Marilynn DePue Murder: Is Dennis DePue Dead or Alive?

The lives of everyone involved in the DePue family’s Easter Sunday 1990 forever changed. Marilynn DePue was involved in an altercation and later vanished with Dennis DePue. Her body was eventually discovered by authorities, but it took nearly a year for them to locate her killer. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Sins Of The Father: Bloody Cargo’ delves into Dennis’ crime and his life on the run before a confrontation with the police. So, if you want to find out more, we’ve covered you.

How Did Marilynn DePue Die?

Marilynn Lee McClenahen, a native of Detroit, Michigan, was born January 1941. Dennis DePue had been her husband for 17 years at the time. The couple had three children together, two daughters and one boy. Marilynn was a counselor at Coldwater High School in Michigan. She was loved by her students and peers.

Image credit: Walking back to Georgia/Find a Grave/Image Credit

But, Dennis filed for divorce in April 1989. Dennis was unhappy with his relationship. He arrived at Coldwater residence on April 15, 1990 for scheduled visitation with his children. As per the show, the children didn’t want to go with Dennis, leading to an altercation that ended with Marilynn being shoved off to the bottom of the basement stairs.

One of the kids called the authorities a few hours later when they didn’t hear back from Dennis, who said he would take her to a hospital. Marilynn was found dead on the Michigan road by someone who ended the search. One gunshot to the head caused the death of the school counselor.

Marilynn DePue was killed by who?

According to the show, Dennis and Marilynn’s relationship crumbled over time; Dennis was controlling and demanding. Furthermore, they had contradictory personalities, and he didn’t like Marilynn being active within the community. After Dennis pushed her down a flight of stairs, he carried her into a van and put her on the passenger’s side. After one of the children called 911, the officer went to the hospital and found no record of Marilynn’s arrival.


Ray and Marie Thornton were driving along backroads in Michigan when they saw a van speed past them. The couple came upon the same vehicle a little further up the road. They saw a man putting a white cloth with blood on it. They were followed by the van several times and then the couple saw him change the license plates. As per the show, the passenger’s side door was open and had some red stains; The couple believed it was blood and went back to where they saw him dispose of the cloth initially.

Marie and Ray found the white cloth in the episode. It looked bloody and contained some bone and tissue fragments. They ran to get a phone so they could call the police. Dennis was still missing, but authorities located the body on April 16. Dennis was finally found. To escape police, he had a gun and had taken money from his bank account.

Dennis wrote a letter to Marilynn’s school two weeks after her murder. Dennis wrote a letter to the school where Marilynn worked, in which he blamed the school staff for her death and the divorce. The show revealed that newspaper outlets and others received similar letters, which were sent from different states. This is a sign Dennis was on the run. Dennis settled in Dallas, Texas nine months after the incident under a false name, and was living with his new girlfriend.

Sometime in March 1991, ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ aired an episode that featured Marilynn’s case. Dennis saw the episode and decided to run again. According to the show, he informed his girlfriend that his mother was ill and that he needed to get away quickly. Later, one of her friends who watched the ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ episode told her about it. The girlfriend had already noted the license plate number and called the authorities to get the information.

How Did Dennis DePue Die?

After Dennis went on the run, police began searching for him. He made it to Louisiana before a police officer stopped him from speeding. After learning that Dennis was involved in a homicide investigation, authorities began to pursue him. After passing through several roadblocks the police shot Dennis’ back tires, slowing him down.

Dennis fired at the authorities, who quickly returned fire. But the van was full of valuable items and the bullets did not reach Dennis. Eventually, one officer found Dennis slumped in the driver’s seat with a gunshot wound to the head. On March 21, 1991, the incident was over in Mississippi. Investigators declared it suicide. The 47-year old shot himself with a weapon of.357 caliber. The bullet entered his mouth and exited from his back. Dennis was pronounced dead at the scene without ever being brought to trial.

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