The Green Bay Northwoods Killings — Ch 14
Chapter Fourteen: Establishing the Location of a Convicted Killer
One of the challenges in attempting to determine whether Ray Vannieuwenhoven could be a plausible suspect in the murders of Pat Wisniewski, Cynthia Allen, or the two unidentified females in Marinette County, is in establishing his whereabouts.
Where Was Ray?
We know Ray’s early family life was in the Suamico/Green Bay-area. His parents lived in Suamico. In 1957, at the age of 20, Ray lived in Green Bay, at 1632 Preble Avenue.
In 1960, when he once again found himself in court, for non-payment of child support, he was still a Green Bay resident.
According to a story from the Green Bay Press-Gazette:
In 1976, Vannieuwenhoven and his family lived in Suamico, and he was a steelworker who sometimes worked out of town and enjoyed hunting and ﬁshing, according to the trial testimony of one of his children.
When he was arrested in 2019, he lived at 17043 Remus Woods Lane in Lakewood, Wisconsin. Property records indicate Ray bought the property in 1996.
We also know from reporting about Ray’s trial that he was a former military man who claimed he would never have worn long hair or sideburns or a mustache, like some of the eyewitnesses described the gunman that killed Ellen and David. Key in establishing Ray’s whereabouts would be to determine when he served in the military and whether he was deployed overseas. Obviously, Ray could not be responsible for murders in Wisconsin if he was deployed to Korea or Vietnam.
I went to my crew and asked for some help. No fewer than five people independently looked into it via the resources that are available on the web, and to my surprise, finding Ray’s dates of service has been incredibly hard. Nobody could come up with a single document (so far) relating to Ray’s military service.
My friend Dan, who is a genealogist and very skilled researcher, decided to do a full background check on Ray, to see what he could glean. Although the background check was helpful, it did not shed light on Ray’s service. Dan wrote:
There is a federal rule, I’ve now discovered, for military records. For non-family members, unless under special circumstances and with permission, I cannot get full military records until 62 years after he left the service.
If he left in 1961 or earlier, it would be possible.
I clarified that I really only need the dates. Dan said he thinks he can get Ray’s service records another way, so we’ll wait to see what he comes up with.
Other questions that come to mind to which I would like to find answers:
Who owned the Lakewood home on Remus Woods Lane before Ray and Rita bought it in 1996? Was it purchased from someone in the family?
Prior to owning the home on Remus Woods Lane in Lakewood, where did Ray make his homebase in the Northwoods region? He spent a lot of time there, as early as the 1970s. Where did he stay? Did he rent a cabin? Was it the same home he later purchased?
What about Ray’s employment? There are reports that Ray told a friend he once hauled and delivered boats. Where did he work and when?
Ray was an avid outdoorsman. He loved hunting, fishing, and boating. I would love to know what his regular places were. Where did he like to hunt and fish? Where did he most commonly launch his boat?
The answers to questions like those would have a lot of bearing on whether Ray could plausibly be responsible for the unsolved murders we’re going to talk about next. What was Ray’s pattern of travel? Did he travel long distances for work? In the next chapter, we’ll be forced to ask, did Ray travel to Sheboygan in 1988?
Troy Larson is a harbinger of things that go bump in the night; a true crime writer, researcher, and digital content producer with hundreds of podcast and broadcast credits to his name. Follow Troy on Medium. Reach out: email@example.com
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