Daughter, boyfriend charged with murder after missing man's body - WNEM TV 5

Daughter, boyfriend charged with murder after missing man's body found in backyard

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Leonard Hempel (Source: Clare County Sheriff's Dept.) Leonard Hempel (Source: Clare County Sheriff's Dept.)
Source: WNEM Source: WNEM
Angela Hempel (Source: Clare County Sheriff's Department) Angela Hempel (Source: Clare County Sheriff's Department)
James Kuhns (Source: Clare County Sheriff's Department) James Kuhns (Source: Clare County Sheriff's Department)
CLARE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A body has been found in a backyard and investigators have arrested a man and woman in connection with the case.

On May 1 Deputies from the Clare County Sheriff’s Department were called to a home on South Road in Surrey Township.

Leonard Hempel's body had been found in the backyard of his home. The 54-year-old was last seen on April 9.

Angela Hempel, 31, and James Kuhns, 34, were arrested in connection to Hempel's death. Angela Hempel is the victim's daughter and Kuhns is her boyfriend.

The suspects lived at the home with the victim, police said.

Angela Hempel was charged with open murder and lying to a peace officer during a violent crime investigation.

Kuhns was charged with open murder.

A man claiming to be Hempel's best friend said the body was found in the garden area of the home. 

The soil was loose in a particular area and he said the body was discovered about 5 feet under.

"He was supposed to be at my birthday on the 13th and he didn't make it," said Scott Tessman, the victim's friend.

Leonard Hempel was missing for several weeks.

Tessman said he and the victim spoke daily, but the last time he heard from him was on April 8.

"I walked until I had blisters on my feet and then everything led me back to here," Tessman said.

On May 1 that search led Tessman and other family members to Leonard Hempel's garden. That's when they made the gruesome discovery.

"They found a spot that was probably 3 foot by 5, 6 foot that was really soft. They could shove the sticks all the way down and I just couldn't take it so I walked away. And the nephew started digging and would keep digging and that' when he found a gray sweatshirt and called 911 and the cops came back out," Tessman said.

Tessman said the victim moved to Farwell about four years ago and lived with his daughter and her boyfriend to help them keep their home.

"He come up here. He caught up their rent and since he's been here he's paid $500 a month rent," Tessman said.

Both suspects will appear in court on May 12 for a probable cause hearing.

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