YALE, Mich. – Two intruders wearing Halloween masks climbed through a bedroom window of a rural Michigan home and stabbed a man and his wife as they lay in bed, killing the husband and leaving the woman with more than 20 knife wounds before fleeing the scene, police said Friday.
The victims' 17-year-old daughter and a son in his 20s were in the basement around midnight when the attack took place. The son ran upstairs when he heard the commotion and found his father bleeding to death on the living room floor, Yale Police Chief Michael Redman said. The mother suffered a punctured lung and was in serious condition at an area hospital.
"One saved the other," Redman said of the couple. Several neighbors identified them as Paul and Mara Skinner. Public records show Paul Skinner was 47 and Mara Skinner is 44 years old.
The dying husband was able to describe how one of the attackers had worn a mask depicting an old man's face, and two bloodied knives were found in the house, Redman said.
"It was a brutal attack," he said. "Stabbing deaths are pretty bad crime scenes."
Redman said the attack did not appear to have been random, but declined to provide immediate details.
He said officers arrested two male suspects, ages 18 and 19, around 9:30 a.m. only a few miles from Yale, the farming village of about 2,000 residents where the attacks took place. Michigan State Police Detective Pat Young later said a third suspect, a 17-year-old female, had been taken into custody earlier in the day. Police did not release the identities of the suspects.
The father of one of the suspects told The Associated Press that his son was in his family's backyard when state police converged on their home and arrested him.
"We don't know what's going on. They haven't told us anything," the man said. The AP is not identifying the father to avoid identifying his son, who had not been charged.
Charges were expected to be filed against the three on Saturday or Sunday, officials said.
By early Friday morning, word of the attack had spread through the family's neighborhood, said 23-year-old Stephanie Trupp, a hospital secretary.
"My dad works late and a neighbor called to make sure our doors were locked," she said. "We were shocked. They are nice people. We don't know why anyone would want to hurt them."
Stephanie Trupp's sister Courtney, 17, is friends with the victims' 17-year-old daughter and said the mother was her junior high school teacher for three years.
She currently teaches eighth grade, Courtney Trupp said.
"Everyone loves her," she said of her former teacher. "They didn't have any enemies."
In one night, the fabric of the small village may have changed, Courtney's older sister said.
"We used to keep our doors unlocked. I rarely locked my car door," Stephanie Trupp said. "Now, I definitely will lock up."