Kalkaska sheriff's office reveals new info in concealed deaths case

Jan. 25—KALKASKA — Two dead bodies were left inside a Clearwater Township house for six days before law enforcement was first notified, Kalkaska County Undersheriff David Wagner said.

Erich Thayer Lutz, 61, and his estranged wife, Debbie Sue Lutz, 63, died on Jan. 5 from an apparent drug overdose, Wagner said.

The sheriff's office wasn't called about their deaths until Jan. 11, records show.

Wagner confirmed the property owner, Kenneth Roy Wilke, was at the house during that time.

Wilke was first arrested on the scene on an outstanding warrant from the Friend of the Court for failing to pay his child support, court records show.

A man who was sitting in his truck at the time of Wilke's arrest was also arrested on suspicion of narcotic use, sheriff's office reports state. He was "in the wrong place at the wrong time," and was not related to this case, Wagner said.

A search warrant for the Clearwater Township home was then obtained, and Wagner said a full search of the property was conducted late at night on Jan. 11 into the early morning of Jan. 12.

After conducting a search of the property, Wagner said the prosecutor decided to press charges against Wilke on suspicion of concealing the deaths of both Lutzes, and that he could face other charges depending on what the autopsies reveal.

Wagner said he was not sure what the Lutzes took that caused them to die.

Sheriff's office personnel said the Lutzes were not related, but said they were unsure if they were estranged spouses, or legally divorced at the time of their deaths.

Wilke has faced prior narcotics charges in the county, court records show.

He is currently facing two counts of concealing the deaths of individuals in the 46th District Court. The case remains open, pending the autopsy results and other findings from the investigation.