Unsolved Mysteries Wiki
Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Marilynn and Dennis DePue

Real Name: Dennis Henry DePue
Aliases: None known
Wanted For: Murder
Missing Since: April 15, 1990


Details: Forty-six-year-old Dennis DePue is wanted for the murder of his forty-eight-year-old estranged wife, Marilynn. He was a property assessor and she was a Coldwater high school guidance counselor. They had been married for several years and raised three children. However, there was great tension in the marriage; after he became withdrawn, he accused her of turning their children against them. She often told friends that she was unhappy and wanted a divorce.
Finally, in 1989, after eighteen years of marriage, Marilynn filed for divorce. She told her attorney that Dennis was trying to ruin her life and would not let her make decisions on her own. He tried to keep the marriage intact; however, the divorce was finalized in December 1989. He was granted biweekly visitation rights, but their children were often reluctant to spend time with him. He was also given access to the guest house, which he used as an office. However, it was believed he used that as an excuse to maintain control over his family. Marilynn later changed the locks on the doors, but he still managed to find a way to enter the home.
On Easter Sunday, April 15, 1990, Dennis arrived at the home to pick up two of their children. Their younger daughter, Julie, had already refused to go with him. When he went inside, their son, Scott, was reluctant to go. When Marilynn tried to talk to him, he became angry and started yelling at her. He then grabbed her and pushed her down the stairs. At the bottom, he continued to beat her, even after their children pleaded with him to stop. Their oldest daughter, Jennifer, ran to a neighbor's house to call the police. Dennis then carried a seriously injured Marilynn back up the stairs. He told their children that he was taking her to the hospital. They, however, never arrived there. An immediate and widespread search began for them.
Later that afternoon, Ray and Marie Thorton were going on a Sunday drive on Snow Perry Road near Coldwater, when a speeding van passed them. They noticed that its license plate began with "GZ", but did not pay much attention until a few minutes later. As they passed an abandoned school, Marie noticed the driver carrying a bloody sheet behind it. Minutes later, the van pulled up behind them and rode their bumper for several miles.
Finally, Ray turned off the highway. They noticed the van pulled off to the side of the road. They turned around and noticed the driver changing the license plate. They also noticed blood on the passenger side door. They decided to return to the school, where they found the bloody sheet in an animal hole. After they contacted the police, they learned that the man they had seen was Dennis.
Tire tracks at the school belonged to Dennis' van and the blood on the sheet was Marilynn's. Based on the evidence, it appeared that he had killed her. However, it wasn't until the next day that this was confirmed: highway workers discovered her body near a deserted road. She had been shot once in the back of the head.
A few days later, Dennis sent several bizarre, rambling letters to friends and family. In them, he tried to justify Marilynn's death. Altogether, he sent a total of seventeen, postmarked in Virginia, Iowa, and Oklahoma.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the March 20, 1991 episode.
Recently, it has been theorized that the beginning portion of the broadcast was used as an inspiration for the opening scene in the 2001 movie Jeepers Creepers.
Results: Solved. At 8:30pm on the night of the broadcast, a woman named "Mary" arrived at her home in Dallas, Texas. When she came inside, her boyfriend, Hank Queen, told her that he had to leave soon because his mother was sick. He asked her to make him some sandwiches for the trip. She noticed that he was packing several items into a suitcase. He also seemed to distract her from what was on TV. He left a few minutes later in his van.
Later that night, Mary learned that Hank was actually Dennis, and that he had just been featured on the broadcast. She believes that he was watching it, which caused him to leave. A friend of hers called the telecenter and gave them the Texas license plate number for his van.
Louisiana state troopers soon spotted Dennis' van and they attempted to pull him over. He led them into Mississippi on a fifteen-mile high-speed chase and broke through two police barricades. Eventually, deputies fired at his back tires and caused him to stop. After firing three shots at them, he turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.