Suicide note, DNA test revealed in Bobbie Maples murder case

Medical examiner: Maples died from homicidal asphyxiation

Ronald Earl Williams in a Muskegon County courtroom on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.


FRUITLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The man charged with murdering a Muskegon County mother confessed to his involvement in her disappearance in a prison suicide note, police say.

An officer testifying in Wednesday’s preliminary hearing for Ronald Williams said the suspect tried to kill himself in prison and left the note, saying he was involved in Bobbie Maples’ disappearance.

An undated courtesy photo of Bobbie Maples. (Jan. 28, 2016)
An undated courtesy photo of Bobbie Maples. (Jan. 28, 2016)

Williams is charged with open murder in the death of Maples, who disappeared in December 2014, less than two weeks after giving birth to her daughter.

In January 2016, a tip from Williams’ sister as part of a plea deal in her own criminal case led investigators to Maples’ body, which had been buried in a horse corral off Nestrom Road in Fruitland Township.

According to officer testimony Wednesday, Williams said he met with Maples to take a DNA test to determine if he was the father of her newborn baby. He told police he gave Maples heroin and she overdosed. He said when he found her dead, he put her outside and later buried her body, the officer testified.

The area near where a body was found in Fruitland Township on Jan. 23, 2016.
The area near where a body was found in Fruitland Township on Jan. 23, 2016.

Police said Maples had a history of heroin use. In testimony Wednesday, the medical examiner said traces of morphine still found in Maples’ body a year later could have broken down from heroin. The medical examiner also testified Maples had traces of sleeping medications in her body.

However, the medical examiner concluded Maples died from homicidal asphyxiation.

The medical examiner said Maples had been smothered by the plastic bag and duct tape that covered her nose and mouth. The medical examiner said Maples’ fully clothed body was also wrapped in plastic and “extensively bound” in duct tape before it was buried in a shallow grave capped with concrete.

Williams’ defense attorney said the medical examiner couldn’t confirm Maples was dead before she was bound and gagged. However, that argument was not enough for Muskegon District Court Raymond Kostrzewa, who bound the case over to trial.

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