Kentwood man faces murder charge in pregnant wife’s death

Target 8

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kentwood man is in the Kent County jail, facing a charge of open murder in the death of his pregnant wife.

Amber Guichelaar, 32, died Nov. 16 at the home she shared with her husband at 1432 Andrew SE in Kentwood.

Richard James Guichelaar, 35, was arrested Saturday and booked into the jail.

The couple had two young children, and Amber was pregnant with a third child when she died.

An undated photo of Richard James Guichelaar and  Amber Guichelaar. 
An undated photo of Richard James Guichelaar and Amber Guichelaar. 

Her cause of death was listed as “pending” on the death certificate as recently as this past week.

The pathologist who conducted Guichelaar’s autopsy, told News 8 several weeks ago that he had asked Kentwood Police to do some additional investigation to assist him in determining the manner of death.

The pathologist declined to discuss details of the case and referred News 8 to law enforcement for further comment.

In court documents obtained by Target 8, investigators said Richard Guichelaar had called 911 on Nov. 16 and stated he had found his wife, Amber, dead in their bed.

After completing an autopsy, the medical examiner ruled Amber’s death a homicide by strangulation/asphyxiation, according to court documents.

The documents stating the medical examiner found “injuries consistent with an assault which accused just prior to her death.”

According to the detective on the case, Amber’s husband was the only person home at the time of her death who was physically capable of causing the injuries that led to her death.

Kentwood Police confirmed Saturday a suspect was charged with open murder in Amber Guichelaar’s death. However, the department did not release any information about the suspect. A release said the suspect is expected to be arraigned on Monday.

An undated photo of Richard James Guichelaar and  Amber Guichelaar.
An undated photo of Richard James Guichelaar and Amber Guichelaar.

But Friday, News 8 confirmed that an open murder arrest warrant had been issued for Richard Guichelaar through Kentwood District Court.

The death certificate listed the location of Amber Guichelaar’s death as the couple’s home address on Andrews.

It also confirmed she was pregnant at the time of her death, which occurred three days before her 33rd birthday.

Amber Guichelaar previously taught Spanish at South Christian High School where her father-in-law, George Guichelaar, formerly served as principal.

News 8 spoke with George Guichelaar on Saturday. While he declined to comment on the arrest of his son, George said he and his wife are grieving the loss of their daughter-in-law and unborn grandchild.

In an essay published online in 2014, Amber wrote about why she became a teacher.

“My whole life, it seems, being a teacher is what I wanted to do. I felt as if it were what God was calling me to do. I think it’s mainly because I love being around people, and I love learning,” wrote Amber.

A photo of  Amber Guichelaar interacting with a student in 2019. (Courtesy of  SCHOOL NEWS NETWORK) 
A photo of Amber Guichelaar interacting with a student in 2019. (Courtesy of  SCHOOL NEWS NETWORK)

She noted she decided to major in Spanish after a mission trip to Guatemala following her freshman year in college.

“While I was in Guatemala, I was really frustrated that I was unable to fully communicate with the people as to ‘why’ I had gone on this trip. I was frustrated that I couldn’t tell the people about Jesus and all he has done in my life. It was after this trip, that I felt God nudging me into going into learning and teaching Spanish,” wrote Amber Guichelaar in 2014.

Amber graduated from Calvin College and had most recently been employed by Kentwood Public Schools, teaching students who were learning English as a second language.

A GoFundMe account has been created to support Guichelaar’s two children.

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