Monday, January 14, 2008


Officer Arraigned For Wife's Murder
WWMT Channel 3/ Kalamazoo
January 14, 2008 - 4:29PM (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A 13-year-veteran of the Holland Police Department has been arraigned on Open Murder charges for the death of his wife.

It all started on Thursday evening when Holland Police were called to the home of Officer Ken DeKleine on an emergency medical call.

The Officer's estranged wife, Lori DeKleine, had been found unresponsive in the basement by one of the couple's two children.

After autopsy results came back and police conducted many interviews, Officer DeKleine was arrested on Open Murder charges Friday evening, and arraigned Monday afternoon on those charges in Holland.

Court documents tell a twisted story of Ken lying in wait with a nylon strap, confessing that he strangled his soon to be ex-wife last week, trying to make it all look like a suicide.

Professionally, everything seemed alright for the DeKleines. Ken was a well-liked community policing officer with the Holland Police Department, and Lori worked part-time for their church Holland Heights Christian Reformed Church.

But on a personal level, their was a lot of strain on their relationship. Even before Newschannel 3 profiled Officer DeKleine in 2005 as he prepared to head over to Iraq to train officers, a neighbor says the couple had filed for divorce.

"Yeah, we were aware of it, Ken shared his frustration with that," said Holland Police Chief John Kruithoff.

Lori had filed a personal protection order against Ken in January of '07. In it, a number of restrictions were listed, stating that DeKleine was prohibited from entering the couple's house, stalking Lori, or threatening her, verbally or physically. The PPO was filed with Holland Police, the very place where Ken continued to work as an officer.

Lori's divorce Attorney Holly Verdem says that Lori was afraid of what Ken might do to her."

"She told people last weekend that if anything happens to me, make sure they investigate Ken," Verdem told Newschannel 3.

Then on Thursday, Lori's body was discovered while Ken was on duty and at a training exercise.

"He was made aware of the call, obviously officers intervened before, he did not get into the house or anything," said Chief Kruithoff.

Less than 24 hours later, Ken was in jail, awaiting arraignment on the murder charges.

Now the attention has turned to helping the couple's two teenage children, may end up losing both parents.

"There's a lot of grief and both sides of the family have come together, just trying to make the right decisions and do the right things to take care of the kids," said a family spokesperson.

Lori's funeral was held Monday afternoon at Holland Heights Christian Reformed Church. Newschannel 3 will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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