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KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) - A couple in their 80s were shot to death after someone broke in to their Kentwood home, police told 24 Hour News 8 Monday.
David and Vivian Bouwman, who had been married for 50 years, were found in their home on Stowevalley Drive SE on Saturday after police discovered their burned-out Cadillac in the 3800 block of Madison in Wyoming. He was 81 and she was 80.
Monday, police said the Bouwmans were shot to death.
"I can't tell you how many times and I can't tell you the caliber of the gun," said Kentwood Police Chief Tom Hillen, saying police are awaiting autopsy results.
The suspect or suspects broke into the Bouwmans' home through a back window, police said. It's not uet known whether the couple struggled or what, if anything, was taken from their home other than the Cadillac, which had been parked in the garage.
Police are trying to pinpoint exactly when the Bouwmans were killed. Some neighbors told 24 Hour News 8 they woke to barking dogs about 3:30 a.m. Saturday.
Monday, a former neighbor left flowers at the home of the Bouwmans.
"It's just kind of scary you know what's happening here, what's going on," said neighbor Pam VanDusen.
Police say they understand the fears of neighbors, especially considering that the more they investigate, the more random the crime appears.
"It would appear that it's random, and that's based on the fact that the suspect went to other residences first," said Hillen.
Police say it appears the killer had tried to break into at least three other homes in the area. They found footprints leading from home to home.
"Why this house and not the one before, I don't know," said Hillen.
After the Cadillac was discovered Saturday, Wyoming police asked Kentwood police to check on the Bouwman's house. Officers went to the house, but no one answered when they knocked. Assuming no one was home, police left.
About an hour later, a neighbor of the Bouwmans' called to report an attempted break-in at their home. When police arrived, they found footprints leading from that neighbor's home to the victims' home. That's when police discovered the home invasion and murders.
The neighbor who contacted police Saturday had previously reported another break-in. On December 10, a relative of the Bouwman's neighbor told 24 Hour News 8, the neighbors woke up and found someone had broken into their home on Yorktown and stolen money. Yorktown is connected to Stowevalley Drive.
There have been 20 home invasions just to the north over the last two months, though police say they recently made an arrest clearing most of those.
Hillen said police are investigating whether there is connection between the homicides and the previous burglaries.
And not only are police working on what they call several solid leads, but they are also hoping to find surveillance video in the area where the victims' car was burned.
The murders have rattled their neighbors and caused at least one person to change the locks on their home.
Autopsies were set for Monday.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Silent Observer at 616.774.2345 or the Kentwood Police Department at 616.698.6580.
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