UPDATED Sept. 18: Police investigate tip in hunters' murder
MENTOR TOWNSHIP — Although Raymond and Donald Duvall were found guilty of the 1985 bludgeoning death of two hunters, Brian Ognjan of St. Clair Shores and David Tyll of Troy, in 2003, it doesn’t mean that the investigation into the murders has ended.
Police, with the assistance of infrared cameras and a helicopter, were out searching portions of land in Mentor Township for new evidence in the case on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Lt. Robert Lesneski of the East Tawas Michigan State Police Post was the lead investigator on the original case, and headed the investigation into the new tip.
Lesneski said that he received a tip from a downstate police officer that befriended a person close to the Duvalls.
While Lesneski said he is skeptical of every tip he receives, he treated this one as credible.
“It did come from a police officer,” Lesneski said.
Lesneski said he met three or four times with the source close to the Duvalls.
The source led investigators to a portion of property in Mentor Township, where, according to Sgt. Tim Garonda of the Michigan State Police, the source believed property or bodies relating to the murder could be found.
The helicopter, when measuring ground composition, found a couple spots that needed further investigation, Lesneski said.
Lt. John Kenny, Michigan State Police Chief Pilot, was the helicopter operator during the investigation.
Kenny said the whole premise of searching with a helicopter and infrared is to find differences in land composition based on heat signature.
Freshly dug holes and loosened earth are not packed as tightly as earth that has been sitting for thousands of years, and that can create different heat signatures, Kenny said.
This process has been successful in the past, Kenny said. He said pilots have been able to identify civil war graves and overseas mass graves with this technique.
Kenny said he and the other investigators left from the East Tawas airport and flew to the suspected area. The investigation lasted 45 minutes to an hour.
Lesneski said that investigators would return to the identified spots with cadaver dogs to further investigate.
“We will return when it’s convenient,” Lesneski said.
Lesneski said that these types of tips are not out of the ordinary, but it his responsibility to follow up. Lesneski said he has received 800 to 900 tips on this case alone.
While Lesneski said that he feels the correct people are behind bars, it is important for the investigation to continue to bring closure to the victims’ family and friends.
“What if that was somebody you love,” Lesneski said.
Kenny shared similar sentiments.
Kenny was assigned to the Duvall case in 1986, shortly after he joined the force. He flew overhead trying to find routes that those involved in the case had taken.
“I hope this can be brought to a full end,” Kenny said.
Oscoda County Sheriff Kevin Grace said he was made aware of the state police's investigation, but his department was not involved.
The Duvall brothers were found guilty in Oct. 2003, of first-degree premeditated murder and were sentenced to life in prison with no opportunity of parole.
No bodies or murder weapons were ever found. The hunters’ vehicle was also never found.
Barbara Boudro, the state of Michigan’s key witness in the 2003 trial, and the only witness to testify to seeing the murders take place, testified that she saw the two brothers beat the hunters in a clearing in a wooded area off of Mapes Road near Luzerne.
Boudro has since passed away.
Other witnesses testified that they overheard the brothers admit to cutting up the hunters’ bodies and feeding them to pigs. It was also alleged that the brothers disposed of the hunters’ vehicle by scrapping it out and selling it for parts.
Check back with this Web site for more on this story as it becomes available. Portions of this story were compiled from back issues of the Oscoda County Herald.