Vacant house where suspected Detroit serial killer lived and murdered is open for more predators

click to enlarge House at Mack Avenue and Mt. Elliott Street where a woman's body was found. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
House at Mack Avenue and Mt. Elliott Street where a woman's body was found.

Mayor Mike Duggan pledged to board up every vacant house on the east side, beginning with a home at Mack and Mt. Elliot, where Tammy Jones’ decomposed, naked body was found on June 5.

The story prompted Police Chief James Craig to warn about a suspect serial killer and rapist preying on women in abandoned houses on the city’s east side. Police believe the serial killer used the house to attack another woman, who managed to escape. The city-owned house was his home base, police said.

But on Tuesday, the house was open to trespass. The plywood that was sealing the front and side door was peeled back on the house, which is just blocks from the Heidelberg Project, a popular tourist destination.

Duggan’s spokesman John Roach tells Metro Times the city was not aware the house was open and will board it up again Friday. It's expected to be demolished soon, Roach said.

So far, Roach said, workers hired by the city have boarded up about 900 houses.

Trouble is, plywood does little to keep people out of vacant homes, which are havens for criminals. That's why Detroit Public Schools sealed its abandoned buildings with metal panels.

Under Duggan’s leadership, the city has demolished more than 12,000 houses.

In July, the suspected serial killer and rapist, Deangelo Martin, was charged with sexually assaulting two other women who survived the attacks. Police believe he killed at least three women in vacant houses, but charges in those cases have yet to materialize.

Detroit police declined to comment on the unsolved cases Thursday.

click to enlarge Living room of the house. View from the front door. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
Living room of the house. View from the front door.

click to enlarge Side door is wide open. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
Side door is wide open.

click to enlarge Steps leading to a dark basement. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
Steps leading to a dark basement.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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