On August 16, 1982, an unidentified attacker brutalized and strangled Maggie Hume at her apartment in Battle Creek, Michigan. The daughter of a beloved local football coach, her seemingly senseless murder sparked intense scrutiny that lingers today. Award-winning author Blaine Pardoe and his daughter, Victoria Hester, crack open three decades of material on this mysterious tragedy, exposing dark secrets and political in-fighting that tore at the Battle Creek legal system for years. Compiled from documents, videos and interviews, this book presents the facts and clues of the case to the public for the first time.
About the Author
Blaine Pardoe is an award-winning bestselling author of Lost Eagles" and "Murder in Battle Creek: The Mysterious Death of Daisy Zick." Mr. Pardoe was raised outside of Battle Creek, Michigan, and received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Central Michigan University. Victoria R. Hester is a graduate of Lord Fairfax Community College and resides in Culpeper, Virginia. She has won two prestigious writing awards for her non-fiction work while in college."
Read an Excerpt
Sleep like a child resting deep You don't know what you give me I keep For these moments alone.
– "Sweet Dreams," Air Supply
Summers in Michigan are fickle things, and the summer of 1982 was no exception. Thanks to the influence of Lake Michigan, the weather in western Michigan is hard (if not impossible) to predict. You can suffer through two weeks of drought followed by a week of torrential rain and ground-shaking thunderstorms. The week of August 17, 1982, in Battle Creek, Michigan, was no different. The week before, it had been rainy, but for three days, the temperatures had been hot and dry and in the middle eighties, with the nights dropping to seventy degrees. People were in a constant state of opening and closing windows and turning air conditioners on and off.
For relaxation and a chance to cool off during the days, people flocked to Willard Beach at Goguac Lake. Nights allowed you to go to the Battle Creek Drive-in Theater or the West Point — if you were willing to tolerate the mosquitoes. The movies were always a chance to sit in some cool air, and the second week of August 1982 had a mixed bag of films. An Officer and a Gentleman had just opened the weekend before at the West Columbia Theaters — the perfect date movie. The musical comedy The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, with Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton, played there, too. If these didn't appeal to your tastes, E.T. the Extraterrestrial was still playing for its eleventh consecutive week. In the 1980s, films didn't appear in theaters for three weeks and then two months later on iTunes, Redbox or BluRay. They ran for weeks at a time, and it was typical for people to go see the same movie several times over.
Some teens took the time to paint "the Rock," a boulder outside town along the I-194 into the city (known humorously as "the Penetrator" because it was the one way into the city that avoided the spider web of train tracks that contorted around the city). The boulder alternated almost every weekend with something new sloppily painted on it. Done at night, usually with alcohol involved, the Rock was both a rite of passage and public statement at the same time.
Television was in the peak of reruns. Glossy dramas dealing with wealth or corny situation comedies with laugh tracks dominated people's TV viewing. Dallas, Three's Company, The Jeffersons, Joanie Loves Chachi and The Dukes of Hazard topped the television lineup. They were a mindless form of escapism from the heat and humidity of the late Michigan summer.
The only other form of entertainment that week of August was the Calhoun County Fair in Marshall. As Michigan's oldest county fair, it was a natural draw if you were young and attempting to enjoy those last few days of summer. The county fair marked a turning point — the last benchmark day on the calendar before school started up. For Battle Creek residents, it provided a much-needed diversion to a long summer.
Whatever the trends were in the nation, it always seemed that Battle Creek was a year or two behind. While disco was dying elsewhere, a few dance clubs were just opening in Cereal City. Battle Creek always had a feeling of being out of sync with the rest of the world.
From a historical perspective, August 1982 was a quiet month. Coke had released a new product, Diet Coke, that month, offering people an alternative to Tab Cola. The month saw the release of a new technology, compact disks, dooming the vinyl records albums to obscurity. On the other side of the globe, the month of August found Iran and Iraq embroiled in a bloody war. August 1982 wasn't one of those months where history changed dramatically or key world events altered our perceptions. It was the end of another typical, almost mundane Michigan summer — quiet ... unobtrusive ... benign.
It was not so quiet in Battle Creek, however, on Wednesday, August 18, 1982. The relatively peaceful summer month was shaken when Margaret "Maggie" Mary Hume didn't show up to work in the morning.
MAGGIE HUME DIDN'T MISS work unless she was sick. By all accounts, Maggie loved her job. She had graduated Kellogg Community College's program for medical secretaries and relished her job as a receptionist at Dr. John Chadwick's office. She was supposed to have been at the office at 9:00 a.m. but didn't come in or call. Dr. Chadwick had even placed a call to Maggie's father, Mike Hume, who said that he didn't know where his daughter was. There was not a mad rush to find out where she was; her roommate, Margaret Van Winkle, was scheduled to come in as a patient that morning anyway. Perhaps she knew where Maggie was.
When Margaret arrived, Angie Henson, who worked at Dr. Chadwick's as well, asked her if Maggie was ill. "No," Margaret replied. Angie and Maggie alternated coming into work at Dr. Chadwick's office, and on this Wednesday, Angie was the one to come in early and Maggie was due to arrive at 9:00 a.m. but had not come in yet.
As a matter of fact, Margaret hadn't seen Maggie at all in the apartment they shared at 55 Stringham Road that morning. Margaret had gotten in only a few hours earlier; she had been on a trip to pick up her sister, Emily, at Detroit Metro Airport (she was coming back from a trip to Europe, and her flight had been delayed). Margaret had arrived at their apartment at 4:00 a.m. and had gone straight to bed. When she woke up, Maggie was nowhere to be seen. Margaret suggested that the receptionist call Virgil "Jay" Carter, Maggie's boyfriend. Perhaps she had spent the night with him, or if not, he may know where Maggie was.
Number 55 Stringham Road was part of a complex of apartments known as the River Apartments. Poised several hundred feet from the Kalamazoo River, the apartments at the time were inexpensively built in Battle Creek's Urbandale neighborhood. They had thin walls and were geared for people on fixed incomes or young adults who were looking to live on their own. Only a few minutes from downtown Battle Creek, they were perfect as a first apartment — just enough living until you could save up some money and move someplace nicer.
Angie Henson called Jay Carter and informed him that Maggie was not at work and inquired as to where she was. Jay said that he didn't know where she was but also didn't seem to be worried at the time. Between 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., when Maggie still had not appeared, Margaret called Jay herself to tell him that Maggie still had not been located. Margaret relayed to Jay that she had not seen Maggie when she had arrived at the apartment at about 4:00 a.m.
Jay would later inform police that he went to St. Philip High School in search of Maggie's father. He said that he entered the school and spoke to people there looking for Mr. Hume, but no one knew where he was at the time.
What we do know is that near 11:15 a.m., Jay arrived at the Hume house on Central Street. He found John Hume, Maggie's younger seventeen-year-old brother, and told him that Maggie was apparently missing. The last time John had seen his sister was when they had double-dated the Saturday before at Cedar Point amusement park. Jay and John traveled to St. Philip High School, Battle Creek's lone Catholic high school, where Jay claimed he had been earlier. Maggie's father, Mike Hume, was the athletic director and football coach at St. Phil, and while school was not yet in session, he was preparing for another season of Tiger Football.
On the way to St. Phil, Jay told John that he had already been to the high school looking for his father but had not been able to locate him. When they did find Mike Hume in his office, Jay didn't seem surprised at all. Mike had a set of keys to Maggie's apartment. He told John and Jay to go over to the apartment and look around. For the time being, Mike remained at St. Phil.
With the spare keys in hand, John and Jay went to 55 Stringham Road, apartment no. 19. On the way, Jay had told John that he wanted "to look for clues." Maggie's dark green AMC Hornet was parked outside, and they checked the vehicle but found no sign of her. John unlocked the front door and went in. The apartment was not cleaned or straightened, but that was not out of the ordinary. This was, after all, the apartment of two young women out on their own for the first time. There was an uncashed check sitting on the dining table, undisturbed. The two men turned on the lights and went straight to Maggie's bedroom. Her alarm clock was going off. One of them shut off the beeping.
John noticed his sister's glasses on the nightstand. The glasses had big lenses, and their presence there caught John's attention. Maggie was nearly blind without her glasses. "She could not find her way around the room without her glasses," John would later tell officers.
John's eyes turned toward her bed. It was disheveled. The fitted sheet had been sprung on all four corners. John made a comment to Jay about how messy the bed was, but Jay assured him that he had seen it that messy before. John disagreed with his assessment. Maggie could be messy, that much he knew, but not like this. The doors to Maggie's closet were opened. John noticed a Snug Sack sleeping bag on the floor, but at his glance, it looked like simply part of the floor of closet rather than something placed there.
John stayed in Maggie's bathroom to look for anything that might be an indication as to where his sister was. Jay went to Margaret's bedroom for a few moments. Jay then returned to Maggie's bedroom, while John looked in Margaret's bedroom. When John returned, he found Jay on his knees at the closet entrance. He was pulling a pale- green nightgown from the pile of blankets and clothing on the floor of the closet. Jay told John he couldn't remember what nightgown she had been wearing the night before. Jay pulled out the blue and white checkered one from the clothes on the floor of the closet but said that he was not sure which one she had changed into. Jay told John that he had been looking in the closet for her shoes, to see what pair she might have on.
Both young men noticed that Maggie's purse was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps she had taken it with her, wherever she had gone? The two of them left her bedroom and went to check the patio. The apartment had a small balcony with a screened window and a door leading into the living room. The two went onto the patio to see if there was any sign of the screen having been tampered with. The screen was quite intact, but there were some screws on the patio. John remembered that Margaret had told them they had been working on their grill a few days earlier and that the screws most likely had come from that grill repair.
There was no sign of Maggie in the apartment, but with her glasses and car there, it was clear that she had not just taken off to run a quick errand.
Jay and John drove back to St. Philip and returned to Mike Hume, who was at the school in his office between running football practices. They told him about their search and that his daughter was still missing. Mike said that they needed to go to the police station and file a missing person report.
They arrived at the Battle Creek Police Department and spoke with officers there. Jay offered that the last time he had seen Maggie had been at 11:30 p.m. the night before. Since that time, the trio did not know of anyone who had seen her.
The officers gathered the basic information on Maggie — age twenty years; five feet, six inches tall; and about 135 to 140 pounds in weight. She had brown, almost reddish hair and hazel eyes. The only identifying mark on her was a small scar on the calf of one of her legs. Mike gave officers a photo from his wallet of his daughter to assist in their search. One of the men who engaged with Mike early on was Elwood Priess. The officer had been with the Battle Creek Police Department since 1967, having moved down from Newberry in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. He had served as an MP (Military Police) in the army before joining the Battle Creek Police Department. Priess had known Mike Hume personally for some time. He was an avid follower of St. Philip's football program. When he wasn't attending games, he was working with the school as security and had gotten to know the coach quite well. "The chief pulled me in when they came into the department because I knew them. He thought I could be a liaison with the family."
The officers spoke with Mike about Maggie's home life. Was there any friction between the family and Maggie? No. Mike only expressed deep concern over the welfare of his daughter. The investigator's focus shifted to Maggie's boyfriend, Jay Carter. The athletic twenty-one- year-old Kellogg Community College (KCC) student was asked if they had any problems with their relationship, such as a fight or anything to that effect. Jay said no, there had not been any major disagreements.
The young man also offered a tantalizing clue. Jay said that while he had been with Maggie the night before, she had received a phone call at about 10:30 p.m. He said that it had sounded like a black male on the phone asking for "my baby Maggie." She had related to him that it was not an obscene call but rather was more of a nuisance.
The officers placed a call to Maggie's roommate, Margaret, at work. Usually, Margaret was at home in the evenings, but the night before had been a very rare exception. She had placed a phone call to Maggie to tell her that her sister's flight had been delayed at Detroit Metro Airport and that she wouldn't be back until around 4:30 a.m.
They asked Margaret if anything had seemed out of place in the apartment that morning. She did note that the closet doors in the hallway, directly across from Maggie's room, had been left open. She had noticed that Maggie's room had been disheveled more than usual. Margaret had said that she was not entirely surprised that her roommate was not in bed when she had been there in the morning. Maggie stayed with Jay occasionally.
Even for the officers taking notes, things were not adding up. The dispatcher put out an announcement regarding Maggie so that the entire police force was aware that she was missing. They asked Margaret if they could meet her at the apartment and conduct a search for themselves. She agreed to meet with them during her lunch break, at about 12:45 p.m. Priess suggested to Mike that he go home and stand by the phone in case Maggie called. There was little that could be done sitting at the station. John and Jay also went to the Hume residence. Jay brought up the phone call that Maggie had received the night before. Now, away from the police, the call seemed more sinister. Jay said that the caller said "some crude things he wanted to do to Maggie."
Once back at the Hume house, the phone rang. It was from Maggie's former boyfriend, Jim Downey. Jim and Maggie had dated when they were in high school and had remained good friends. Maggie had placed a beer order with him for her roommate's upcoming birthday party, and Jim wanted to firm up the delivery. Jim's brother, Norm, owned the Lakeview Lounge, and Jim had secured a keg of beer for the party. John quickly relayed that no one knew where Maggie was.
Margaret arrived to meet Patrolman Bill Brenner and Detective Pestun at her apartment at 12:50 p.m. accompanied by a co-worker. She unlocked the door and allowed the officers to enter. They noticed several used bowls and dishes left on coffee tables and unwashed pots and pans in the kitchen. They asked Margaret if that was uncommon, and she said that was not unusual. She did reiterate that the closet door being left open was something out of the ordinary.
Moving into Maggie's room, she noticed her roomie's eyeglasses on the small night table and said that this was not like Maggie. They asked if Maggie had an emergency pair of glasses or if she wore contacts. Maggie did have a spare pair of glasses in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. Patrolman Brenner went in and found them. Maggie didn't wear contacts. Margaret said that even if Maggie got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, she had to wear her glasses to see.
Margaret noticed that while Maggie's purse was missing, her keys were still on her dresser. They asked Margaret to check the closets to make sure that nothing was missing. Patrolman Brenner went along with her. She gave a cursory look in Maggie's closet and her own. The only thing she noticed not hanging in Maggie's closet was a blue nightgown that she often wore. The Snuggle Sack comforter and blanket on the floor of Maggie's closet didn't seem to attract her attention.
When they returned to the kitchen, Detective Pestun was on the telephone with Sergeant Burdett, filling him in on their findings thus far. Margaret asked the officer if he would look around the apartment one more time to make sure there wasn't anything there that shouldn't be. Margaret's nervousness or perhaps her intuition kicked in. Her comment was along the lines of, "I don't want to open a closet door or find a body under a bed or behind a couch." It was clear that she didn't feel that they had done an adequate job of performing a search.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Murder of Maggie Hume"
Copyright © 2014 Blaine Pardoe and Victoria Hester.
Excerpted by permission of The History Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Maggie's Missing 15
The Start of the Investigation 27
The Boyfriend 45
Dark Suspicions 59
The Wreck on M-66 87
The Convict 95
The Deal with the Devil 117
The Final Two Suspects 133
About the Authors 159
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Pardoe and Hester have hit this one out of the park. This is a different kind of true crime - it is about a cold case. This is one where the police and prosecutors became embroiled in a nasty fight about the direction of the case. At the same time there was a false confessor who claimed to be serial killer and the murderer. Despite all of this, Pardoe and Hester have cut through what could have been a confusing case to lay out all of the facts. The readers are left to look at the evidence and form their own opinions. I LOVED IT. Battle Creek is like every small city in America. The author's use of 1982 music to put the reader in the time period was fantastic. Who knew so many songs from that year had hints of murder in them?