First charges issued in 1981 disappearance of Deanie Peters

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An arrest has been made in connection to a mystery that has haunted West Michigan for 40 years: the disappearance of Deanie Peters.

Deanie was 14 when she vanished from Forest Hills Central Middle School on Feb. 5, 1981.

An undated courtesy photo of Deanie Peters.

James Douglas Frisbie, 61, was arrested in connection to the case on July 2. A Kent County assistant prosecutor said Frisbie was charged with perjury — he’s accused of lying in connection to Peters’ case.

He’s also been charged with resisting and obstructing police, based on his alleged behavior when he was arrested on the perjury charge.

Frisbie’s charges are the first linked to the case.

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker, who’s prohibited from sharing additional details regarding the charges against Frisbie, said his office will continue to work on the case and “will follow any leads that develop during the investigation.”

“Obviously, this is an important case, and we are doing what we can to solve it for the family,” Becker said Monday night.

In February, retired Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Sally Wolter told Target 8 that investigators have been looking at Bruce Bunch. They had a theory: that Bunch, then 17, drove his car toward Deanie to scare her, that it slid on ice and ultimately hit her. Then he hid her body.

Bunch had apparently told as many as 30 people he killed Deanie. Investigators could not clear Bunch — but they also didn’t have enough to firmly say it was him.

He died in February 2008.

That was the same year the Kent Metro Cold Case team took up Deanie’s case. It conducted several searches for her body but did not find it.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Top Stories On WOODTV.com

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links