Monday, June 23, 2008

Legitimate Doubts About The "Suicide" Of Utah Single Mom Michelle Erickson Begin To Surface; Some Believe It Was Murder

Now that the body of Michelle Erickson has been found, her family undoubtedly needs closure more than anything else so they can work through the grief process successfully. Oftentimes, uninformed speculation can delay closure.

However, what initially appeared to be uninformed speculation about the death of Michelle Erickson is increasingly taking on an "informed" character. Even before I published my previous post on Sunday June 22nd, individuals on the Websleuths Forum were speculating on the possibility that Michelle Erickson was murdered. Since that time, forum members are adding to that speculation - and it's becoming quite plausible. Here are the primary reasons why they are expressing doubt that it was a "suicide":

(1). Michelle Erickson stocked her apartment with perishables the day before her disappearance. This does not correspond to a suicidal profile.

(2). Michelle Erickson had made short-term arrangements with her stepson on June 9th to get a haircut at some unspecified future date, before her disappearance. This also does not correspond to a suicidal profile.

(3). Michelle Erickson had purchased charcoal at a gas station in Downey, Idaho on June 10th, as previously reported by the Deseret News, before her demise. This doesn't fit a suicide profile - instead it better fits the profile of someone who intended to murder someone and then use charcoal to help burn the body. And there's one other issue here - we have no verification that Erickson herself purchased the charcoal and used her credit card. At the present time, we only know that someone driving Erickson's car and using Erickson's credit card purchased the charcoal.

(4). Michelle Erickson was reported to have previously suffered from depression. Yet her own family members revealed that there had been no recent recurrences. Did law enforcement play the "depression card" too quickly in a misguided attempt to accelerate closure?

But what specific trigger transforms this "idle speculation" into a workable alternative theory? A story published on June 18th, previously discussed HERE, provides an answer. On that date, KUTV Channel 2 reported that just 48 hours prior to Erickson's disappearance, another resident of the same apartment complex noticed an unfamiliar man lurking in the entrance. It is the same complex from which Erickson vanished. The resident in question stated that the man attempted to grab the door handle of her vehicle, so she locked her doors and goosed her vehicle out of there. Yet the media has ignored this story ever since.

Combined with the other anomalies identifed on Websleuths, this opens up the possibility that the same man who tried to carjack the other resident may have actually carjacked Michelle Erickson, and then the two drove up to Idaho. Erickson could have been killed by this individual at any point along the way. The presence of a "suicide note" implies that Erickson may have been still alive when they reached Walker Creek Canyon, was forced to write the suicide note, then was killed.

But why would the body not be burned? Why would Erickson's car be left behind? Perhaps the hypothetical killer intended to burn the body and take the car, but saw hikers in the vicinity, got scared, and ran off. Or perhaps the hypothetical killer knew that a description of Erickson's car had been circulated and he didn't want to be apprehended driving the vehicle.

So when we combine the Websleuths speculation with the known facts, we can come up with a workable carjack-kidnap-murder theory, as follows:

On June 10th, perhaps around 1:00 A.M., Michelle Erickson went out to her car for some reason. She was intercepted by some creep who waved a gun in her face, forced Michelle into her vehicle, and then the two started driving. They ended up in Downey, Idaho around 5 A.M. where charcoal was purchased. Then they drove to Walker Creek Canyon where the perp forced Michelle to write a suicide note, then murdered her. It's also possible that the perp intended to burn the body and take the car, but was scared off by nearby hikers.

Since there were no reports of Erickson's apartment being trashed, this would rule out somebody breaking in and kidnapping her. The confrontation would have taken place outside.

Update: Doubt about the official story continues to spread further. Now people on the HelpFindTheMissing Forum are questioning the suicide call.

Obviously, the next question for some readers is "Does this matter?" "Will this bring Michelle Erickson back to life?" Well, no, it won't bring Michelle Erickson back to life, but I think it matters if there's a possible killer on the loose. If this guy killed once, he'll do it again.

I don't believe the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office is deliberately trying to cover anything up. I just think it is premature for them to completely rule out foul play. True closure can be best achieved only by investigating all realistic possibilities. And a carjack-kidnap-murder sequence is a realistic possibility.


Anonymous said...

I am one of the 4-wheelers that is mentioned in many of the articles circulating the internet. I am willing to answer any questions you me at

Deseret Dawg said...

Thanks for the input. If the authorities don't release further information within the next day or so, I will take you up on that.

There is an outside chance that the Salt Lake Sheriff's Office may be pursuing an alternative theory but don't want to disclose it prematurely for fear of compromising an investigation. So I'm giving them a little wiggle room.

Anonymous said...

I knew this girl in school we spent a lot of time together in junior high school and later in High school.. My friends and I hung out at here house all of the time.. It was the place to be...

I would like to think it was homicide.. I would like to think that she loved her children so much that she could not or would not take her own life...

There is one peace that I would like to add to this story... It was about this time (first 2 weeks or so in June) 19 or 20 years ago her boyfriend in High school shot himself while talking to her on the phone.. I do not think she every quite got over it.. I know that she loved Brad with all of her heart and she did all that she could to help him, he was in counsuling... I am not sure what was said on the phone but it did not end well..

I want to think that it was murder but the timing of her death and his is to close to rule out..

Either way I continue to pray for her, her mother and her kids...


Anonymous said...

Hi, its the 4-wheeler person again. I was told that they found hoses coming from the exhaust of her vehicle and that they found charcoal that had attempted to be lit in the cab of the vehicle. I find these statements to be false since I was there and there were no hoses nor was there charcoal in the cab of the vehicle. There are so many things that don't make sense.

Anonymous said...

I just now stumbled accross this article. I went to junior high school with Michelle. I remember her, but did not know her personally. My heart goes out to her family. I have not been able to find any information after June 23rd, 2008, about what the autopsy may have revealed. Does anybody know what the outcome was?


Anonymous said...

Hi I am the son of Michelle and I have so many questions and things I wish to ask you if your able to still see these replys. Still to this day I think she was murdered.

Craig French Bassett said...

K or D, contact me. I spoke with the detective in 2011, after Dennis Lingmann's arrest. I had the same concerns about Dennis' possible involvement. I'll be more than willing to share what I know.