(WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)

Three teens are in State Police custody in connection with a fatal stabbing in Michigan’s Thumb area.

Two intruders wearing Halloween masks climbed through a bedroom window of a rural Michigan home and stabbed a man and his wife as they lay in bed, killing the husband and leaving the woman with more than 20 knife wounds before fleeing the scene, police said Friday.

Neighbors identified the victims as Paul and Mara Skinner. Public records show Paul Skinner was 47 and Mara Skinner was 44.

The couple’s 17-year-old daughter and a son in his 20s were in the basement around midnight when the attack took place. The son ran upstairs when he heard the commotion and found his father bleeding to death on the living room floor, Yale Police Chief Michael Redman said. The mother suffered a punctured lung.

“One saved the other,” Redman said.

The dying husband was able to describe how one of the attackers had worn a mask depicting an old man’s face, Redman said.  Two bloodied knives were found in the house.

“It was a brutal attack,” he said. “Stabbing deaths are pretty bad crime scenes.”

Redman said the attack did not appear to have been random, but declined to provide immediate details.

K-9 units from the St. Clair County and Sanilac County Sheriff departments prowled the area and investigators from the Michigan State Police crime lab worked the scene Friday at the home in the 500 block of S. Main Street in Yale, a farming  village of about 2,000 residents. Redman said they had a suspect in mind and were searching for a specific person.

Officers arrested two men as suspects, ages 18 and 19, around 9:30 a.m. only a few miles from the crime scene . Police later said a third suspect, a 17-year-old girl, had been taken into custody earlier in the day.

The father of one of the suspects told The Associated Press his son was in the family’s backyard when state police converged on their home. The AP was not identifying him because his son has not yet been charged.

The suspects were taken to the  Richmond State Police Post.  Charges were expected to be filed against the three on Saturday or Sunday, officials said.

Yale Police Chief Mike Redmond (WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)

Mara Skinner was in serious, but stable, condition later Friday. She reportedly is a teacher at Yale Junior High School.

Area residents are shocked this happened in their neighborhood.

“It gives you pause for thought because, you know, a lot of times up in here we live such a quiet life. A lot of times our doors are never locked, that kinda thing,” said Darwin Fretenborough.

“My dad works late and a neighbor called to make sure our doors were locked,” said 23-year-old Stephanie Trupp, a hospital secretary. “We were shocked. They are nice people. We don’t know why anyone would want to hurt them.”

Stephanie Trupp’s sister Courtney, 17, is friends with the victims’ 17-year-old daughter and said the mother was her junior high school teacher for three years.

She currently teaches eighth grade, Courtney Trupp said.

“Everyone loves her,” she said of her former teacher. “They didn’t have any enemies.”

(© MMX WWJ Radio, All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (11)
  1. Jerry says:

    It’s obvious that knives of all kinds need to be banned by state and federal law. Knives kill people. First the Flint “serial stabber” and now more stabbings.

    1. jessie says:

      i agree. there is to much violence :(

  2. jessie says:

    this is my 8th grade teacher . everyone please pray for the family.

  3. lisa says:

    Ban Knives and guns and ban everything. How about a ban on crazy ! Knives and guns don’t kill people on their own ! It is kids with no discipline, no respect and no direction ! And it is us as parents that are failing society at an alarming rate. How about a license to have children ? And classes to take once a month as to how to discipline your child, if you are fortunate enough to have one. And where in the heck did the crazy idea that we need to be our children’s friend come into play, whoever said that needs a ban on speaking or writing ever again, not guns and knives !

    1. Cindie says:

      You do not know the Skinner’s…
      I do.
      They have raised four wonderful children, with direction, discipline, and the kids know very much about respect. Shame on you for making this assumption.
      Better if you just say a prayer for the family. It is obvious this is going to be a difficult time.

  4. Jensen says:

    I had Mrs. Skinner as my 8th grade EMP teacher. She is the nicest lady, and so is her daughter, Tia. Please pray for the family…however they really cant ban knives because its a form of protection, but I see where he is coming from with the Flint stabbings.

  5. Scheryl says:

    My heart is saddend by this vicious attack on the Skinners, and it angers me at the same time that this has happened. My thoughts and prayers are with this family for their loss, and for Mara Skinners recovery. I just cannot believe this has happend!

  6. Jerry says:

    My tongue in cheek point was the banning knives is just as stupid as banning guns. If knives were banned, crazy people would club others to death and the government would want to ban clubs. Crazy sociopaths kill good people however they can. I pray for this family.

  7. Mike says:

    Don’t make these comments a soap box on violence and gun/knive control. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the Yale area, It is a nice community and a crime like this affects each and every one of you. God Bless

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