When a loving mother of three suddenly disappeared in June 2007, the authorities were stumped regarding what transpired. But within days, a tip led them to the killer, who eventually confessed to perpetrating the crime. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Where Murder Lies: Enemy Inside the Gate’ chronicles the case of Marilou Johnson and features interviews with loved ones and law enforcement officers. So, if you’re wondering what happened to Marilou and if the killer was brought to justice, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Marilou Johnson Die?
Marilou Johnson was originally from the Philippines. She had three children from a previous marriage, and as per the show, the father passed away a few years before the incident that changed the life of Marilou’s tight-knit family forever. At the time of the incident, the 50-year-old had been in a relationship with Roger Blanchard, a retired businessman. She and her three sons lived with Roger in Washington Township, Michigan. The family was worried when they couldn’t get a hold of Marilou. Roger reported Marilou missing sometime after midnight on June 15, 2007.
The missing report came through more than half a day after Marilou was last seen. Based on information received, the authorities’ search was concentrated in the Cass Lake area close to Washington Township. On June 25, 2007, they found Marilou’s purse with her belongings in the water. The following day, the search ended when her body was discovered. Marilou had been wrapped in a blanket and weighed down with cinder blocks. She had been stabbed six times in the chest.
Who Killed Marilou Johnson?
The authorities looked into the family at the beginning. While Marilou and Roger never fought, their relationship wasn’t perfect either. As per the show, Roger had a drinking problem. Furthermore, in June 2006, Roger asked for a personal protection order against Marilou but didn’t receive it. While she moved out with her sons, Roger called them back home after a short time.
The case took a turn when a friend of Marilou’s called the authorities with a tip. Tonya Disano notified the police on June 16, 2007, about David Wright, a local self-employed plumber. She claimed that David had been acting strangely in the days prior and that Roger had loaned him money in the past. The authorities also learned that David had a criminal history, and his wife had previously accused him of hitting her. So, he was placed under surveillance.
David’s behavior in the days after Marilou’s disappearance raised questions. He was seen disposing of a few things from his truck bed. The police retrieved those items and noticed plastic bags with blood and hair on them (they would later learn that was from an animal). David was arrested at a traffic stop for not having a proper license plate. At the time, the police found a pill bottle with diamonds that seemed to match the ones in a necklace worn by Marilou.
After being taken into custody, the authorities learned that David was in Marilou and Roger’s home to provide an estimate for repairing a Jacuzzi hot tub. However, Marilou asked him just to fix the toilet instead because she wanted to first check with Roger regarding the hot tub. The investigation also revealed that David borrowed about $50,000 from Roger in 2006, who promised to loan him $50,000 more. But David quickly ran out of that money and asked Roger for the other $50,000.
However, Roger refused to lend him more because the plumber had still not made any payments for the first loan. It seemed that David was desperate for some cash. Upon questioning, he told police that he planned to hold Marilou hostage in his trailer until Roger paid up. David further stated that he had a fishing knife in his hand when both tripped over something in his trailer, cutting Marilou by accident. However, the authorities did not believe him because he couldn’t explain how the six stab wounds occurred.
After Marilou was dead, they felt that David went into the house and stole her purse. He then hosed away the blood on the driveway, taking the body to his parents’ cottage near Cass Lake, burying her close by. But on or around June 21, 2007, David dug up the body, wrapped it in a blanket, tied it with rope, weighed it down with cinder blocks, and then dumped it in the lake. After that, he buried a dead opossum in Marilou’s grave to throw off any potential cadaver dogs (the animal whose blood and hair the authorities later found).
Where is David Wright Now?
David Wright Now drew a rough map of the lake despite not being sure of where he dumped Marilou Johnson’s body. The authorities also found the necklace in the purse without the diamonds. Earlier, phone records also placed David in Cass Lake despite his insistence that he wasn’t there. In June 2008, David was found guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and larceny. Then 38-years-old, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. As per prison records, David remains incarcerated at Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan.
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