HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A Holland woman found dead in her apartment the day after Christmas had been suffocated, apparently while one of her young daughters was in another room, court records show.
Enrique Estrada III, 28, is charged with open murder in the death of 25-year-old Katherine Rutgers at her apartment on West 9th Street.
A relative told police the two had been in a “volatile” relationship, according to the affidavit for Estrada’s arrest warrant.
Court records show the suspect was the first to call police to check on Rutgers’ welfare at 2 a.m. on Dec. 26. He claimed he’d been locked out of the apartment. An officer couldn’t get an answer at the door, so he left along with Estrada, police said.
About 19 hours later, the victim’s mom called police. She said she’d gone to check on her daughter and found her dead in her bed, completely covered with a blanket.
The victim’s sister told police that Katherine and Estrada had a volatile relationship and that he had once broken into her home. Police wouldn’t say if that alleged break-in was ever reported. Estrada has no known criminal record.
That led police to question Estrada, who admitted suffocating her with a kitchen towel, apparently while her 2-year-old daughter was in another room.
The 2-year-old, records show, has a medical condition that requires her to wear a feeding tube.
Police later found a kitchen towel at nearby Kollen Park, where Estrada had said it would be.
Rutgers’ relatives have started a GoFundMe page for her daughters. In a little more than a day, it’s raised over $20,000.