By Pat Maurer
Clare County Deputies were called to the Lone Pine Drive address in Playland Subdivision of Lake last Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. after a neighbor, Paul Tucker, found Painter’s body hanging from a children’s swing set in her home’s backyard.
State Police from the Mt. Pleasant Post and the Michigan State Police Crime Lab are heading up the investigation. They haven’t called the death a suicide.
Wednesday morning, Undersheriff Dwayne Miedzianowski reported, “The investigation of the death of Emily Painter continues. Sheriff’s Department Investigators are awaiting further information at this time.”
Painter, the mother of three toddlers, was apparently home alone at the time. Reportedly her children had left with their father sometime Thursday. A family friend reported that Painter’s family members were “shocked” when they received the news of her death.
One of Emily Painter’s friends who went to school with her in Alma contacted the Review Wednesday.
“She was the jokester of the group always making us laugh and keep our spirits up. There was definitely never a dull moment when Emily was around.” She added, “She was a little troubled in some areas of her life, but she never did drugs.”
Tucker, who lives next door and owns three empty lots between the two homes, said he went over to do “chores” (feed his rabbits) near the edge of the property around 9 a.m. when he saw the woman hanging from the swing. “That is something I was hoping I would never have to do is find someone like that,” he said. “She had been there for a while,” he added. He said he and two friends who were with him at the time saw that her feet were touching the ground and there was “slack” in the rope. “She could have stood up easily,” he said.
“My kids play with her three little boys,” Tucker said. “The oldest may be around five.”
He said he was told that Tucker and her boyfriend had “broken up” Thursday and that her boyfriend, who was staying with his mother across the street from the home, had said he went looking for her around midnight Thursday and didn’t find her.
Tucker said her body was visible from the road and other neighbor’s homes. “I think it’s funny no one noticed her hanging there,” he said Tuesday, “Her boyfriend’s mother was outside in her front yard raking leaves when we found her.”
Tucker added that he had noticed Painter had one slipper on and one off and that there was a piece of paper sticking out of her pocket. “I didn’t see a chair or anything she could have stood on,” he said.
He said officers said later they found a chair near the body and her pockets were turned out. People were over there before the police came, Tucker said. “Her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend (the children’s father) were both over there.”
He said he had contacted Detective Lt. Mike Coon at the Sheriff’s Department to give them that information several times, but as of Wednesday afternoon, hadn’t received a return call from anyone.
Miedzianowski said the Sheriff’s Department is expecting a report from the State Police Crime Lab. “We are still waiting for further information and hoping to have that by next Monday,” he said in an email Wednesday morning.
The Sheriff’s Department was also assisted at the scene by the Garfield Township Fire Department and Mobile Medical Ambulance Service.