Michigan man charged in Grindr slaying

Mark Latunski was charged in the killing of gay hairstylist Kevin Bacon, 25, who was last seen Christmas Eve before going to meet a man he met on the app.
By Tim Fitzsimons

A Michigan man was charged Monday in the killing of a 25-year-old gay hairstylist who was last seen Christmas Eve.

Mark Latunski.Shiawassee County Jail

Mark Latunski, 50, was arraigned on charges of murder and mutilation. Michigan State Police officer Dave Kaiser declined to release any additional information.

Kevin Bacon, a Schwartz Creek student, told his roommate on Christmas Eve that he was leaving to meet a man he found on Grindr, the popular gay dating app.

Later that night, the roommate received a text from Bacon saying he was having fun and might not make it home that night. When Bacon did not appear at his parents’ house on Christmas Day, he was reported missing.

Local news reports indicate that friends and family members searched fields and wooded areas Friday. Bacon’s car was found, with his belongings, in a parking lot in Clayton Township, close to where he lived. His mutilated body was later found Dec. 28 in Bennington Township, 24 miles away, according to police.

Latunski is expected to appear in court again for preliminary procedures Jan. 8 and 14.

Bacon’s killing is at least the second in the state to be connected to Grindr in 2019. In July, Demetris Nelson of Detroit was charged with murder in the killing of a man whom prosecutors say Nelson targeted using the dating app.

Over the past several years, there have been a number of violent attacks on gay men who were targeted on Grindr across the United States and, perhaps most notoriously, in the United Kingdom, where Stephen Port, dubbed “The Grindr Killer,” was sentenced to life in prison in 2016 after killing at least four victims he met on the app. The killings will be dramatized in a BBC television program called “The Barking Murders,” according to The Guardian.

Michigan State Police said that while many people use dating apps with no issues, “you do have to be careful.”

“You do have to go through the what if's in your mind -- what if it isn't true, what if it is for something bad,” community service trooper Steve Kramer told local news station WJRT.

Bacon’s life was also honored by his namesake — Actor Kevin Bacon shared a post on Instagram, writing, “His life was taken from him much too soon. His love was hair dressing. I bet he would have done a great job on this mess on my head. RIP KB.”

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