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  1. #1
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    MI - Charles Rutherford, 34, & Lana Stempien (fd dec.), Aug 2005 - Detroit Boaters

    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!

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


  2. #2
    SewingDeb's Avatar
    SewingDeb is offline "Sorry, I'm not qualified to land the plane."
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    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?


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SewingDeb
    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.


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    Body may be missing lawyer

    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


  5. #5
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    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.
    Suzi


    Reputation is what you are in the light.
    Character is what you are in the dark.


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    Bumping UP - featured on Dateline tonight.


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    Beneath the Blue Waters.....Death on the Lake

    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?


  8. #8
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    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.


  9. #9
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    I think Chuck pushed her and made a new life for himself.
    Please help locate Mark Dribin http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...ht=Mark+Dribin and Ilene Misheloff http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...lene+Misheloff and bring them home.

    Jodi, hot enough for you yet in Perryville, the only place you'll see 'till you die?? You got your wish to live in the Phoenix area for the rest of your life.
    Travis Alexander was the victim of Domestic Violence.

    JeSuisJuif
    JeSuisCharlie



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  11. #10
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    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??


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  13. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julie
    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.
    Please help locate Mark Dribin http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...ht=Mark+Dribin and Ilene Misheloff http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...lene+Misheloff and bring them home.

    Jodi, hot enough for you yet in Perryville, the only place you'll see 'till you die?? You got your wish to live in the Phoenix area for the rest of your life.
    Travis Alexander was the victim of Domestic Violence.

    JeSuisJuif
    JeSuisCharlie



  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julie
    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.


  15. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alice253
    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.


  16. #14
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    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.


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    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???


  18. #16
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    Very odd. Did they ever use sonar to search under water, like they did with Laci?
    Free online muder mystery game!http://www.murdermysteryinvestigations.com


    In memory of Laci and Conner and my wonderful grandparents Joan and Les - I love you guys


  19. #17
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    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.
    Last edited by Myserty64; 04-16-2007 at 09:29 PM.


  20. #18
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    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.


  21. #19
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    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.


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    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.


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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberLaw View Post
    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.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Myserty64 View Post
    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.


  25. #23
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    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.


  26. #24
    Truthful Lies's Avatar
    Truthful Lies is offline "Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one's courage" ~ Anaïs Nin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myserty64 View Post
    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)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Truthful Lies View Post
    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.


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