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84-year-old man gets consecutive life sentences in 1976 double homicide

The deaths of David Schuldes and Ellen Matheys went unsolved for more than 40 years before investigators used a DNA sample to arrest Raymand Vannieuwenhoven.
/ Source: Associated Press

MARINETTE, Wis. — A judge sentenced an 84-year-old man Thursday to consecutive life sentences in connection with a double homicide in northeastern Wisconsin, a case that had lain dormant for decades before investigators used a DNA sample to make an arrest.

A jury convicted Raymand Vannieuwenhoven in July of killing 25-year-old David Schuldes and 24-year-old Ellen Matheys. The couple was found shot in McClintock Park in Marinette County.

A judge sentenced 84-year-old Raymand Vannieuwenhoven to consecutive life sentences in connection with a double homicide in northeastern Wisconsin.Marinette County Jail / AP file

Judge James Morrison said the life sentences were appropriate due to the “depraved” and “unspeakable” nature of the crimes, Fox affiliate WLUK of Green Bay reported.

The couple was engaged to be married and had planned to camp in the park. They were about to go for a walk when someone shot Schuldes. The killer chased Matheys down, sexually assaulted her and then shot her twice in the chest.

The slayings went unsolved for more than 40 years. In 2019, investigators determined that a DNA sample taken from evidence at the crime scene came from the Vannieuwenhoven family. A DNA sample from Vannieuwenhoven himself — obtained from a licked envelope for a survey on police performance that he filled out — matched the sample from the scene, according to the criminal complaint.

Vannieuwenhoven was charged in March 2019 with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of first-degree sexual assault. That count was ultimately dismissed because the statue of limitations for such a charge had expired. There is no statute of limitations for homicide.

WLUK reported that Vannieuwenhoven gave a defiant and sometimes rambling statement during the sentencing hearing, criticizing District Attorney DeShea Morrow.

Several of the victims’ family members asked Morrison to impose life sentences but Vannieuwenhoven’s daughter said the only thing that Morrow proved was that her father had an affair.

Defense attorneys tried to introduce evidence implicating two other possible suspects but Morrison denied their motions, setting up a potential appeal.