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. Dennis was a property assessor and Marilynn was a Coldwater high school guidance counselor. The two had been married for several years and raised three children. However, there was great tension in the marriage; after Dennis became withdrawn, he accused Marilynn of turning the children against them.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. Dennis tried to keep the marriage intact; however, the divorce was finalized in December 1989. Dennis was granted bi-weekly visitation rights, but the 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. She later changed the locks on the doors, but Dennis 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 his children. His 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 Dennis, he became angry and started yelling at her. He then grabbed her and pushed her down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, he continued to hit her, even after his kids pleaded him to stop. The 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 his children that he was taking her to the hospital. The DePues, however, never arrived at the hospital. An immediate and widespread search began for the couple.
Later that afternoon, Ray and Marie Thorton were going on a Sunday drive on Snow Perry Road near Coldwater, Michigan, when a speeding van passed them. They noticed that the man's license plate began with "GZ", but did not pay much attention until a few minutes later. As they passed an abandoned schoolhouse, Marie noticed the van's driver carrying a bloody sheet behind the school. 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. The Thortons turned around and noticed the van's driver changing his license plate. They also noticed blood on the passenger side door. They decided to return to the schoolhouse, 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 DePue.
Tire tracks at the schoolhouse belonged to his van and blood on the sheet was Marilynn's. Based on the evidence, it appeared that Dennis had killed Marilynn. 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 relatives. In the letters, he tried to justify Marilynn's death. Altogether, he sent a total of seventeen letters, 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 this segment was used as an inspiration for the opening scene in the 2001 movie Jeepers Creepers.
Results: Solved. At 8:30 pm 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 some sandwiches for the trip. She noticed that he was gathering several items in 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 her boyfriend, Hank Queen, was actually Dennis DePue, and that he had just been featured on Unsolved Mysteries. She believes that he was watching the show, which caused him to leave. A friend of Mary's called the telecenter and gave them the Texas license plate number for Dennis's van.
Louisiana state troopers soon spotted his van and they attempted to pull them 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 the vehicle to stop. After firing three shots at deputies, Dennis turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.
- Murder victim died of a gunshot wound
- Man featured on crime show takes own life
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- Man wanted for murder dies in police shootout
- Fugitive dies
- Case ends in death
- Authorities trace DePue's last actions
- Television program unmasks local fugitive
- Did 1990 Michigan murder inspire 'Jeepers Creepers' film?
- Dennis DePue: The Real-Life Killer That Inspired Jeepers Creepers
- Arson suspected in an abandoned school fire
- Marilynn and Dennis at Find a Grave
- Dennis DePue at WikiTree