PARK TWP. (AP) – An Ottawa County man was charged Monday in the fatal shootings of his sister and her husband in 1987, one of the oldest unsolved murder cases in western Michigan.
Ryan Wyngarden, 50, was charged with murder in the deaths of 22-year-old Gail Brink and her husband, Rick Brink, 28. Gail Brink was killed in her bed, while her husband was found dead in his Chevy Blazer in the driveway at the couple’s home in Park Township, about 35 miles southwest of Grand Rapids.
Wyngarden was denied bail and sent back to the Ottawa County jail during a brief court hearing. He said he would accept a court-appointed attorney.
“I guess I’ll have to,” Wyngarden said.
During a news conference, investigators wouldn’t say why they finally settled on the Zeeland man. But according to a court document obtained by MLive.com, Wyngarden’s wife told police he admitted to her that he was the killer.
Two detectives assigned to the case in 2011 conducted approximately 200 interviews. More details will likely be released at a probable cause hearing in February.
“In regards to his involvement in the crime, information really came to the forefront in the last couple of months,” Ottawa County Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Bennett said.
Shortly after the murders, Wyngarden spoke highly of the couple during an interview with the Holland Sentinel.
“They were the nicest people in the world. I’ve never seen a couple get along better than they did,” Wyngarden told the newspaper in 1987.
One of the lead investigators, Venus Repper, said she was pleased to finally give answers to relatives who have been waiting for more than 25 years.
“It’s being able to sit down and give closure to the family,” she said.
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