The Pig Murders

I am almost certain that the first time I heard about this case would have been back in the late 1980's. It was featured on the show "Unsolved Mysteries" and I was an avid viewer at that time.  However, in 1989 when it was aired on the television show it probably did not catch my interest because it was still a mysterious missing persons case.

Then, several years ago I found the book Darker Than Night by Tom Henderson.  If you do not know him as an author, I highly recommend him.  If you know anything about true crime authors you know that many of the stories from Ann Rule came from the California and the upper northwestern area of the country.  Kathryn Casey (another of my favorites) writes many of her stories out of Texas and the deep south.  Henderson does a lot of cases, mainly in Michigan, but the plain states.  As you will often hear me say about cases I do not rely on one source because of course everything you see or read is almost always bias in one way or another.  I remember when I read Henderson's book on this case and I could not put it down.  Over the years there have been several documentary shows that have featured the case and just the other day I saw another (not a new one for anyone interested) and I was once again reminded of this case.  I was surprised to think I had never fully researched the case for a story here.  After doing just that today I am realizing maybe why I had not.  The sad thing is that this story is so much more than the case of two hunters who went missing in 1985 to never have been found.  This story is about a family that seems to have watched the movie Deliverace a few too many times and decided to adopt it as their motto.  I was truly amazed at the information that I found; the comments I found among the web; and the criminal history of this family.

While I was trying to keep on track with what I was trying to research my mind kept going back to the WB show The Outsiders.  It is a fairly new show, but if you have seen it, as you read along you may understand why I say this.  The television show is about a family who has lived on a mountain for generations.  None of them work.  They live some off the land and the rest they get by stealing. The town below if full of people fearful of the "clan" as they are called and those who think they are not scared, are soon shown they should be.  Now of course not every person portrayed in the family is a bad person but even the good ones are highly influenced or manipulated by the others.  And yes, because of the fear from the townspeople, as well as the disdain for them from the family, there is a lot of inbreeding going on up on that mountain. In this story there is not a mountain, but there are a lot of wooded areas and plenty of resources at the taking it seems. The other difference is that the family in this story does not have a problem coming out of hiding whenever they please because it seems they have all but feared most of their town, or at least that was the case back in 1985, although admittedly I found no reason for that to have changed.

On November 21, 1985 lifelong friends, David Tyll and Brian Ognjan left their homes near Detroit Michigan and headed north to do some hunting for the weekend. David was married and came from a very large family.  Brian had a girlfriend, and rumor is there was talk of marriage; he was his parents' only child.  When the men did not return on Sunday evening the families were worried.  When neither returned in time for work the families were frantic and knew that something was wrong and reported them missing. Searches were made and it was discovered that apparently the two men had taken a wrong turn to where they intended to go and ended up in the town of Mio Michigan.  They ended up spending time in a local motel and instead of hunting it sounds like a lot of their time was spent at the local bars doing some heavy drinking.

The searches went on for weeks, then months.  Finally it got to where the case was colder than the Michigan winters but it was never forgotten.  Every year it seemed there was a new story around the anniversary of when they became missing hoping someone would talk, but no one did, well at least not to authorities.  Apparently though many in and around Mio knew exactly what happened to the two hunters.  Some say it was just small town rumors; some say it was retaliation against a family who were feared around town; while others said they knew because they had heard it from the people themselves.  Finally there was one who said she knew exactly what happened because she had seen it happen.

In early 2000, some fifteen years after they disappeared investigators started hearing rumors about the Duvall family and their association with the missing hunters.  When they first heard the story that the men were killed and fed to the family pigs they brushed it off as being too outrageous of a story.  But then they kept hearing it and then they heard about a woman named Barb Boudro. A detective found his way to Barb and it took him a few years to get her to talk about what happened but she finally did. Once they were able to get Barb talking, enough where they could get some arrests made it seems others felt safe to talk also.  Keep in mind that all through out the years there had been a reward for information on the case and by 2003 it was up to $100,000 and still no one had talked, most say because they feared for their lives if they did.

Investigators, and then later prosecutors would have a little bit of a problem with Barb Boudro though.  To start with Barb was notorious around town for having a drinking and drug problem.  In fact, I saw some references to her calling her the "town drunk."  Secondly, Barb openly admits that on the night she saw a murder occur she had been drinking quite a bit.  So obviously there were first questions as to why it took 18 years for her to tell her story and then if the story she told was true. By the time she did tell her story it was already common knowledge, even among the investigators that David Tyll and Brian Ognjan had met up with at least some of the Duvall brothers on their trip.  Barb just started filling in the blanks.

Sometime in the night of November 23rd David and Brian were at a local bar.  Raymond "Coco" Duvall and his brother, Donald "Jr", were also there.  It was said that David and Brian were fairly intoxicated, as was nearly everyone there and had a few words with the Duvall brothers.  Coco and Jr. made a phone call and locals like Barb and the friend she was with knew it was likely to other family members for "back up."  In all there were seven Duvall brothers but there were also others in their tight knit group.  Barb said she and her friend knew there would be trouble so they left and headed to her home.

A short time later one of the Duvalls parked their vehicle in Barb's driveway (she did not live far from the bar) and despite having the television on she and her friend heard noises.  The area around her house was wooded so they began to sneak outside to see if they could see or hear anything more. They made their way through the woods a bit and could see that up on the road two other vehicles, one being a black Bronco (this was David and Brian's vehicle) all but facing each other for spotlights. As Barb and her friend watched they first saw David beaten with a baseball bat.  Brian attempted to take off but he was caught and brought back to where he could be seen and he too was beaten with the bat.  These were not simple beatings, these were blows to the head and body and Barb was certain the men had not survived.  Barb would claim that she and her friend got back into her home and a short time later there was a knock at her door.  She says it was Coco and Jr and they told her "You saw nothing. You heard nothing. The pigs need to eat too."

Barb would not be the only one who knew or had heard what had happened. Of course there was her friend that was with her but by 2003 he was no longer alive.  Story is that he was walking home one night and was run over by a car.  Of course speculation is that this was no accident and likely involved the Duvalls but that has never been proven.  After Barb talked a few others started too, telling how the men had told them themselves that they had murdered the men and fed the to their pigs.  But what about the vehicle?  How do you lose a vehicle?  Well, along with poaching and other things that the Duvalls did, not always on the up and up, they also dealt with cars.  They were all but masters at parting them out and getting rid of VIN numbers.  But, just because they knew they could, does not mean they did or that investigators could prove it.  Well, not really until one of the other Duvall brothers got into some trouble and admitted he had helped part out the Bronco.

Raymond "Coco" Duvall and Donald "Jr." Duvall were arrested and brought to trial.  Prosecutors expected the jury to sit out quite some time before they had a verdict.  To be honest they did not have a whole lot of evidence and to this day many argue, not that the Duvall's were not involved, but that the evidence was rather weak to bring to trial, let alone convict.  The jury surprised everyone when they only sat out two hours and came back with convictions for both men.  They were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

When I start researching a story I generally go to Google and I put in either the name of the perpetrator, or the victim and add the words "and murder" and see what comes up.  That is ALWAYS my first search.  As time goes on I will often search others in the case and then near the end of my research I will go to the Department of Corrections in the state in which the perpetrator was convicted (if there was one) and see what their stats read.  I ended up doing this case a bit differently because it did not not take long before I discovered this family was so much bigger than this story alone. Quickly in my search I found a Topix forum that discussed the crimes of another family member, who when the forum had begun had been arrested for murder and was yet to be tried and convicted. This sent me to the Department of Corrections earlier than I normally would go.

Every state has a website for inmates.  Just like other things on the Internet some are better than others but you can generally find at least release dates and charges.  Michigan's website is one of the better ones and easier to maneuver.  I already knew I was looking for two different Duvall's, plus possibly this new one so I started by just putting in the last name to see what would come up.  I, of course found, Raymond and Donald and saw that they have life sentences with no possible release. But, I also found six other Duvalls listed.  To be fair three of those six are either on probation or parole at this time and according to what I found out, regardless of the status of the convict their stats are to stay on the site for three years after their discharge.  This means even if someone had died until the three years are up they remain on the site.  Of the six other Duvalls listed I could connect at least four of them to the perpetrators of this crime.  One was a brother to Raymond and Donald.  What I found interesting about him is that throughout a few of the forum's I found where people discussed the family, he was considered to be the good one.  He was convicted in 2016 on six counts of sexual misconduct for events in 2004.  His earliest release date is listed as October of 2044.  There was another brother who is on parole after serving time for "children accosted for immoral purposes." The other two were actually children of the perpetrators of this particular crime.  One (and I should point out is a female) is serving time after she pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder in the stabbing death of a 78 year old man who she apparently did so in hopes of obtaining drugs, or money for drugs.  She received a sentence of 31-46 years and her earliest release date is shown as 2039.  The second child of the perpetrators had previous convictions for drugs and assault with a deadly weapon but now is serving a short stint for assault on a police officer and should be released between 2018 and 2020.

There were no shortages of opinions, and rumors about this family on the Internet.  Some argue that despite there being little evidence in the case of the murders of David Tyll and Brian Ognjan they are good with where the Duvalls are because at least they were caught for something as rumor is that these deaths were far from their firsts or last.  In 1995 a man by the name of Nelson Bolzman was convicted of the murder of his wife, Eileen who was found in a ditch.  He was released in 2014 and maintained his innocence and claims he was framed by the Duvalls.  Why would he say that?  Well, Eileen was the girlfriend of Donald "Jr." Duvall at the time of the murders in 1985.  She was also the mother of his children.  Speculation is that she knew about the murders and had threatened to go to the police and she was killed for that, but as I said, her husband was convicted.  Then there was Barb Boudro's friend who was ran over and killed by the car. Even the female daughter in jail is suspected in the murder of others.  But everyone needs to remember that rumors are not truth and while I am not going to stand up and defend this family in any way, just because someone said something, does not make it true.

The tale of the Duvall family is actually sad.  One thing that struck me when I was going through the files on the Department of Correction site was the list of tattoos on the inmates.  It seems that almost all of them had Nazi tattoos or ones that said "white power" and the like.  Now, I am not racist, nor do I condone racism, but I do not believe anyone is born racist.  Racism is taught and when so many members of one family not only express these views, but others, you have to know that's it's been ingrained in them and a way of life.  Although, I could not confirm this completely, there was one thing I found that stated that the father, Donald Sr. died in prison. Again, I cannot confirm this, nor can I tell you what he was in prison for at the time but it is telling if this is true.  My research indicated that there were 7 brothers total.  I can absolutely confirm that at least four of them have served significant prison time for very serious crimes.  Another brother passed away several years ago so I cannot confirm any of his criminal past.  And remember "the good one" is now serving time for sexual misconduct.  As parents sometimes we have a child who has lost their way and parents cannot always be blamed for the actions of their children.  I do not think that rule applies in this family.  When so many have issues such as there is in this family and running multi-generational, you have to ask where it came from and know, that it is from upbringing and environment.  Sadly in my opinion for anyone to break that cycle they would have to move far away from Michigan, not necessarily to get away from their family, although that cannot hurt, but from the stigma the family faces in the area.  Even still I gander it will take a few more generations to lose that stigma and those alive today will take it to their graves.  Think of it like the Hatfield's and McCoy's.... their fight began in the 1860's... those who lived through that time, or were alive at all likely didn't live it down.  One has to wonder how many generations, if it has happened at all that people have not said "That's the great great grandson of Devil Ance Hatfield" or something of the like.  Now obviously the Duvall's are not as famous as the Hatfield's and McCoy's but regionally they are.  People generally do not stray very far from their homes and it is only those who do that are able to "run" from history, and even still it's not always possible.

One can only hope that the newer generations of this family learn not to follow in footsteps or teach their own children things they have been taught.  

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