be found now.

Built in Lorain, Ohio, the Cyprus was launched Aug. 17, 1907. It was as "seaworthy a vessel as has ever been turned out by a lake ship yard," The Marine Review, a Cleveland trade publication, said after the sinking.

The gale in which the ship perished was "so moderate that only the smaller class of vessels sought shelter while the big steamers scarcely noticed it at all," the Review said.

But Pitz, the second mate, said after the wreck that the Cyprus was being pounded by northwesterly waves and developed a gradually worsening list the fatal afternoon.

The engines finally stopped and crew members donned life jackets. Most headed to lifeboats, but Pitz and three others _ the captain, the first mate and a watchman _ gathered near a raft closer to the front.

About 7:45 p.m., the Cyprus capsized and quickly sank.

Pitz and his companions were hurled into the lake. They climbed aboard the raft and by 2 a.m. had drifted within 300 feet of land. But the raft flipped over several times in the churning surf, drowning everyone but Pitz, who washed ashore, cold and exhausted.

All but two of the 22 victims' bodies were recovered.

Columbo
09-11-2007, 12:37 AM
I've seen this case on at least 2 tv shows: Dateline, 48 Hours, maybe Primetime.
When I saw the picture of Chuck and Lana together, my immediate impression of Chuck was "something's 'off' with this guy." And as a couple, they didn't look like they belonged together at all. I just got a vibe that he was very troubled mentally, or something.

I think he probably was planning to ask her to marry him, but she was so unimpressed with him that she was even telephoning another boyfriend during this so-called romantic trip. So he got jealous, he killed her (maybe they were arguing and he shoved her off the boat--I could think of a number of scenarios including seducing her and killing her when she didn't expect it--that might explain why she was found with jewelry but no clothing on ), and his family, who were vacationing nearby, came to his rescue and enabled him to "disappear".

Of course, Mommy and Daddy are going to side with poor little Chucky when he tells them Lana didn't want him (or whatever) and he killed her accidentally (or whatever story he would have told them).

I bet he is alive and resides in another country.

mysteriew
09-11-2007, 03:00 AM
I don't know enough about this case to even decide on whether it appears accidental or not. But some things do stand out to me. For instance, the knob in the shoe seems to indicate some type of violence. Does anyone know what the condition of the inside of the boat was?

I read the theory where someone accidently fell off the boat and the other jumped in to save them and drowned also. The only thing is that anyone who is experiened with boats would know to throw a life preserver or boat ring in first- at is a well known rule. I'm not hearing that any were missing from the boat.

Carbon monoxide in the system- someone else gave the best explanation, if someone fell or was thrown off the boat- but were still alive and floating near the outlets, then exhaust from the idling engine would get into the system- isn't carbon monoxide heavier than air? If so then it may have collected in a pool around the boat.

For domestic violence murders they aren't usually planned. So the choice of losing everything he had or not returning to Michigan would not even be considered until after the fact. Both jealousy and break-ups are frequently factors in a DV when one party is a controlling personality. Sometimes the jealousy isn't even over anything real, only imagined. Why if they were already having problems would she get on the boat with him? Maybe that is when he would be the most relaxed and she may have thought that would be the best time to tell him. Or maybe she didn't tell him, but he chose that time to confront her.

Why was she naked? I am stumped by that one. In the middle of a rage, some men will use rape (including boyfriend's) If she took off her clothing to use as a floatation device, then where was he while she did that? Wouldn't she have had him do the same thing? Was any clothing found floating?

Most stranger assaults and murders they don't try to hide the bodies, so why throw them overboard? Was anything stolen from the boat? If they were going to chase them down and kill them over some slight- why not steal valuables, or even the boat? Were any fingerprints found?

Parents were near where the boat was found. That could be coincidence, or a fortunate fact. If it wasn't planned and if he did it, he could have remembered where his parents were- gave them a call and told them what happened asked them to meet him. Drove the boat to a prearranged point and transferred to their boat, leaving the other boat floating. By leaving the boat idling, it left the possibility of murder/suicide open. But I would guess that LE would have checked his phone records and would know what calls he made and when he made them. So this part is questionable. If he didn't make any calls, then it must have been 1) another murderer, 2) planned with another means of communication available, 3) an accident or 4) a murder/suicide.

MagicRose99
03-16-2008, 09:09 PM
I just watched Datelines, "What Lies Beneath" and thought I'd bump up... Here's hoping the families get their questions answered in the near future.

Texana
03-16-2008, 09:15 PM
I saw this too, on tv. My gut says, Chuck is alive and well, and in a foreign country, probably Canada.

He had means, motive and opportunity, his body has never been recovered, and his family has the ability to support him in creating a new life.

Occam's Razor once again--simplest explanation is the one that fits.

angelmom
03-18-2008, 07:22 AM
I saw this too, on tv. My gut says, Chuck is alive and well, and in a foreign country, probably Canada.

He had means, motive and opportunity, his body has never been recovered, and his family has the ability to support him in creating a new life.

Occam's Razor once again--simplest explanation is the one that fits.

I didn't see the show, so I can't say...but don't you really think the simplest explanation is that he's dead?

Obviously there are other options, but I think they are much more complicated. Wish I had seen the show.

KarlK
03-18-2008, 09:19 PM
http://www.comcast.net/news/national/index.jsp?cat=DOMESTIC&fn=/2007/09/10/759373.html&cvqh=itn_shipwreck

This has nothing to do with this case...except, I found the description of the storm interesting. Since I have never been to the Great Lakes, I have trouble wrapping my head around a quite different definition of "lake" than the one I've always lived with.

Also, 2 bodies were never recovered, although the wreck is undisputed. I wonder if they will be found now.

The Great Lakes, and especially Lake Superior, can develop storms that have nothing to envy to the infamous North Atlantic. It's more like an inland sea and the crews of the many ocean-going vessels that navigate the lakes (through the St. Lawrence Seaway) will certify a Lake Superior gale can spawn terrifying waters even for seasoned sailors, with 30-foot waves and 90mph winds that could send a ship of any size to the bottom in no time, and has numerous times.

That said, for all their impressive length and bulk old lakers were prone to break in two when caught in particularly rough waters. Such is what happened to the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975, made famous by the Gordon Lightfoot song. The 500+ feet long ship sank in a gale without even having time to send out a distress signal, there were no survivors. The waters of the 3 largest lakes (Superior, Huron and Michigan) are deep and cold even in the summer, without adequate protection one can't survive long floating around in a life jacket.

KarlK
03-18-2008, 09:32 PM
I saw this too, on tv. My gut says, Chuck is alive and well, and in a foreign country, probably Canada.

Canada would be the first place they'd look for him. No notorious US fugitive has ever evaded capture for very long there, law enforcement agencies of both countries are well coordinated. If the guy transited through Canada he probably didn't stay there long.

froggierintexas
03-19-2008, 02:46 AM
Does anyone know if his parents had some sort of memorial service for him?

BrianG
03-19-2008, 04:19 PM
Law enforcement does not see Charles Rutherford Jr. as a fugitive; rather, he is officially considered to be deceased, the victim of a boating accident. His parents petitioned to have him declared legally dead just shy of one year after Lana's death; their petition was granted.

A "Memorial Mass and Celebration of the Life of Charles R. Rutherford, Jr." was held on October 20, 2006 at SS Peter and Paul Jesuit Church in Detroit.

tigger3z
03-19-2008, 07:02 PM
If Chuck is officially declared dead then the police aren't looking for him. So he could be anywhere. I think he killed her. I think Chuck asked her to marry him after they made love. Thats why she was naked. He then went into a rage. I think his parents being so close helped chuck to leave unnoticed. If they checked bank documents they would see just where the money is going.

And I bet Chuck is very alive.

tigger3z
03-19-2008, 07:29 PM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12756009/page/2/


Last June, Reggie Grimmett saw something on a Detroit street that disturbed him—and now he’s one of several new witnesses who may hold important new clues to solving the mysterious disappearance of Lana Stempien.

Grimmett says he was driving past a restaurant when he saw a man aggressively beating a woman.

Reggie Grimmett, witness: This big man got her right above the elbow, and he was hitting her. He was trying to force her into the vehicle as he was hitting her.

In a sworn statement, Grimmett describes how after the woman escaped, the man chased after her -- driving recklessly and erratically, continuing his chase even after he’d slammed into another car and an airbag had deployed in his face.

Grimmett: I was shocked you know. I rolled right up beside him and he was fighting the airbag continuously. And then he went into traffic the wrong way.
Grimmett contacted police after recognizing the couple he’d seen arguing as Lana Stempien and Chuck Rutherford -- the two young Detroit attorneys who vanished on a boating trip in August.
Grimmett: I was at home. And just watching the news and I looked, I said “Oh no. That’s that young lady Lana.”

Grimmett told police that he was deeply troubled by Chuck’s behavior.

Grimmett: How could you lose control and be beating people in broad daylight? He was a very angry man. You know? Hitting a woman.

And Andrew Jarvis, the attorney for Lana Stempien’s family, believes Grimmett’s story substantiates the concerns Lana shared with her friends about Chuck shortly before she disappeared.

Andrew Jarvis, Stempien family friend and attorney: I think it validates what Lana was saying to her friends in August. That she was fearful of her safety from Chuck.

Jarvis also believes Grimmett’s story adds weight to the possibility that some kind of heated domestic dispute on board “Sea’s Life” preceded Lana’s death.

As Dateline first reported, the very last call Lana made from her boat, at 1:59 p.m. on August 11th was a one minute message for a male friend—a man friends say Chuck had been jealous of in the past.

Andre Jarvis: I always thought that that last phone call was a catalyst to something happening on the boat… something happened shortly after 2 o’clock on Thursday August the 11th.

Did Chuck overhear Lana leaving the message for that other man and angrily confront her?

ut, another new tip could back up the theory that whatever went wrong, it happened right after Lana made that last call.

Two sisters, who asked us not to use their names out of concern for their safety, sent an e-mail to through the Dateline Web site after seeing our story in January, and were later interviewed by the police.

They describe a white boat they saw on August 11th, hovering dangerously close to some rocks in this bay.

Sister 1: We thought it was really strange, because it was too close to the rocks. You never see a boat that close—

And when they realized nobody was controlling the phantom vessel, they were even more concerned.

Sister 2: Kinda eerie. It was an eerie feeling, yes. It was moving erratically. To me, it didn’t seem like anybody was driving the boat.

The sisters, who are now certain the boat they saw was Lana’s, told police they spotted it shortly before 3 p.m. on August 11th—which is right after Lana placed that call to the other man.

Jarvis: You put one and one together - and you know there was a phone call made, and you know the boat was seen drifting near shore again. My opinion is that that phone call was a catalyst to something happening on that boat.

But if the boat was abandoned when the sisters saw it drifting near those rocks—where was Chuck?

The sisters say they noticed something else that afternoon: a second boat, speeding away in the distance.

Sister 1: It was going pretty fast. It looked like he was leaving the harbor going towards across the lake.

Could that second boat be a critical missing piece of the puzzle that might explain what went so tragically wrong on this lake? Who was on board? Did they see something? Were they involved?

Jarvis: It could mean something, or it could be another witness. But we’re trying to track down who that boat is.

The Michigan State Police say the sisters’ information gives them a much better sense of exactly where “Sea’s Life” traveled that day—and now their divers are preparing to once again search the bay.

Now it makes you wonder

kriszane
03-29-2008, 11:42 PM
There are two things about the case:
1. If Charles Rutherford did in fact murder Lana, how did he get from the boat to shore? Wouldn't that necessitate an accomplice to transport him to shore? I got the impression the boat was approximately twenty miles from shore, and therefore it would have been impossible to swim.

2. This knob embedded in Lana's shoe: I have read much about this, but have never been able to find a photo of it or to ascertain what the knob was from or what type of knob, etc. This seems like the most intriguing part of the case, because as it is described, the knob appears to have been driven in by force, as if someone turned the shoe upside down and, with a hammer, etc., drove it into the shoe. Does anyone know where there is (on the web) a photo of this knob/shoe?

mysteriew
03-30-2008, 02:42 AM
Kriszane I haven't seen a picture. But there could be another explanation for the "knob." A person who believes they are fighting for their lives will struggle without concern of injury to themselves. In other words, could she have kicked out during the struggle and struck something with a knob hard enough to embed the knob in her shoe? I've never heard if the "knob" came from something on the boat.

Alaska4959
03-31-2008, 03:08 PM
I read on page one of these comments that the knob appeared to come from a piece of electronic equipment on the boat.

Blink34
05-31-2008, 07:03 AM
Could this be him?
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24855993/

lymom3
05-31-2008, 08:30 AM
Wow....I'll keep following this one. I often wonder about this case.

Blink34
05-31-2008, 09:32 AM
me too, and if it is, I believe somebody somewhere is going to serve me a "hat sandwich"- I was convinced he was alive somewhere.

Only4Justice
05-31-2008, 03:33 PM
I sincerely hope this is Chuck, and I do believe it is.

I knew Lana for many years. If this is Chuck, both of their families can put to rest the "Chuck killed Lana" theories.

I think one of two things happened. Either, (1) they stupidly jumped in the water for a quick swim, after consuming some alcohol; OR (2) someone got to both of them due to their work for the City of Detroit.

Just my honest opinion.

:blowkiss:

Masterj
06-02-2008, 08:03 AM
Any update on this?

gaia227
06-02-2008, 10:39 AM
Interesting. That certainly would change everything wouldn't it? Don't feel bad Blink I have always thought Chuck killed Lana too and took off.

BrianG
06-02-2008, 02:45 PM
From last Thursday's Detroit News (http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dl...D=2008805290332 (http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008805290332)):

Michigan State Police said Wednesday they have contacted the family of Charles Rutherford Jr., a Grosse Pointe lawyer missing since an August 2005 boating trip with his girlfriend, but acknowledged a body found on Lake Huron may be a plane crash victim or one of many missing Mackinac Bridge suicide jumpers.

The body was found by Memorial Day vacationers on rocks near Cheboygan, three miles north of where police found the body of Rutherford's companion, Lana Stempien, 35, nearly three years ago. The body remained in a local morgue Wednesday, awaiting transportation to medical examiners in Grand Rapids. Police said it may be weeks before the body is identified.

"Even after the autopsy, there are a lot of DNA tests to do," said Detective Sgt. Ron Nightingale. "We're talking a minimum of weeks."

From this, it's apparent that the authorities believe that they do not have sufficent evidence to reach a positive ID via comparison to dental records. Such identifications take a few days, at most.

Possible reasons: 1. Dental records are not available; 2. The teeth/jaw/skull are significantly damaged, or missing (the remains found have been described as "partial").

If the latter is the case, would there have been sufficient time for tissue degradation to allow separation of the head from the body, or is this evidence of some pre- or post-mortem trauma?

nanandjim
06-02-2008, 02:53 PM
Interesting. That certainly would change everything wouldn't it? Don't feel bad Blink I have always thought Chuck killed Lana too and took off.

He's still my main suspect until it is proven otherwise...

angelmom
06-03-2008, 05:50 AM
I really hope it's him. I feel terrible for his parents having to live with so many people suspecting their son of being a murderer and them of aiding and abetting him. It must be horrific to have to grieve that way.

BrianG
06-04-2008, 02:28 PM
... with thanks to Onederwomyn, who posted this link on a different board:

http://www.cheboygannews.com/articles/2008/06/04/news/news2.txt

gaia227
06-05-2008, 12:46 PM
He's still my main suspect until it is proven otherwise...

Oh yeah, me too. If this isn't Chuck then he remains as suspect numero uno on my list. His past behavior and Lana's comments about him do not bode well.

angelmom
06-05-2008, 01:07 PM
For all the folks who think it is suspicious that Chuck's body was never found:

http://www.cheboygannews.com/articles/2008/06/04/news/news2.txt

Police continue to focus on three males among nine people reportedly missing in the Straits of Mackinac in the last 12 years.

The body of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. resident Gary Morris, 57, has never been recovered after a Feb. 5, 2007 fall from the Mackinac Bridge.

H. Brooke Stouffer, of Washington, D.C., was a passenger in an aircraft piloted by his fiancee, Karen Dodds, 51, also of Washington, D.C. The plane is believed to have crashed in the South Channel of the Straits of Mackinac on Aug. 24, 2007. Dodds' body was found near the Mackinac Bridge on Oct. 8. The body of Stauffer and the plane have been the subject of numerous search efforts, conducted near where the most recent remains were found.

In addition, Charles Robert Rutherford Jr. is still missing from a boating incident that occurred on Aug. 11, 2005.

Even though these other two guys didn't disappear under suspicious circumstances, and even though they know almost exactly where Gary Morris went in, and even though Karen Dodds' body was found...

...sound familiar? They can't even find Stauffer's plane. Plus there are apparently 6 women who haven't been found either.

MagicRose99
06-05-2008, 01:25 PM
What makes them believe the remains are male when they need "testing" to determine the sex?

Mouse
06-05-2008, 01:42 PM
What makes them believe the remains are male when they need "testing" to determine the sex?

I would guess size of the bones, for one thing. Or maybe structure, depending on what remains have been found--a male pelvis structure will look different from a female pelvis. Leg and arms bones for a male will generally be longer for a male than for a female, statistically. Male skulls have a more prominent brow ridge than do female skulls. Of course, there are short men, and very tall women, so you'd need DNA or other testing to know for sure if the remains are partial and not definitive. But a forensic anthropologist or medical examiner could make an educated guess to work with until test results come in.

MagicRose99
06-05-2008, 04:00 PM
Thanks Mouse! That makes sense now...

murdershewrote
06-05-2008, 04:19 PM
I think it was reported as "partial remains"....Dr. Michael Baden said that usually means that it is just the torso, no head attached. He was on Greta's show the night the news broke. So they might not have any dental work at all, which is why it is taking so long. He said the could naturally detach after such a long time...if it is in fact him.

lilmisssleuth
06-13-2008, 03:00 PM
Has anyone heard anymore about the remains found. I just recently read this thread and watched part of the show on Dateline (I think). I have been thinking about it a lot the last couple days.

Deborah1012
07-17-2008, 11:41 AM
My mind has been on this the last few days and I'm wondering if there has been an answer as to the body found.

lymom3
10-21-2008, 11:06 AM
bump...any news on the body found?

Elf8702
01-15-2009, 01:30 AM
Did anyone ever hear anything at all about that body that was discovered last summer? I guess we have to assume that it wasn't Chuck, after all. What the heck happened that night, I'll forever wonder. The thing that nags at me is the phone call that Lana made early that afternoon to another guy, in Boston I think it was. Sure it could have been an accident, but they were breaking up and I just can't help but think there is a possibility that there was something more than just an accident that afternoon. And sadly we'll probably never know the answer to this mystery.

Only4Justice
01-15-2009, 07:29 AM
I knew Lana since childhood. I have also been waiting and checking on news on that body found last year. I do believe it was Chuck. Something is fishy here....someone is keeping this under wraps on purpose (IMO). I always wonder if there is a connection to Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit's disgraced mayor, who Lana was investigating at the time of her death....

Elf8702
01-15-2009, 11:35 AM
I knew Lana since childhood. I have also been waiting and checking on news on that body found last year. I do believe it was Chuck. Something is fishy here....someone is keeping this under wraps on purpose (IMO). I always wonder if there is a connection to Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit's disgraced mayor, who Lana was investigating at the time of her death....

Concerning the possibility that information about the body might be deliberately withheld, could the cause of death be something suspicious, like a bullet wound, or maybe there is evidence of blunt force trauma?
Something happened that day, I have just never been convinced that it was an accident. They were nearing their destination, the day was chilly, why would they go for a swim? They were on the verge of breaking up, could they have gotten into a fight? Or could someone have wanted them out of the way?

MomofBoys
04-12-2009, 12:21 PM
This episode just aired again on ID.

My first question was that they made reference to how rough the waters were. I don't know much about boats and boating, but is it at all possible they were ejected from the boat? Why does it have to be a swim?

The blue fenders...that was the most compelling thing to me. Now, add that to the "boat speeding out of the harbor" and if that lead is at all viable--it does make me wonder. I kind of left the special thinking that the Stimpiens were grieving and in denial, but the more I think and read, the more I just think this is so odd.

Tristan
05-24-2009, 05:32 AM
Does anyone know if the boyfriend's body has ever been found?

This case is simply baffling.

I hope their families get some closure.

BrianG
06-29-2009, 11:16 PM
As many of you may know, on or about Memorial Day of 2008, partial human remains were found adjacent to the shoreline of Lake Huron, not distant from the location where Lana was found in 2005. To date, no identification of the 2008 remains has been made public. "Budget cuts" and re-examination of defective evidence from the discredited Detroit crime lab have been offered as reasons for the delay.

I continue to pray for resolution of Lana's case.

SuziQ
06-30-2009, 01:18 AM
BrianG, I pray for a resolution soon.

BrianG
08-11-2009, 06:13 PM
To All,

It was four years ago today that Lana died.

I continue to work, and to pray, for resolution.

Noway
08-11-2009, 06:37 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lana_Stempien

Lana Stempien (1969 -- August 11, 2005) was an American lawyer, licensed to practice in Michigan and Florida, who drowned under mysterious circumstances. Her boyfriend Charles Rutherford Jr. (born 1970, presumed missing August 11, 2005, declared legally dead August 3, 2006), commonly known as Chuck Rutherford, was also on the boat when Stempien went into the water. He was ruled dead by a court of law in 2006, but his body was never found.


This is a very interesting case. My first inclination is that the BF killed her. How far from any shore were they and were either or both strong swimmers?

Noway
08-11-2009, 06:43 PM
The wikipedia entry ends with:

Authorities have not found Rutherford's body despite repeatedly searching Lake Huron.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lana_Stempien#cite_note-Hansen-0) Investigators also found no activity on any of Rutherford's bank or email accounts after his disappearance.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lana_Stempien#cite_note-Hansen-0) They have ruled his death as an accidental drowning.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lana_Stempien#cite_note-Hansen-0) Less than a year after his disappearance, Rutherford's parents went to court in an attempt to have him declared legally dead. Normally, an individual has to be missing for five years to officially be considered dead in Michigan. In court proceedings attended by relatives of Stempien, who feel Rutherford is alive and may have murdered Stempien,[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lana_Stempien#cite_note-Hansen-0) and Rutherford's parents, Rutherford's status was debated. The sole witness was a State of Michigan Police Detective who stated that their investigation determined Rutherford was dead. On August 3, 2006, the court declared Chuck Rutherford legally dead.[5] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lana_Stempien#cite_note-4)


On May 28, 2008, The Detroit News reported that human remains were found near the Lake Huron shoreline, and near the Cheboygan and Presque Isle county line. The remains were taken to Grand Rapids for identification.[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lana_Stempien#cite_note-5)

They must have been the remains of someone else.

gaia227
08-11-2009, 06:50 PM
It is over a year later and the remains have still not been identified? If they were Rutherford's I would think by now through DNA or dental records they could have positively ID'd it by now. Jeez, what is the hold up?

grace60
08-11-2009, 09:06 PM
It would seem the family could have paid to have one done privately. Unless they don't want to. Or is it because it's still under investigation they can't?

BrianG
09-26-2009, 10:36 AM
It would seem the family could have paid to have one done privately. Unless they don't want to. Or is it because it's still under investigation they can't?

It's been sixteen months since the as yet unidentified remains were found.

As to a private party paying for the identification, until the remains are identified, the family's (or any third party's) standing in the case could not be established, a genuine "Catch 22".

Elf8702
10-27-2009, 10:26 AM
DNA Results in on Missing Boater

(WXYZ) - Two families who had been hoping for closure in a boating mystery are still facing uncertainty.

Police have never solved the mystery of what happened out on Lake Huron to two lawyers from Grosse Pointe Farms.

So when human remains were discovered last spring along the coast – many people wondered if they might belong to Chuck Rutherford Jr.

Today we learned – they do not. And now police have a new mystery on their hands.

http://tinyurl.com/yzwzdmg

gaia227
10-27-2009, 04:19 PM
Thx for the update. It took long enough to get the DNA results back, good grief.

So now we have a new mystery - if this isn't Rutherford then who is it? I was almost convinced it was going to be Rutherford.

Columbo
10-27-2009, 05:02 PM
DNA Results in on Missing Boater

(WXYZ) - Two families who had been hoping for closure in a boating mystery are still facing uncertainty.

Police have never solved the mystery of what happened out on Lake Huron to two lawyers from Grosse Pointe Farms.

So when human remains were discovered last spring along the coast – many people wondered if they might belong to Chuck Rutherford Jr.

Today we learned – they do not. And now police have a new mystery on their hands.

http://tinyurl.com/yzwzdmg

I saw the "48 Hours" show on this story and that Rutherford set off my hinky meter. There was something about the look in his eyes. I am sure he is alive somewhere and that he killed Lana.

tatertot
09-17-2010, 10:50 AM
News article: a foot found in July 2008 and a torso found in May 2008 on a Lake Huron beach both were identified by DNA as Dillon Kent Herzer, a man who disappeared during a 1999 yacht race.

http://www.cheboygannews.com/news/x1129163208/Remains-officially-IDed