MI MI - Mina Dekker, 19, Grand Rapids, 4 March 1938

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by imamaze, May 4, 2009.

  1. imamaze

    imamaze Former Member

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    Originally posted by: jcv2, moved here for discussion
    Seventy-one year old cold case from Kent County posted:

    Mina Dekker — Murder on the third floor
    In 1938 Mina Dekker, a 19-year old secretary in Grand Rapids was bludgeoned to death with a hammer as she worked alone in an abrasives retail operation. Her killer left her for dead, took the hammer, and was never apprehended. Her death cascaded through the community and the effect on her family has not lessened over time. Somebody got away with murder and her 85-year old brother, Adrian, still wonders.
    There was only ONE suspect, Calvin DeBlaey, but police never arrested him or formally charged him. He was given two polygraph tests–novel for 1938, scopolamine–which was thought to be a truth serum–and interviewed again and again.
    As part of telling our story, we will include portions of the November 1938 edition of True Detective magazine, a story that covered the murder. We include this WITH PERMISSION of the magazine (Magazine Design & Publishing Ltd., www.truecrimelibrary.com).
    Click on any of the images to enlarge them.
     
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  3. BostonSu

    BostonSu New Member

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    It sounds like he was a very unlikely suspect at that. Anyone who beat her that way would have blood all over him, yet this man was seen within minutes, in perfectly clean clothes.
    Interesting case!
     
  4. Stella

    Stella Member

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    I love these really old cases. I was up until 2 this morning, reading as much as I could. Will go back again tonight and read more. That green hankie with the letter "C" found at the crime scene; do you think it could have belonged to the Shaffer boys new girlfriend? They didn't find the hammer, the so-called murder weapon. Maybe that rock was the murder weapon. And I wonder, who was she so afraid of that she wouldn't walk the 6 blocks to her home? Maybe the new girlfriend had threatened her? A lot of missing pieces on this one, especially her file at the police headquarters.
     
  5. KarlK

    KarlK New Member

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    So do I especially when recounted through original media articles such as in this case the one in True Detective. Gotta love those period ads such as:

    The liver should pour out two pounds or liquid bile into your bowels daily. If this bile is not flowing freely, your food doesn't digest. It just decays in the bowels. Gas bloats up your stomach. You get constipated. Your whole system is poisoned and you feel sour, sunk and the world looks punk.

    So from now on when the world "looks punk" I'll take one of Carter's Little Liver Pills and all will be de-punked. :)

    Back to the case at hand. As I stated above I love those period stories but when published in specialty magazines they were often dramatized by authors who were more novelists than reporters and were often prone to use creative stylistic narrative techniques to make stories more appealing to the average reader than a cold factual report.

    Extracting actual facts from such sources can be a little challenging especially with regards to witness statements and implied behavior. For example when a detective on the scene (Lt Breen) asks around who the victim was one witness (Charles Blackford) replies by telling not only her name, age and position but also includes irrelevant details about the gender and age of her siblings. I think it highly unlikely that Blackford would have blurted out so many personal details about Dekker all at once, especially in the presence of many outsiders. Undoubtedly the police did learn about those details in the course of the investigation but likely not in the manner described.

    Also when questionned by (presumably) Lt Breen, supposedly a few miniutes after Dekker had been taken to St. Mary's and declared dead, the physician who had attended her (Dr Roth) gave answers about the specific nature of her injuries that were likely not available until after the autopsy. This would constitute another stylistic shortcut that should be kept in mind when assessing facts based on the story as told by True Detective. Also the expression "criminally attacked" in the context probably means "sexually assaulted" otherwise the detective's question to the physician would make no sense: murder usually qualifies as a criminal attack whether sex is involved or not.

    Now I better print out those pages from the magazine and try an get an idea of what happened.
     
  6. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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  7. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    I just read the article in the True Dectective magazine and don't remember seeing anything regarding an intial on the hankerchief or any mention of Mina being frightened to walk home. Was that mentioned in another article? That is interesting.
     
  8. Marilynilpa

    Marilynilpa New Member

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    I prefer the really old cases, also, and have set up a blog for anyone wanting to talk about them. I have never heard of this particular case, and plan to read more about it. If I'm able to come up with anything new, I'll post it here.

    Calvin DeBlaey seems an unlikely suspect, and I find it hard to believe he was the only person the police suspected. I have a good friend who lives in Grand Rapids, and I'm going to see if his parents recall this case.

    It kind of sounds like she was afraid of someone since she didn't want to walk the short distance to her home. I wonder if other less serious attacks had happened in the area, making her concerned for her safety.

    By the way, I really love reading True Detective magazine, although I take what they wrote with a grain of salt.
     
  9. lost indie

    lost indie New Member

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  10. Marilynilpa

    Marilynilpa New Member

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    Has anyone contacted Professor David Schock, the fellow who is giving the lecture on May 19? I'd be happy to get in touch with him and ask him about his theories on what happened. If nothing else, perhaps he could send me whatever material(s) he hands out at his lecture.
     
  11. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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  12. delayedjustice

    delayedjustice New Member

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    Dear WS:

    You won't find me at Hope College but you can reach me (including from the website) at this address: david.schock@delayedjustice.com.

    No, I haven't prepared any handouts and I'm about as nervous as a cat in a room full of rockers about tonight's talk. At the worst, it will be over in an hour and at the best, it might be of some help to someone. The goal was to remember Mina.

    I wish you well.

    D
     
  13. MaryLiz

    MaryLiz New Member

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    Good luck tonight...I live just below you in Ohio and wish I could come for the talk but I can't. This is a very interesting case. Those taped interviews at your website were fascinating, especially the one with Mina's friend Margaret, receiving that letter after 70 years! Thank you for continuing to pursue justice for Mina and others.
     
  14. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    I can't watch the vids as i am at work. What about a letter? What did it say?
     
  15. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    Thank you for posting and keeping Mina's life in the spotlight. I am sure you will do just fine. Everyone there will be there because they are interested in Mina Dekker and what you have to tell them will be fascinating and interesting. It is rare to have a lecture given about an old unsolved case like this and lots of people will appreciate the opportunity to hear about one in depth.

    Good luck! I hope to see you posting on this thread more often.
     
  16. MaryLiz

    MaryLiz New Member

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    gaia, Mina wrote a letter to her best friend Margaret shortly before she was murdered. It didn't say anything pertinent to the case really. She mentioned a guy she just broke up with and other friends, just stuff about parties she had gone to, etc. The police would never let Margaret have the letter and kept it in the evidence file all those years. The only reason I can think why is maybe some of the people Mina mentioned in the letter might have been suspects. But anyway, Margaret just got the letter after 70 years. You'd think if the police checked out anyone Mina mentioned in the letter and ruled them out as suspects, Margaret could have gotten it a lot sooner!
     
  17. delayedjustice

    delayedjustice New Member

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    Even after more than 70 years, there were people in the audience who had known Mina.

    Beyond that, there was a lead that came up that I've passed on to the police. That's always the promise: if any information comes my way, it doesn't stop there and I'm not the one to "investigate."

    What use is the lead? Who knows? These things take time.

    I have a question for your membership. There are always constraints in terms of some things I can share, so there have to be edits (in particular I do not want people who are only tangentially involved with a murder investigation to get jammed up or have their personal lives on the street), but is it at all helpful to have the long-form interviews up at the site? I KNOW there's a lot to wade through. It's definitely not fast TV.

    I'm trying to figure out if this IS the right way to go. Making a film takes me about a year and I can cover a lot more ground this way. My sense was that for a certain group of people this may prove to be interesting.

    Thoughts?

    And, at any rate, the Grand Rapids Library presentation went pretty well. The members of the audience were attentive, asked great questions and shared clear thinking. I'm grateful for the opportunity.
     
  18. STANDREID

    STANDREID A slacker when slacker wasn't cool

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    Yes, there's a good reason why Calvin DeBlaey wasn't charged-he almost certainly didn't do it.
     

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