When widow Frances Lacey was murdered in July 1960 on Mackinac Island, only a few meager clues were found by police, and the case soon turned cold. But more than sixty years later, will those same clues finally solve the mystery?
On July 24, 1960, the quaint charm and serenity of Mackinac, nestled between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, was shattered by Lacey’s brutal death. Despite a massive manhunt and thousands of pages of police reports, her killer was never caught.
Now, in GRIM PARADISE, true crime author Rod Sadler (Killing Women) delves into the secrets of one of Michigan's most perplexing murder cases. Offering an in-depth and suspenseful account of the long-standing mystery, he poses the question:
Could advanced DNA technology lead to the identity of the Mackinac Island murderer as it did recently in the case of the Golden State Killer?
Find out in GRIM PARADISE: The Cold Case Search for the Mackinac Island Killer.
Things like this aren't supposed to happen on Mackinac Island. Rod Sadler's access to the actual police file regarding the murder of Frances Lacey adds much to this sad story, and as a retired police officer, his methodological 'investigation of the investigation' and reporting of this crime are second to none."—DEB MALEWSKI, Historian and Researcher, Contributing Writer, Community News
Rod Sadler has done a very good job of researching the materials, providing references and explaining the events in this years-old cold case [and] an exceptional job explaining what the family members have gone through in addition to the feelings and fears of the community.”
—EDWIN MOORE, Livingston County Sheriff's Office Cold Case Investigator
From the Book
Now, on Thursday night, the news spread quickly, and there was a constant barrage of interruptions as the phone continued to ring at the Town Crier offices for updates from media outlets around the state. The small staff worked tirelessly past midnight as they added new information and made updates to the story as they learned additional details.
Hours later, the staffer was back on the phone and told Marudas, “Get these papers over here early tomorrow morning, whatever you have to do.”1 It was past midnight, and he’d lost all sense of time. He knew that if the Town Crier hit the streets early in the morning, it would be the first paper to report the breaking news.
By 7:30 a.m., Pete Marudas, now near exhaustion, was still in Cheboygan finishing the print. He wouldn’t make it back to the Island until he could catch the first ferry of the day. He loaded the final copy in his car and made the nineteen-minute drive back to Mackinaw City in record time knowing he had to make it on the first ferry to the Island. Hurrying to the dock, he could see several newsmen from around the state already waiting to be ferried to Mackinac Island. Marudas quietly boarded with them, silently pushing his cart loaded with the Town Crier.
By 9:00 a.m., with temperatures already in the mid-seventies and expected to reach the low nineties later in the day, Marudas rolled the pushcart loaded with the special edition across the front porch of the Mackinac Island Town Crier, and at 9:03, the first edition hit the streets.
Marudas had done it. This would be the biggest story published by the small newspaper since it first began circulation on the Island just three years earlier.
The original headline was supposed to read “Missing Widow Still Stumps Police.” The revised headline read “Widow’s Beaten Body Found.”
About the Author
ROD SADLER retired in 2012 after a decorated thirty-year career in law enforcement. He’s the author of To Hell I Must Go (2015) and A Slayer Waits (2017), and his most recent work, Killing Women, was the backstory for the True Crime Network documentaries I Survived a Serial Killer and Making a Serial Killer. Rod lives in Michigan.
In this sixty-two-year-old homicide, I identify a new person of interest—He was alive and in prison for murder when I began writing this book. His first arrest was one year after the homicide that I write about."