Traverse City Record-Eagle


November 22, 2011

Male at fire scene shot multiple times

3:10 p.m.

TRAVERSE CITY — A person found dead in a Frankfort-area house destroyed by fire had multiple gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

Search warrants filed on Nov. 17 in Benzie County District Court show that one of the males found in the aftermath of the Nov. 16 fire was later determined to have two gunshot wounds to the chest and two to the head.

Three people were found dead in the house after the fire. Police identified the bodies as Linda and Chris Luedtke and their son Christopher, 17.

The warrant doesn’t specify which male was shot, but authorities earlier said that Christopher was dead before the fire started. The warrant also said a .38-caliber revolver was found near what appeared to be the female.

10:20 a.m.

TRAVERSE CITY — Christopher Luedtke, the son of a Frankfort-area family whose house burned to the ground, is a homicide victim, police said.

Police also said evidence indicates the Nov. 16 fire that destroyed the family home on Pautz Road in Benzie County’s Crystal Lake Township was caused by arson. Sheriff Rory Heckman said this morning Christopher, 17, is a homicide victim. His parents Linda and Chris Luedtke also were found dead in the house fire.

“We can’t rule out double-murder suicide,” Heckman said.

Police are analyzing lab results and have not ruled out any scenario. Investigators also are obtaining search warrants for the family’s financial, internet, telephone and casino records.

Those records are to help police determine “when these people were alive” and when they were in communication with others.

DNA tests determined the identities of all three family members. Test results are being analyzed to determine what caused the deaths of Linda and Chris Luedtke, police said.

State Police fire investigator Sgt. Kenneth Hersha who sifted through the home’s remains referred questions about the investigation to local officials, but said evidence at the scene points to arson.

“We eliminated accidental causes,” he said.

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