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Posted on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Fatal prediction: Solving the mystery of the missing waitress

By Rich Kinsey

The elderly woman told us later that while thumbing through the phone book, she saw many numbers for the Ann Arbor Police Department and she thought the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) sounded the most "interesting." So she called.

The woman, who apparently dined regularly at a local restaurant, said that a young waitress she had befriended told her that if the waitress ever missed work to check on her because her boyfriend had killed her. The caller reported the waitress told her co-workers the same thing.

The diner then explained that she and several of the waitress' co-workers had gone out to the missing waitress' apartment and knocked on the door and got no answer, although they thought they heard someone inside. The diner asked if SIU would "check on the well being" of the young waitress.

If I had taken the call, I would have transferred it to the patrol division who rightfully performed "check on the well being" calls like this.


Flynt |

Normally the police department won’t send undercover/surveillance officers knocking on doors because they are necessarily a scruffy looking bunch. The detective taking the call was bored, with the paperwork we were catching up on, and wanted to get out of the office. He convinced me that we should go check on this woman on our way to lunch.

We went to the waitress' apartment and knocked on the door without success. I sent an officer to figure out who managed the apartment and see if we could obtain a key if necessary. The other officers spread out to knock on neighbors' doors to see what could be learned. We found no one had seen the waitress in several days.

One of the detectives took a look around outside the waitress' ground floor apartment. He found a window without any window covering and could see into the living area of the one bedroom apartment. He called me over to the window and asked me what I thought.

Inside I saw a quilt draped over a sofa. Did it cover the waitress' body, or was it just a quilt thrown on a sofa? There was certainly no movement under the quilt.

Every officer on the unit took a peek and tried to look at every conceivable angle, but we were still vexed. The apartment manager was out to dinner with his family, and the quilt was not enough to justify kicking the door.

The crew looked at me for a decision.

"Let’s eat," I told them.

I reasoned we could interview all the workers at the restaurant while we got a bite to eat for what would be a very long night if the waitress was correct about her own demise. Contrary to television or movies, cops have to eat, rest and refresh to function properly.

Everything worked perfectly. We got the co-workers statements. We were fed and ready for a long night if necessary. While paying the check, the apartment manager called us. We met the manager with the key and knocked one last time with no answer.

We unlocked the door, and I rushed to my right to clear the bedroom. I came out and told the detective who followed me, "I cleared my room. How about you?"

The detective, I’ll call "Disco," just pointed. Once inside the apartment, at the new angle it appeared that there was a foot on a coffee table next to the sofa.

I went over to check under the quilt, lifting it as little as possible to avoid destroying evidence. It was the waitress. She appeared to have been dead several days. We retraced our footsteps out of the apartment and called for the Major Crimes detectives to process the scene.

What was unique here was that, because the original caller had called SIU instead of patrol, we had a crime scene that was pristine, and there were no marked patrol cars outside.

I felt that the killer-boyfriend had already returned to the scene. It could have been him inside when the waitress' co-workers checked earlier and heard noises. So we used all plain cars with as little disruption to the apartment complex as possible, in case the crackhead boyfriend decided to visit.

While the Major Crimes investigators processed the scene, SIU hit the street hunting for the killer. We knocked on doors of the killer's family and friends. We turned up the heat with his family, and soon we got a call from the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office. The killer's family pressured the killer, and he gave himself up at the jail.


The killer confessed to the Major Crimes detective sergeant (whose job I inherited a few years later) and me. Sure enough, the murderer said he had been back several times to check on his girlfriend.

Investigators call this act "undoing." The killer hoped he had dreamed his deed, but it was not to be. He had murdered the waitress in a crack-driven rage.

In 14 hours the case was solved and killer incarcerated for a term of 35-60 years. Tragically, the waitress who predicted her own murder was dead.

If you know anyone who has made similar predictions, urge her or him to contact Safe House Center at 734-995-5444.

Lock it up, don’t leave it unattended, be aware and watch out for your neighbors.

Rich Kinsey is a retired Ann Arbor police detective sergeant who now blogs about crime and safety for He also serves as the Crime Stoppers coordinator for Washtenaw County.



Sun, Dec 4, 2011 : 6:22 a.m.

I clearly remember this. The victim did work at that restaurant out on Jackson Rd. I remember being surprised at how quickly the murderer was found and confessed. It all happened really quickly. Regarding the way things played out when the co-workers went to check on her at her home: This was before the proliferation of cell phones. So, it wouldn't be like now - calling 911 as soon as you heard noises inside of the house....


Sun, Dec 4, 2011 : 4:04 a.m.

I am not a big fan of Rich's stories which usually satisfy his own ego or imply that all police officers are perfect but this story had substance.

Rich Kinsey

Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

For those that doubt this happened, feel free to FOIA the report. It occurred on or about March 21, 1994 in the 700 block of W. Madison.


Sun, Dec 4, 2011 : 4:04 a.m.

How much will it cost?

Dante Marcos

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 1:51 p.m.

Stories like this succeed in getting one or two more customers into Super Target each year.

Mr. Ed

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 2:52 a.m.

I knew the wait staff she was a wonderful person. If I recall she worked at Jonathan's on Jackson Rd.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 2:51 a.m.

My take on this story? Is: When a former law enforcement officer makes a point of giving advice which could save your life or the lives of others: TAKE IT. I for one deeply appreciate former Detective Kinsey's advice, since I've had law enforcement officers as acquaintances, as family members and "just in the line of duty" contacts. If he tells me I should contact Safe House or any other agency if I believe I may be in danger: than I'll darned well do just that if circumstances warrant. I'll keep it in mind - and so should everyone.


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 1:36 a.m.

@talia: "I'll keep it in mind - and so should everyone." -- Is THAT what you're arguing against? That suggests, with due respect to you, that you're trying to justify unhealthy emotional attachments and are too tolerant of those who try to dominate their female partners. I've seen too many women who let themselves be convinced by their attachments or fears get punched, stabbed and stomped. My firm policy is that such male abusers be stopped - forcefully and ASAP. SOME abused women think they are alone: but all of society has the desire to help. But though I have long experience in domestic violence situations, I'm not expert: please consult a professional about your views on this subject.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:30 a.m.

Unfortunately many of the victims in these situations have circumstances that complicate the situation and can't just make a call or a move. It's not as easy as people make it sound. I would urge you to think how hard it is just to break it off with someone in a normal healthy relationship, it's not easy, and when it's more complex because of the dynamics involved in domestic violence (such as threats, fear, coercion and intimidation) it's that much harder.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

Sorry, but I think this story is made up, there are too many things here that just don't wash. Clearly no one should stay in a relationship when they feel threatened, but for some women they feel ashamed or they think they have no where to go. It certainly wouldn't be the first time someone made a big mistake by keeping their mouth shut. Just ask Nicole Simson.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.

That's Nicole Simpson


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.

Like what doesn't wash ?


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 6:59 p.m.

I find the light-spirited tone in the title of this article to be extremely offensive.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 10:07 p.m.

@tinkerbell A job like this? What does that mean? Blogging daily about small time news? Is it really that hard/scary/depressing?


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.

In order to survive a job like this you have to be light spirited


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 10:17 p.m.

Again. Let's joke about this. What if this woman were a close friend or relative of yours? Would it then be a "wash"?


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 7:20 p.m.

Well,I'm offended at your offensiveness so it's a wash

Berda Green

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:15 p.m.

This story is truly TRAGIC! If only the police had been called (to check the well being) of the waitress the first hour she did not report for her shift it might have been a different ending. As for the co-workers checking on her and there was no answer at the door, but heard noises in the apartment (time to call 911 now). I know easier said than done, but after this story is read those that make these predictions should seek help for their friends, and it isn't easy to urge them to just contact the safe house. This waitress made this statement to several, but probably didn't think he would really kill her. Police get many calls (per my scanner) to check the well being of someone, some from out of state, out of town. Watch out for your neighbors and friends, is important! Just Monday night, my friend had dinner with her elderly friend. (82 yrs. old) she had a headache and tooth ache. She was going to try to get into the dentist on Tues. The 82 yr. old never fails to answer her phone, my friend made several calls to her and others. NA. It was snowing, sleeting, and slippery but she was ready to leave home to check on her. I had already told her to call 911 and have an officer meet her there. Long story short, her friend called her after spending several hours in the dentist office as soon as she got home. My friend continued the trip there, picked up her pain meds, and stayed a while to make sure she was OK. Those that know my friend are truly BLESSED! Great story Rich!


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

Supposing this is a true story, the comment that asks why the waitress didn't call Safehouse saddens me, so many people out there blame the victim and or have little understanding of how hard it can be for a victim of domestic violence to leave their partner. What's worse is that the entire restaurant staff and a customer knew this woman feared for her life, why did none of them help, or if they did why wasn't it effective? Why did they wait until she didn't show up for work to take action. The reaction to this story of people asking why the victim didn't call Safehouse highlights exactly why she did not, if her coworkers didn't take her seriously enough, what would give her reason to think she had a shot at help? It takes a community to end domestic violence, victims can't just "get out" and the rest of us cant expect this issue to "go away" on it's own. The community has to be committed to putting an end to stories like these, while Washtenaw County has a strong community devoted to ending domestic violence, more can always be done, I hope this story will urge others to get involved and learn more about domestic violence, stopping domestic violence starts with education.

Matt Cooper

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 10:03 p.m.

"What's worse is that the entire restaurant staff and a customer knew this woman feared for her life, why did none of them help, or if they did why wasn't it effective? Why did they wait until she didn't show up for work to take action." And what would you suggest they have done? Follow her home every day and then to work in the morning? Perhaps ask if they can crash on her sofa just to keep an eye on her? Maybe they, being mostly strangers, should have just camped outside her door? I'm not trying to be sarcastic about this, but c'mon, there's only so much the people in an abused person's life can do. And I am NOT blaming the victim at all here, but if someone is being abused they have a responsibility to take action and ask for help directly. The people around them cannot be expected to play guessing games and hope they can come up with a solution to a problem they haven't even been aked to help solve.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 2:12 p.m.

What's tragic is some children are taught this is ok behavior to do unto others while others are taught they can't get themselves out of these situations.

Ron Granger

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 2:05 p.m.

"Contrary to television or movies, cops have to eat, rest and refresh to function properly." -- Surely you gest. We all saw Dirty Harry and witnessed the brutal choke down Callahan does on that coney dog in the opening scene. It didn't have a chance.

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

Do you feel lucky hot dog...well do you punk


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Great story, Rich!


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

When did this happen? Is it news or just a self-serving war story.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Always someone who wants to take a cheap shot at the police or Mr Kinsey.Get a life


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

New here? All Rich's stories are of the war story variety. None are self serving though. They are interesting and informative, and this one may possibly save a life. But if it bothers you, I'm sure will take it down and cancel Rich's column.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 11:37 a.m.

Tragic. If the woman suspected her own death was coming, why didn't she call Safe House? I always enjoy Rich Kinsey's column, but this one is so tragic.