MARINETTE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Marinette County Sheriff's Office has made an arrest in the 1976 double murder of David Schuldes and Ellen Matheys.
On Friday, Sheriff Jerry Sauve held a news conference to announce the arrest of Raymond L. Vannieuwenhoven, 82, Lakewood.
Vannieuwenhoven was arrested on March 14 after a DNA sample tied him to the crimes, Sauve said.
CLICK HERE to watch the news conference.
On July 9, 1976, David Schuldes and Ellen Matheys were slain while on a camping trip in the Town of Silver Cliff.
Schuldes, 25, was found shot to death in McClintock Park. Matheys, 24, was sexually assaulted and shot to death. Her body was found in a wooded area outside the park.
"Our investigators, through proper and careful preserving of evidence of that assault, was vital in bringing us where we are today," Sauve says.
Evidence was submitted and a DNA profile was established. Investigators developed persons of interest and obtained DNA samples. There was no match for many years.
In 2001, investigators released a sketch of the possible suspect and developed more leads. They continued to interview persons of interest.
Technology and science of DNA continued to advance.
In July 2018, the sheriff released sketches of a suspect created by using DNA analysis. A Snapshot Phenotype Report produced by Parabon Corporation shows what the suspect would look like at age 25 and what the suspect would look like age progressed to age 65.
They interviewed people reported to resemble the man in the composite sketches. Investigators took DNA samples from those men.
"With Parabon's help and determined, continued investigative efforts, we finally obtained a DNA sample from a suspect who turned in to be our arrestee, and submitted it for comparison to our crime lab. As a result of that comparison we made our arrest yesterday, March 14, 2019," Sheriff Sauve said.
Raymond L. Vannieuwenhoven is being held in the Marinette County Jail. Investigators are working with the Marinette County District Attorney's Office on a criminal complaint. No court appearance has been scheduled.
The sheriff could not say if Vannieuwenhoven knew Matheys and Schuldes or the motive behind the crimes. Investigators still have work to do, Sauve says.
Sheriff Sauve says the families of Ellen Matheys and David Schuldes are thankful.
"I spoke with them last evening. After all these years that's very difficult. They are thankful that we never gave up hope and we persevered," Sauve says.
The Sheriff also met with the family of Vannieuwenhoven.
"To the family of the person we arrested in this case, I empathize with them. I have empathy for them," Sauve said.