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Saturday, January 26, 2008

[MI] Last words of Officer's wife, Lori DeKleine

...DeKleine hatched a plan in December to kill her, then earlier this month went to her house in the middle of the night, lifted the garage door to get in, and hid in the attic above the garage in freezing temperatures until his teenage children left about 7:45 a.m. When they did leave, he emerged, strangled Lori DeKleine with the strap during a struggle in the kitchen, then dragged her body into the basement and staged a scene to look like a suicide...

Wife to Holland cop: 'Think about the kids'
WOOD TV- Grand Rapids MI
Jan 25, 2008 09:22 AM CST
Updated: Jan 25, 2008 05:10 PM CST
[Excerpts] Lori DeKleine's last words to her husband were, "Think about the kids." Her husband, Holland Police officer Ken DeKleine, replied, "I am thinking about the children." This information came to light at DeKleine's preliminary exam for the murder of his wife, and his attempts to make it look like a suicide. It was also revealed he'd thought about killing her for nearly a year... DeKleine admitted he'd been planning to murder his wife since January 31, 2007. But it wasn't until early December 2007 he actually formulated a plan. Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Gary Miles testifed the day of the murder, DeKleine crawled up into the attic space above the garage and waited for his children to leave for school. He crawled down and confronted his wife. He used a gray strap to strangle her in the kitchen, and a fight ensued. She bit his lip severely, and blood got all over her clothes and his. Her last words were, "Think about the kids." He replied, "I am thinking about the children"... He disposed of some of the bloody clothes and went to a Med Center to get his lip sewn up. "He then went across the street or somewhere in the area to a McDonald's, bought himself a chocolate shake," Miles testified. DeKleine then returned to work at the Holland Police Department around 3:45 p.m. Divorce records obtained by 24 Hour News 8 shed light on DeKleine's frame of mind. He expressed concerns over his wife's mental stability and her ability to provide their two teenage children with a safe and stable home. In the custody petition, DeKleine claims his wife suffered from mental illness and had attempted suicide. He also insinuates his wife was having an affair with a therapist she was seeing. DeKleine, who is currently on an emergency unpaid suspension from the police department will next be in court on February 4, at which time a trial date will be set...

January 12, 2008 - 9:25AM
[Excerpts] The wife of a Holland police officer, found dead. Her husband, the officer, is charged with murder. A 13 year-veteran of the Holland police is in the Ottawa County jail Friday night on charges of open murder. Investigators with the Michigan State Police and Ottawa County Sheriff's Department say he killed his wife. Detectives arrested Officer Ken DeKleine Friday evening after an investigation that started Thursday night and continued all day Friday... One of he and his wife Lori's two teenage children found their mom dead in the basement and called 911. The police chief says the couple had been separated for some time and were in the process of getting a divorce. He says Officer DeKleine was on duty Thursday night when that emergency call came in. Officer DeKleine was participating in a training exercise. The chief could not say how Lori DeKleine died or when she died. Initially detectives thought Lori had killed herself...

The Grand Rapids Press
Friday January 25, 2008
[Excerpts] Officer Ken DeKleine first thought of murdering his wife the day she took out a restraining order against him. He carried out the plan earlier this month by hiding in the separated couple's attic overnight before he attacked her with a climbing strap and rubber gloves, a detective testified this morning. Michigan State Police Detective Gary Miles said DeKleine confessed to killing Lori DeKleine, telling him Lori DeKleine told him to "think of the kids" as he was strangling her with the strap. He replied to her: "I am thinking of the kids," said Miles, recounting DeKleine's confession. Miles said DeKleine told him he "wanted to cause her death and kill her. He hoped to get away with it so he could spend his life with his children without her"... DeKleine hatched a plan in December to kill her, then earlier this month went to her house in the middle of the night, lifted the garage door to get in, and hid in the attic above the garage in freezing temperatures until his teenage children left about 7:45 a.m. When they did leave, he emerged, strangled Lori DeKleine with the strap during a struggle in the kitchen, then dragged her body into the basement and staged a scene to look like a suicide, police said. DeKleine, whose shirt was bloody after Lori DeKleine bit his lip, tossed his sweatshirt and his shoes out the window as he drove to his apartment, Miles said. He hid Lori DeKleine's shirt, which he also removed because it was stained with his blood, in her home's attic...
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv alleged suicide abuse law enforcement public safety fatality fatalities murder michigan state fear afraid]


  1. Remember Lori DeKleine as a brave and resilient woman
    Holland Sentinel
    Letters to the editor Opinion
    January 19, 2008

    There is shock, confusion and overwhelming sadness reverberating in numerous and various ways throughout the many small communities that exist within the greater community of the lakeshore. We've been stunned by the events of Lori Meulman DeKleine's death and are left wondering what preceded it.

    As for what will follow her death, one can only hope, for the sake of Lori's family, Ken's family, and those who invested deeply in caring with and for her, that the voyeuristic anticipation of the unveiling of the "juicy details" will somehow be controlled.

    In order to escape the guilt that must be shared corporately for ignoring the signs of abuse, we tend to blame and explain. However, "Did you know ...?" or "I heard that ... ," only crucify the truth and intensify the pain. Malicious lies were spread for a long time before Lori's death, and perpetuating the existence of such lies is not only destructive and unjust, but it dishonors Lori, her family, friends and this community.

    It is time to put the focus where it belongs.

    On Jan. 8, two nights before she died, Lori shared her hopes for the future. At the monthly meeting of the FOCUS+ adult ADHD advocacy group, of which she was a member and leader, Lori shared her deep faith and confidently challenged the group to see obstacles as opportunities. Her resiliency and relentless tenacity for finding solutions to problems, encouraged the listeners who were there that night.

    Diverting attention from herself, she asked us to consider, "What's on your plate? What are you carrying?" She then handed each group a paper plate to pass so each person could share the obstacle she wanted to turn into opportunity for growth in 2008.

    Lori's contagious optimism, profound and expressive writing, quick wit and sparkling smile were gifts to those who knew and loved her and will carry us through dark nights ahead.

    Ruth Evenhouse



  2. Personal protection order should preclude working as a cop
    Holland Sentinel Opinion
    Letters to the editor
    Thursday, January 24, 2008

    As a victim of domestic violence, the recent news about the DeKleine family really hit home for me. But what really angered me was that Lori had a personal protection order against Ken and he was still able to work as a police officer with a gun. Don't you think this should be a matter of concern? How can someone serve this community as a police officer and have a personal protection order on him?
    Police are supposed to protect and serve us. We can maybe understand how Lori DeKleine must have felt. Who protected her? Just a piece of paper?

    I have found out that domestic-abuse victims have very few rights; the person who committed the crime has all the rights. Meanwhile, the victim lives in fear every day for her and her family. I have been there and it is not a nice way to live.

    So my heart goes out to the families involved, especially the children. My prayer is they find peace and a new hope for the future, as they will have many difficult days ahead. May our police department have a better understanding that when there is a concern to not just say it is OK or there are no signs of "bad behavior," and really see now to take steps to do something about the problem.

    Sherry Alexander

    Laketown Township


  3. Save your sympathy for the victim, not the killer
    Holland Sentinel
    Letters to the editor Opinion
    January 18, 2008

    It is really tiring to read about what a "good man" Ken DeKleine, the Holland police officer alleged to have killed his wife, is.
    Many abusers look like "nice guys." People generally judge by external appearances. The accused did not "just snap." This is his final act of rage. Unfortunately, victims of such men are seldom listened to or heard because their abuser is such a "good man."

    Abusers and terrorists do not wear horns. They look like almost everyone else. They're cops, priests, ministers, teachers, scoutmasters, coaches. They sing in church choirs.

    Our society always wants us to fear the alien, the one who is not like us. However. most abuse occurs from people who are well-known to us. We have a great deal to learn.

    To continue to weep for the killer and the abuser is wrong-headed. He deserves justice and nothing else.

    We delude ourselves that these are "good men" because of their positions in society. The victims are the "good" people whom we should honor and learn from. Women like Lori DeKleine deserve the press coverage, not the killer. I would much prefer to see coverage and read about what a "good woman" the victim of this tragedy was.

    Stan Roth



  4. Police officer thought of killing wife last year
    Ken DeKleine said personal protection order was start

    Holland Sentinel
    BY MEGAN SCHMIDT megan.schmidt@hollandsentinel.com (616) 546-4279
    Saturday, January 26, 2008

    In the moments before her death, Lori DeKleine begged her husband, Holland police Officer Ken DeKleine, to "think of the kids" as he strangled her with a strap, a Michigan State Police detective testified during a preliminary exam in Holland District Court on Friday.

    Sgt. Gary Miles said DeKleine confessed to the murder, saying that he'd first thought of killing Lori after she filed a personal protection order against him in January 2007.

    Since then, the couple had separated and were in the midst of a divorce when Lori, 43, was found dead in the basement of her Calvin Avenue home earlier this month.

    DeKleine told Miles that around 3 a.m. on Jan. 10, he hid in the attic of her house and waited for his two children to leave for school.

    He planned to kill Lori after she got in the shower, part of her usual morning routine, Miles said.

    But those plans changed when Lori called in sick to work around 10 a.m.

    DeKleine told Miles that he climbed down from the attic and began to strangle Lori in the kitchen with a climbing strap.

    "(Lori) made a statement, 'Think of the kids,'" meaning their two teenage children, Miles said, to which DeKleine replied that he was.

    After checking her pulse to make sure she was dead, DeKleine dragged Lori's body into the basement and tied a clean, yellow strap around her neck to make it appear that she had committed suicide, Miles said.

    When DeKleine left the house around 1 p.m., he told Miles that he threw his blood-stained clothing out of his car and drove to Prime Care to have a cut lip treated, which Lori had bit during the struggle.

    He later bought some peroxide for the injury at Model Drug and drove to McDonald's for a chocolate milkshake before going in for his shift at work that afternoon, Miles said.

    Defense attorney Floyd Farmer asked Miles if De-Kleine had expressed concern that Lori may have had a romantic relationship with her therapist. Miles said DeKleine had mentioned it during the interview.

    An autopsy indicated that suicide by hanging was not the cause of Lori's death, according to testimony by David Start, Ottawa County medical examiner.

    "There was no deep furrow or indentation that we usually see with hangings, deep in the tissue of the neck," Start said.

    Start also said scrapes and bruises on Lori's body and bite marks on her tongue show that there was a struggle before she died.

    Fractures above and behind her voice box were also not consistent with a suicidal hanging.

    The cause of death was determined to be strangulation.

    Holland police officer Jeffrey Velthouse, the first to arrive on the scene after Lori was found unresponsive, was handed a tissue as he sniffled on the stand Friday.

    Velthouse said that as he entered the house, which he recognized immediately as the DeKleines' residence, he was directed to the basement by DeKleine's teenage son.

    In the laundry room, he found Lori's body with a yellow strap tied around her neck.

    "I reached down and touched her right elbow and could tell rigor mortis had set in," he said. "Her body temperature was cold."

    After testimony, DeKleine's charge of open murder was forwarded to circuit court for trial in Grand Haven.

    His arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 4.

    Work status

    Capt. Jack Dykstra of the Holland police said Friday that since officer Ken DeKleine's arrest due to suspicion of murdering his wife Lori, he has been placed on emergency suspension without pay.

    "Basically that means that it's a serious situation, it involves something that caused us to have to immediately stop his employment status, and no pay is involved," Dykstra said. "Anytime something serious like this happens, typically an employee is suspended and there is further follow up and a decision is reached to either discipline or terminate" the employee, he said.

    "It has nothing to do with whether or not we believe (the allegations) are true," he added.



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