SPECIAL REPORT: Searching For Answers, The Luedtke Family Myster - Northern Michigan's News Leader

SPECIAL REPORT: Searching For Answers, The Luedtke Family Mystery

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A now empty piece of property is filled with years of memories. It was once home to the Luedtke's; Chris, Linda, and their 17-year old son, Christopher. A well known family of three in the close-knit community of Frankfort. Susan Rastelli and her husband live right across the street from where the Luedtke home once stood.

Chris owned Luedtke Construction, a family venture his wife, Linda, helped with. Susan describes Chris as a handy man, always willing to help at her home and anyone else's in need of renovation or repair. On November 16th, 2011, Susan awoke to the sound of her husband delivering some horrifying news; the Luedtke home was on fire.

Susan's husband heard an explosion, looked outside, and saw the fire. They say the flames were well above the trees, and the Sheriff tells us they received reports from people who lived miles away who saw the smoke.

Sheriff Rory Heckman has been working this case ever since. He says the bodies of Chris, Linda, and their son, Christopher, were all found inside the home.

Over the next several days, the Benzie County Sheriff's Office searched for evidence with help from the Michigan State Police and other area agencies in hopes of gathering more details. Investigators soon determined the fire was set on purpose, and Christopher was a homicide victim.

With results and evidence mounting, police began to question if the fire really killed this family of three.

A 38-caliber special revolver belonged to Linda, but that doesn't mean she shot it. This big break began to shed light on why three healthy people couldn't get out of a burning house.

9&10 News obtained copies of the death certificates. They reveal that Chris and Linda died on the 16th, the day of the fire, but their bodies were so badly burned, it's unclear just how they died. In a stunning new revelation, we learned that Luedtkes' son, Christopher, was likely shot nearly two days before the fire even started.

After a year of investigating, the Sheriff says they still haven't found what they're looking for. Police have interviewed family members and others. The Sheriff tells us they do have a person of interest, but no one's been arrested.

Susan says she hasn't been across the street since that day; it's just too hard. Chris Luedtke's truck is still in the yard, nearly untouched after such tragedy struck just steps away. Not much else is left of where the family called home.

Even a year from now, it may still be unclear what happened, perhaps the best witnesses are the victims.

Reporting in Benzie County, Sara Simnitch, and Photojournalist, Jeremy Erickson.

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