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Old 02-24-2020, 05:54 PM
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Help Solve Cold Homicide

Authorities Ask Public's Help With Decades Old Unsolved Lennon Murder

Mary Prieur's Body Was Found Near Lennon Road and E M-13

Crime Stoppers of Flint & Genesee County

In 1997, Mary Prieur was beaten and suffocated. Her body was later found not far from her home, in a swampy, wooded area near Lennon Road and East M-13. She was 88 years old.

For more than twenty years, this brutal murder has baffled and haunted the community. But authorities believe that there may still be someone that knows what happened.


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Old 02-26-2020, 06:16 AM
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Re: Help Solve Cold Homicide

Article dated: 9th September 2016

Quote:
LENNON, Mich. — Nearly 20 years later, jewelry and clothing from an 88-year-old Genesee County murder victim are being sent to a laboratory for DNA tests in a new bid to catch the killer.

Undersheriff Christopher Swanson says the Virginia lab hopes to use new technology to develop a profile of the person responsible for Mary Prieur's death.

She was found strangled in a swampy area near her home in Lennon in 1997.

Swanson says he promised Prieur's sister that he would catch her killer. He tells The Flint Journal "I'll never, ever forget."


Article dated: 27th February 2018

Quote:
LENNON, MI -- It's been 21 years to the day that 88-year-old Mary Prieur was found in a swampy, wooded area less than 200 yards from her Lennon Road home.

Over the years, billboards have gone up and door hangers placed on homes in the community, as well as police finding DNA that confirmed Prieur was sexually assaulted prior to her death.

But Prieur's killer remains unknown.

A staple in the Lennon community that was often seen walking her dog Pookie while on the way to grab some food at a local bar, Prieur's body was found around 2 p.m. Feb. 27, 1997, in the area of Lennon Road and M-13.

Her brother-in-law called police around noon that day after finding the door to Prieur's residence ajar and the dog inside, but no signs of Prieur, according to Flint Journal records.

Michigan State Police canine teams taking part in training in the area responded to the scene. A trooper and K-9 officer spotted her body, wrapped in a blanket, roughly two hours after her disappearance was first reported.

An autopsy revealed Prieur -- a regular attendee at multiple churches including St. Mary's in Swartz Creek and St. Robert in Flushing -- had been suffocated and beaten in the head.

Community members rallied after Prieur's murder, putting together a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the responsible person or persons.

"Everybody is still wondering if the people who did it are here," said Barbara BakerOmerod, an attorney and current Lennon village president who helped establish the reward fund, in a February 1998 Flint Journal story.

"They're worried it could be one of their neighbors and how to continue on and ensure it won't happen again," she said.

The money was eventually returned to those who donated after no arrest took place within a few months' time.

A native of Czechoslovakia, Prieur came to the United States when she was eight years old, according to Journal records.

Prieur opened the candy business Sweet Marie's after adding onto the house at Chippewa and Louisa streets in Flint she shared with husband James.

James Prieur told The Flint Journal for a March 1997 story that his wife learned to make candy in Owosso, where she was a student at St. Paul's until dropping out in the eighth grade to help put her sister and brother through school.

"She was just the sweetest, kindest lady," said Gloria Schram, Prieur's neighbor, in a February 2012 Flint Journal story.

Genesee County Undersheriff Chris Swanson previously told MLive-The Flint Journal that DNA from items in the case, including jewelry and clothing, were sent in the same year to a laboratory in Virginia to build a potential suspect profile.

Swanson has stated he hopes to keep a promise made to Prieur's sister to track down the person responsible for her loved one's death.

"I made a promise to her sister," he said. "I'll never, ever forget."

A reward of up to $2,500 is being offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to a felony arrest. Anyone with a tip may remain anonymous by calling 1-800-422-JAIL (5245) or leaving their information at P3tips.com.

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Old 03-10-2020, 01:10 AM
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Re: Help Solve Cold Homicide

I remembered when my grandmother told me this story few years ago, I still feel baffled and sad about what happened to her.

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Old 02-01-2022, 05:39 PM
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Re: Help Solve Cold Homicide

UPDATE


12th November 2021

Quote:
A Michigan man has been charged in the 1998 rape and murder of an 88-year-old woman who was known as a beloved fixture in her community.

Michael Bur, 41, is accused in the death of Mary Prieur, whose body was found wrapped in a blanket some 200 yards from her home in the village of Lennon, Michigan.

“On February 27, 1997, Mary Prieur, the widow of Leonard Prieur, was murdered,” Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said at a press conference announcing the arrest Thursday. “She was taken from her home, she was dragged, she was sexually assaulted, and she was left for dead.”

“The people who are responsible had been free since that day,” Swanson added. “But that day is over which is why I’m here. To let you know that Mary Prieur’s murderer is in custody.”

Prieur’s body was in a wooded area near her home. Autopsy results showed that she had been suffocated and beaten in the head, according to a report in MLive.

Her brother-in-law had called police around noon that day after finding the door to Prieur’s home open and her dog inside, the MLive report said. Her body was found around two hours later.

Swanson said that the information to arrest Bur developed over the past 24 hours.

“I wanted to get this out there because Mary Prieur deserves to let the people know that she is resting in peace,” he said.

Bur, who was in 11th grade and lived near Prieur at the time of the murder, had been on Swanson’s radar as a suspect for almost two decades.

“I interviewed him Oct. 15, 2004,” Swanson said. “He was one of our suspects. It was at his business in Flint township. I gave him an opportunity to come forward. It wasn’t a very good exchange and as he got up to leave, I said ‘Michael, your destiny is in your hands. Do the right thing.’ I could tell he wasn’t going to talk and I told him on that day in 2004: ‘The next time I see, you will be in shackles and you will be charged with murder.’ That day is today, and that’s why I’m here.”

Prieur, who was born in Czechoslovakia, came to the U.S. when she was eight years old, according to a story in the Flint Journal. She had a candy business called Sweet Marie’s and was known to talk with neighbors as she walked her dog.

“Everybody knew Mary,” Swanson said at Thursday’s press conference.

“She was just the sweetest, kindest lady,” said Prieur’s neighbor, Gloria Schram, according to another MLive report.

Prieur had no children or descendants, and her husband Leonard died in 1992, but Swanson said the case was personal to him.

“This is not to be dramatic, but Mary Prieur has been a part of my family since my kids were babies,” Swanson said. “When you’re assigned a case, and you take an 88-year-old lady who is living in peace, and is dragged from her house, raped and murdered, you become [personally attached] to find out who did that. That’s not right.”

Swanson said that it’s common for law enforcement officials to feel a personal connection to murder victims whose cases remain unsolved.

“Although I had never met Mary, and I wasn’t even on the original investigation, over these last decades, she’s family,” he said. “To bring this closure to her, and to bring closure to the village of Lennon, it’s a day to celebrate justice. That’s why it’s personal.”

Swanson also hoped to reach any possible relatives of Prieur, however distant.

“If there is a niece or if there is a family friend that needs some guidance during this process, you can contact me,” he said.

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Old 02-02-2022, 11:10 AM
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Re: Help Solve Cold Homicide

~ He looks like he thought she was an easy mark for a sexual thriller.

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