Michigan Murders: John Norman Collins Kills 7 Women in 2 Years
On July 9th, 1967, Mary Terese Fleszar of Willis, Michigan went for a walk near the campus of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She would never be seen again.
Fleszar would be the first of 7 victims claimed in a series of killings now called the "Michigan Murders". The man responsible for 2 years of unrest in Ypsilanti is John Norman Collins.
A Clean-Cut Eastern Michigan University Student Killer Hides In Plain Site
Though referred to as Michigan's Ted Bundy, Collins's killing spree predated Bundy's by nearly 7 years. Collins began his murderous ways in 1967 whereas Bundy started in 1974.
Between July 1967 and July 1969, the bodies of 7 Michigan women would be found in varying states of abuse, with ages ranging from 13 to 23. Here are the names of his victims and the dates their remains were recovered according to the Detroit Free Press:
- Mary Terese Fleszar, 19, Willis, Michigan
- Body found on August 7, 1967
- Joan Elspeth Schell, 20, Plymouth, Michigan
- Body found on July 5, 1968
- Jane Louise Mixer, 23, Muskegon, Michigan
- Body found on March 21, 1969
- Maralynn Skelton, 16, Romulus, Michigan
- Body found on March 25, 1969
- Dawn Louise Basom, 13, Ypsilanti, Michigan
- Body found on April 16, 1969
- Alice Elizabeth Kalom, 21, Portage, Michigan
- Body found on June 9, 1969
- Karen Sue Beineman, 18, Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Body found on July 26, 1969
Collins would use his charming demeanor and good looks to lure women into compromising situations. For instance, he would bait women by asking if they'd like to go on a motorcycle ride, which would often be the last time they were ever seen.
His victims were brutally sexually abused in a truly sickening fashion and Collins would often return to the sights he had buried or abused them. His second victim's body, Schell, had been stabbed and had her feet cut off and her clothes piled near her body.
His youngest victim, Basom, was strangled to death and her body slashed. It's no wonder the Ypsilanti Community was terrified of Collins and his deeds.
Michigan Law Enforcement Brings John Norman Collins to Justice
Collins was arrested 5 days after his last victim's body was discovered. Taken into custody on July 31, 1969, Collins had been a suspect in each of the killings but it wasn't until a witness who had seen her ride away with Collins on a motorcycle that police were able to arrest him.
He would eventually be charged with only 1 of the murders he is credited for committing, but he would receive life in prison after being found guilty of the murder of Karen Sue Beineman. Michigan State Police continue to investigate the other 6 murders in hopes of giving the families the closure they need.
Collins still maintains he is innocent to this day and is still alive today, serving a Life Sentence, and is housed at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan.