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Home  >  Topics  >  CSI / Forensics

September 20, 2006
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2 suspects in 1979 Mich. murder arrested in W.Va.; 3rd suspect sought in Pa.

Associated Press Writer

CHARLESTON, W.Va.- Two suspects in the 1979 slaying of a college student in Michigan have been arrested in West Virginia, and an arrest warrant has been issued for a third suspect in Pennsylvania.

James Nelson, 58, and Freddie Parker, 49, were arrested on Monday on fugitive from justice warrants, said C.K. Zerkle, a state trooper.

Nelson and Laurie Swank of Nescopeck, Pa., are each charged with first-degree murder and two counts of felony murder, according to court records in West Virginia and Pennsylania. Charges against Parker and information about Swank were not available.

The three suspects are accused of killing Janet Chandler, who was reported missing on Jan. 31, 1979, from her night shift job at the desk of the Blue Mill Inn in Holland, Mich.

A snowplow driver discovered the body of the 23-year-old Hope College student a day later along Interstate 196.

Zerkle said a fourth suspect arrested in February in Michigan, 66-year-old Robert Michael Lynch, provided information that led investigators to West Virginia. Zerkle said that he believed Nelson has family ties in the state.

Zerkle said Lynch, of Three Oaks, Mich., confessed and told authorities that Nelson allegedly was "the main guy."

Nelson and Parker were being held in West Virginia jails. An extradition hearing is expected within the next 10 days, Zerkle said.

Interest in Chandler's slaying was renewed after a Hope College class produced a documentary film about the case that aired on a Grand Rapids, Mich., television station in January 2004.

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