Ex-Bad Axe chief suspected of killing wife, self - WNEM TV 5

Ex-Bad Axe chief suspected of killing wife, self

MASON, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan sheriff says investigators suspect that a former police chief abducted his estranged wife and drove her to a Lansing-area motel, where he fatally shot her and himself.

Mason police found the bodies of Gary and Rhonda Bucholtz of Port Hope while conducting a welfare check Tuesday.

Gary Bucholtz was police chief for about 10 years in Bad Axe, a city of 3,500 in Huron County in Michigan's rural Thumb region.

The motel is about 10 miles south-southeast of Lansing and more than 100 miles southeast of Bad Axe.

According to a news release by the Mason Police Department, the woman had multiple handgun wounds to the face, and the man had a single shotgun wound to the head.

The news release also states that the male likely confronted the female inside her Port Hope home, where a struggle followed, and took her against her will.

Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson says relatives contacted his department after the couple disappeared Monday night.

Hanson tells the Huron Daily Tribune in Bad Axe that investigators suspect Rhonda Bucholtz was abducted from Huron County and taken to the motel.

The Bad Axe Police Department issued this statement Thursday morning:

"The Bad Axe Police Department and the City of Bad Axe are deeply saddened by the news of the deaths of former Chief of Police Gary Bucholtz and his wife Rhonda Bucholtz. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Gary and Rhonda and we will support them during their time of grieving. We respect the family's privacy and will have no further comment at this time."

Copyright 2011 WNEM. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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