By Pat Maurer
According to new information received at press time, John Douglas White has been charged in the murder of Rebekah Jane Gay of Mt. Pleasant. He was arraigned Thursday afternoon in connection with the murder.
Isabella County officers have been searching for the 24-year-old Broomfield Township woman since around noon on Wednesday when her family reported her missing. An earlier release said she had not been seen since around 6:50 that morning.
Her car was found not far from her home, parked behind The Barn Door, about ten miles west of Mt. Pleasant, located at the corner of Coldwater Road and M-20. Gay lived near the intersection in a trailer park.
In a press conference Thursday afternoon, officers reported that White, 55, a neighbor of the woman, had allegedly entered her home on M-20 near Coldwater Road between 2 and 4 a.m. Wednesday. White had been seen around 6 a.m. Wednesday, but did not report for work at 8 a.m., according to information from the press conference Thursday afternoon.
Gay was reportedly hit in the head with a rubber mallet and strangled with a zip tie. Officers said her three-year-old son was at home at the time. Later in the morning, White allegedly took care of the three-year old and got him dressed for his father.
Police executed two search warrants and reportedly found blood in Gay’s home and in White’s truck. White was interviewed by police and eventually confessed to Gay’s murder and later, he led officers to her body, which was found in a deep ditch about a mile of her home.
Police said that White may have “fantasized about Gay” over the course of a few weeks. Reportedly he had fantasized about killing her. At the Thursday press conference, Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski said, “I think that tied into what he did.”
White has several prior convictions including an assault with intent to murder in 1981 and an involuntary manslaughter in 1995.
Further information was not available at press time.