Man Charged With Killing Missing Grayling Woman

“That you did murder Michelle Kukulski.”

A Crawford County man is now charged with killing Michelle Kukulski, who hadn’t been seen or heard from for a week.

Northern Michigan’s News Leader had the only camera in the courtroom Thursday afternoon as John O’Connor was charged with open murder.

Investigators say he killed Michelle Kukulski after the two got into a fight.

Her body was found by a state police K9 early Thursday morning off Mapes Road in Oscoda County.

The sheriff says Michelle’s van was found in Clarkson Wednesday morning and what they found inside lead them to realize this was no longer a just missing persons case.

“Really broke lose yesterday morning,” says Crawford County sheriff Kirk Wakefield.

The Crawford County sheriff says investigators found blood inside Michelle Kukulski’s van. They’d been searching for her since earlier this week. With that discovery they started questioning John O’Connor, who Kukulski shared a nearly three decade relationship with.

“After several hours of talking with him, interviewing him, he finally gave up the fact that there was an incident at the home located on Chase Bridge Road,” says Wakefield.

The sheriff says the two got into a fight and O’Connor left Michelle’s body along Mapes Road in Oscoda County before taking her van downstate and then getting a ride back to Crawford County.

“He was a person of interest definitely. You have to start thinking of all the angles, you have to look at everybody involved anybody that had contact, where did she go who had she seen,” says Wakefield.

The sheriff says a final interview Thursday morning after the body was found was enough to charge O’Connor with open murder.

“We pulled him out again that morning and my detective and deputy that was working the case interviewed him again and he gave up really what happened,” Wakefield explained.

The Kukulski family was in the courtroom Thursday, visibly emotional and did not want to speak on camera.

The judge denied bond for O’Connor.

He’ll be back in court at the end of the month.