Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

March 12, 2013

Convicted killer a problem in Antrim County

ELK RAPIDS — Victor Ivan Cole raped and strangled a 28-year-old woman at a Bass Lake cabin in 1976, angered, he said, because she backed out of a promise to have sex with him after he won a board game bet.

Cole, now 58, spent decades in prison for her slaying but was released in 2010 and returned to Antrim County because his crime occurred before sentencing law changes required offenders to serve their full terms. He was sentenced to 50 to 75 years, but served 33 years.

Now Cole finds himself in trouble again for two -- perhaps more -- sexually motivated assaults, prompting authorities and others to cast a wary eye his way.

Cole attempted to kiss a woman at the Elk Rapids District Library last summer. Then, in the fall, he walked up behind an elderly woman as she retrieved mail, put his arm around her and made comments, Antrim County Prosecutor Charles Koop said. The second incident occurred at Vacation Village in Elk Rapids, where Cole lived with his mother.

Another incident at Vacation Village is under investigation, Koop said.

George Knight owns Vacation Village. He filed a restraining order against Cole after he returned to the senior citizen mobile home community. It's an effort to protect residents and his business, he said.

"Several of the people who live there are single people by themselves who have lost a spouse, and I don’t want to further raise a concern in terms of their own health and safety," Knight said. "That’s my business and I don’t want our reputation to be tainted because of one person’s behavior."

Knight said Cole's mother is a long-term resident of Vacation Village. Officials there were aware of Cole's prison release, but couldn't prevent him from residing there prior to the assault.

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