Man charged in Marinette County double murder held on $1 million bond

Published: Mar. 21, 2019 at 3:22 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

A man charged in a 1976 double murder in Marinette County is being held on a $1 million cash bond.

Raymand L. Vannieuwenhoven, 82, appeared before a Marinette County judge via video from jail Friday. He's charged with two counts of First Degree Murder and one count of First Degree Sexual Assault.

“The fact that this case is more than 40 years old, and if in fact Mr. Vannieuwenhoven were guilty -- and again, we don’t know that at this point, but if he were -- he would’ve been hiding in plain sight for more than 40 years advises me that a very substantial cash bail is necessary at this point," said Judge James Morrison.

Vannieuwenhoven is accused of killing David Schuldes and Ellen Matheys on July 9, 1976. The couple were slain while on a camping trip at McClintock Park in the Town of Silver Cliff.

Autopsies showed Schuldes, 25, was shot in the neck and died instantly. Matheys, 24, was sexually assaulted then shot twice. Her body was found in a wooded area outside the park.

The arrest was announced last Friday, March 15, more than 40 years after the murders.

"Do you understand that you're facing two potential life sentences plus an additional 15 years? So this is a matter that is extraordinarily serious for you," Judge Morrison told Vannieuwenhoven.

Evidence from the sexual assault was submitted and a DNA profile was established. Investigators developed persons of interest and obtained DNA samples.

Years went by without a hit in the DNA database. The Marinette County Sheriff's Office started working with the company Parabon Nanolabs on DNA analysis.

A criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News details how they narrowed down their list to focus on Vannieuwenhoven.

On Oct. 9, 2018, investigators were contacted by Parabon that a genealogist who looked at the case and come up with a possible suspect. The genealogist was able to narrow down a suspect pool to a family with ties to the Green Bay area.

The genealogist identified the Vannieuwenhovens, believing it could be one of four sons or four grandsons in the family.

In January, investigators did surveillance on one of the Vannieuwenhoven sons and obtained a garbage bag from his home. Socks, a bandage and an inhaler were set to the crime lab for testing. It was confirmed that he wasn't their suspect.

They moved on to another brother. A detective had coffee with a second Vannieuwenhoven brother and took the man's cup for DNA analysis. He was not the match.

The next subject was Raymand Vannieuwenhoven, who lived in the Town of Lakewood. A deputy approached him and asked him to take a survey. The deputy asked Raymand to seal the envelope.

On March 7, saliva from the envelope was sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab. The complaint states that it was found to be the single source male DNA profile developed from semen found on Ellen Matheys' shorts.

A search warrant was executed at Raymand's home on March 14 and he was taken into custody.

"Genetic genealogy is highly accurate. However, no arrests are made based on our work. It’s really highly scientific tips that we provide to investigators -- it’s a lead generation -- and then they have to take the information that is provided through genetic genealogy analysis and build their traditional forensic case," Parabon Nanolabs chief genetic genealogist CeCe Moore told Action 2 News in a phone interview Friday.

The complaint does not detail a possible motive for the crimes.

In court Friday, Judge Morrison said Vannieuwenhoven does not qualify for a public defender. That means he will have to hire his own attorney.

Vannieuwenhoven's daughter spoke to the court as his Power of Attorney.

Judge Morrison said, "Until he is represented by counsel and we can look at this matter more fully, I am going to set the cash bail that the state requested $1 million dollars."

Vannieuwenhoven's next court appearance is scheduled for April 30. If the family secures an attorney, the court appearance could be moved up. The family told the judge they would need at least three weeks.

In 2014, Wisconsin started allowing the use of familial DNA testing in the state.

In 2015, Target 2 Investigates reported on the use of familial DNA to find a man wanted for a brutal rape on Green Bay's east side. A rape kit was taken, but there were no matches in the DNA database.

However, they got a partial hit on the suspect's father, who was in the system for an unrelated crime. Police say that helped them identify the man's son as the rape suspect.