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Man serving 2 life sentences for Marinette County camper killings dies

Raymand Vanieuwenhoven at his sentencing hearing
Raymand Vanieuwenhoven at his sentencing hearing
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 1:59 PM EDT
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MARINETTE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A man sentenced to prison for a 1976 double murder in Marinette County has died.

Online court records list Raymand Vannieuwenhoven as deceased as of June 22. No details were released about his death.

The 85-year-old was serving two life sentences for the murders of David Schuldes and Ellen Matheys.

Vannieuwenhoven was 39-years-old when he committed the killings. He lived free for 42 years before his arrest. He raised a family and worked a job. That’s until a DNA hit linked him to the cold case.

On July 9, 1976, Schuldes and Matheys were camping at McClintock Park in the town of Silver Cliff when they were attacked. An autopsy showed Schuldes, 25, was shot in the neck and died instantly. Matheys, 24, was sexually assaulted then shot twice. Her body was found in a wooded area outside the park. Evidence from the sexual assault was submitted, including DNA.

Years went by without a hit in the DNA database. The Marinette County Sheriff’s Office started working with the company Parabon Nanolabs on DNA analysis.

In the fall of 2018, a genealogist was able to narrow down a suspect pool to a family with ties to the Green Bay area -- the Vannieuwenhovens.

Investigators did surveillance on one of the Vannieuwenhoven sons and obtained a garbage bag from his home. Socks, a bandage and an inhaler were set to the crime lab for testing. It was confirmed that he wasn’t their suspect.

They moved on to another brother. A detective had coffee with a second Vannieuwenhoven brother and took the man’s cup for DNA analysis. He was not the match.

The next subject was Raymand Vannieuwenhoven, who lived in the Town of Lakewood. A deputy approached him and asked him to take a survey. The deputy asked Raymand to seal the envelope. Saliva from the envelope was sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab. The complaint states that it was found to be the single source male DNA profile developed from semen found on Ellen Matheys’ shorts.

“Our investigators, through proper and careful preserving of evidence of that assault, was vital in bringing us where we are today,” Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve said at the time of the arrest.

Vannieuwenhoven was arrested and charged in March of 2019.

Last July, a jury listened to a week of testimony at trial and found Vannieuwenhoven responsible for killing Schuldes and Matheys.

At sentencing, Hon. James Morrison said, “What could be more grave than the senseless, meaningless murder of two people whose crime that day was sitting at a picnic table at a camp site?”

The judge called the crimes “evil” and “depraved.”

Family and friends of the victims delivered victim impact statements at sentencing. David and Ellen were to be married, and their loved ones were excited to see them start their life together.

“The rest of his life in prison wouldn’t be much justice for what he did for David and Ellie and for the 45 years he stole from them, but at this point, it’s the only justice that’s left for them. I hope and pray that that justice will be handed down here today. We all just need to finally, finally find some peace,” said Schuldes’ sister JoAnn Mikulsky.

Family lovingly remembered Ellen Matheys, whom they called “Ellie.” They described sleepless nights, nightmares, and fear after the killings. They talked about fear of going into the woods and fear of camping.

Ellen’s best friend, Lynn Baumgartner, talked about the pain of knowing what Ellie went through and asked for the strictest punishment for her friends’ killer.

“How could you have done this? I woke up many mornings in cold sweat,” said Baumgartner. “As far as I’m concerned you have no soul and no regard to human life. My God, Dave didn’t know what hit him. You dropped him like an animal. And I know Ellie knew what was coming. I can’t begin to imagine how scared she was. How you made her feel at that time.”

Vannieuwenhoven’s youngest daughter, Dorothy, spoke on behalf of her father. She told the court that she does not believe her father committed the crimes.

Raymand Vannieuwenhoven was given the chance to speak. Much of it was unintelligible, but he appeared to say that the case against him was “rigged.”

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