Raymand Vannieuwenhoven found himself in jail and convicted when he licked an envelope for a police survey about their performance and mailed it in. He was arrested after his DNA matched the killer of a couple murdered in 1976. This week, a judge sentenced Vannieuwenhoven to two decades in prison for the crime in a case that went unresolved for over 40 years.
25-year-old David Schuldes and his 24-year-old fiancé Ellen Matheys were found murdered in McClintock Park in Marinette County. According to court documents, the two planned to marry, and on the day, they died, they were set to go for a stroll when an unknown person killed them with a.30 caliber firearm. Schuldes was shot through the neck. Although Matheys fled, her unknown killer caught up with her and dragged her into the woods, where she was sexually assaulted before being shot twice in the chest.
DNA samples of the couple were collected and later tested. Although someone in the Vannieuwenhoven was always suspects, decades later, Raymond’s DNA showed a match at the crime scene, according to court documents. A system known as genetic genealogy helped Vannieuwenhoven’s arrest and conviction. Genetic genealogy was created to identify suspects in decade-old cases.
Before his conviction, Vannieuwenhoven was charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of first-degree sexual assault in March 2019. However, the sexual assault charge was thrown out due to the statute of limitations, but there is no statute of limitations for homicide.
After two hours of deliberation, a Marinette County jury found Vannieuwenhoven guilty.
Judge James Morrison ruled Vannieuwenhoven said due to the “depraved” and “unspeakable” nature of the crimes, the back-to-back sentences were appropriate. From all the evidence that I know and have heard in this case, I don’t think there was any reason to believe that Mr. Vannieuwenhoven even knew these two young people,” said Morrison. “From what I can see and tell, they were selected at random.”
Several of the victims’ family members asked Morrison to give Vannieuwenhoven a life sentence. Vannieuwenhoven’s defense attorneys wanted to introduce evidence of two possible suspects, but Morrison denied their motions. Vannieuwenhoven will appeal the decision.