DETROIT (WWJ) – Family members always suspected that 37-year-old Walter Bass was responsible for the grisly murder of 47-year-old Evelyn Gunter — a Detroit woman who went missing just over a year ago.
In an exclusive interview, the victim’s sister, Opal Gunter, told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Vickie Thomas that Evelyn Gunter had been dating Bass, who’d served time for rape and attempted murder.
Bass is accused of shooting Evelyn Gunter several times, wrapping her body in barbed wire, and setting it on fire. He was arraigned Wednesday on murder charges.
“I’m relieved for other women, because I was scared of what he could do to anybody else,” Opal Gunter said, adding that she’s not sure if her sister knew that Bass had served time.
“The type of money that we spend and the resources we spend on people who you can’t rehabilitate — it’s astronomical,” she said. “And look at how many people they get to hurt.”
Evelyn Gunter — a mother and grandmother — went missing on March 10, 2013. She was last seen around 6 p.m. by her grandson. Relatives say Gunter had just come home from running errands and was dressed to go out. She left the house and never returned.
Two days after Evelyn Gunter disappeared, charred remains were found in a garage on the city’s west side — but no one knew it was the missing woman because “somebody had gone to great lengths to get her to be unidentifiable,” according to Michigan State Police Detective-Trooper Sarah Krebs.
When Gunter didn’t show up for work, her family knew something bad had happened.
Her daughter told investigators that she received a text message from Gunter’s phone, saying she was going out-of-town to visit a friend. But relatives said the text message was suspicious.
Family members said they couldn’t help but wonder if Evelyn Gunter might have been targeted because she had access to a large amount of cash, after receiving a 401K deposit and paycheck from General Motors.
Evelyn Gunter’s new Chevy Impala was found parked outside of Club Celebrity on Detroit’s west side. Bass, who’d been driving the vehicle, told police that his girlfriend had loaned the car to him while she was out-of-town. Police impounded the vehicle.
The remains stayed at the morgue until her family provided a DNA sample that helped identify Gunter six months later.
The case was handed over to the newly formed Detroit Police Department’s Homicide Task Force, and Bass was arrested on Tuesday. The task force is now looking at Bass for another murder.
Opal Gunter said she wants to see Bass punished.
“Because she suffered, so I want him to suffer,” she said.
As for her sister: “I’m just gonna miss her. I’m just gonna miss the love.”
Bass is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on April 21.