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Victim's son: Meds may have been murder motive

11:28 PM, Nov 16, 2012   |    comments
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  • Newaygo County home where a Brohman couple was found shot to death.
  • Homicide victims Joseph Cherneski and Patricia VanDyke. (Courtesy: VanDyk family)
    

WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (WZZM) - A Newaygo County man says the prescription medications his mother and her boyfriend needed for their individual health conditions may have been the motive behind their deaths.

The bodies of Joseph Cherneski, 56, and Patricia VanDyk, 55, were found Thursday in the bedroom of the home they shared off M-37 in Brohman, a small community in northern Newaygo County.

Newaygo County deputies are calling their deaths a double homicide.  No weapon was found at the scene, not were there any signs of forced entry.

Neighbors say a family friend found Cherneski and VanDyk in their bedroom.

"They found them in bed, both shot in the head -- right in the eye," says neighbor Alice Bills.

VanDyk's son, Buddy, believes who ever killed them may have been after the couple's medications.

"That would be something someone would want, especially if they couldn't get it anywhere else," he says.  "My mom being the way she is, and Joe being older, they weren't going to put up much of a fight."

Buddy VanDyk says his mother suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), while Cherneski had chronic back issues.  He says their medicine was gone when he was finally allowed to enter the house on Friday.

"There isn't a lot that's known," says Undersheriff Brian Boyd.  "We've got two individuals that lived there, and nobody lived there with them -- so you've got no witnesses."

"They were quiet and minded their own business," says Bills.  "I'd never believe anything like this would happen to them."

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