Vannieuwenhoven cold case trial: friends, off duty officials testify



MARINETTE – The testimony began Tuesday morning in the trial of Raymand Vannieuwenhoven, accused of murdering a Green Bay couple at a campsite in Marinette County Park 45 years ago.

Vannieuwenhoven, 84, is charged with two counts of first degree murder. The Lakewood man was arrested in March 2019 and has been in custody at the Marinette County Jail since then.

Among the people called to the stand by District Attorney DeShea Morrow were two friends of the victims and the off duty policeman who happened to arrive at the campsite shortly after the deaths of David Schuldes and Ellen Matheys on July 9, 1976.

Mathey’s friend talks about marriage plans

Green Bay’s Lynn Baumgartner said she and Matheys became friends on day one of high school, describing “Ellie” as intelligent, introverted, quiet, and “… a really nice person.”

“She was like the sister I never had,” says the retired special education teacher.

Baumgartner said Matheys and Schuldes dated about three years before their engagement and were due to get married on September 10, 1976.

When questioned by defense attorney Lee Schuchart, Baumgartner said Matheys lived alone on the upper floor of a house on Stewart Street in Green Bay for 12 to 18 months.

When Schuchart asked how far it was from Suamico, Baumgartner asked “which part” of the community. When he suggested about 20 minutes, she agreed.

Schuchart mentioned in his opening speech that Vannieuwenhoven lived in Suamico in 1976.

Friend von Schuldes invited to go camping with couple

Steve Mommaerts of Green Bay testified that he was a friend of Schuldes in high school and went to UW Green Bay with him until Schuldes dropped out. Mommaerts helped his friend get a job in the post office of the Green Bay Press-Gazette in late 1970 or early 1971.

Mommaerts said the last time he saw his boyfriend two weeks before he died when the couple told him and his wife they were engaged.

“We were really surprised,” he said. “They both seemed so calm and so happy and peaceful as they talked about it.”

Mommaerts said Schuldes later invited her to camp with them at McClintock Park, but he declined.

Schuchart asked Mommaerts why he was surprised.

“I only knew about Ellie a few months earlier,” he explained.

Mommaerts said he generally only called Schuldes on the phone over the past year as he was recovering from a cerebral haemorrhage. Schuldes called every few weeks to check his progress.

Off duty officer asked to help caretaker check the man

Another person to take a stand was Lance Timper, who had been with the Marinette Police Department for about six months in July 1976 and was in the park with his girlfriend that day.

Before they got to the park, they had set out to look for blueberries and Timper said he had “heard a single rifle shot”.

“I didn’t find it unusual,” he said.

Then they drove to the campsite to fetch water. The park caretaker asked him for help finding a man who was lying next to one of the latrines.

The caretaker thought the man might have had too much to drink, but as they got closer they saw blood.

Timper said the man’s hands had turned blue. He estimated the time at 1:15 p.m., but it could have been later.

The caretaker went to Goodman Park, the nearest place with a phone, to call the sheriff’s office, Timper said.

A rescue team arrived 30 to 45 minutes later, followed by a deputy some time later.

Timper said he checked the park and saw no one. He looked into the nearby car and saw a handbag in it.

Schuchart asked Timper how many shots he heard.

“Shot, shots, I don’t realize that at all,” Timper replied. “I know shots were fired. I didn’t pay too much attention to it. “

The dispatcher lists the time of the call

Constance Winchell of Crivitz, who was the dispatcher for the Marinette County Sheriff’s Office in 1976, also testified.

Based on a copy of the time card she used at the time, she said the call about a bleeding man in McClintock Park came at 2:53 p.m. and the Goodman-Armstrong Rescue Group said at 3:01 p.m. they answered.

Winchell said she received a call at 3:23 pm to contact the coroner.

The then 11-year-old describes cars that caught his eye

Patrick Fields of Montello, who was 11 when his family camped at Goodman Park, said on the booth that he remembered a purple gremlin passing by. He noticed it because his mother drove a gremlin.

When the family visited McClintock Park in the early afternoon, they drove through the campsite and said he saw a purple gremlin in a campsite. Two people were sitting at the picnic table nearby.

Fields also said he saw a car along the road on the edge of the park.

“From what I remember it seemed a gray Plymouth,” he said.

The Oconto County Reporter will continue to cover the process as it develops. For updates, visit

CONNECTED:Cold case trial: DNA matching proves no responsibility for murders, defense says

CONNECTED:DNA evidence in 1976 allows double homicide in court, judge rules; 1957 battery conviction omitted

OTHER NEWS FROM OCONTO COUNTY:Check out our website!

Contact Kent Tempus at (920) 431-8226 or [email protected].



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