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Cold case solved?

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:06 PM

Ryan Mark Wyngarden was picked up without incident Friday evening, said Lt. Mark Bennett of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.

Wyngarden was arraigned Monday on two counts of open murder. Bond was denied and a preliminary conference with attorneys was scheduled for Thursday.

Wyngarden is charged with the shooting deaths of his sister, Gail Wyngarden Brink, and her husband, Rick Brink.

The Brinks' bodies were found Nov. 23, 1987, at their Park Township home. Rick was found in his vehicle in the driveway and Gail was in her bedroom, Bennett said.

Their bodies were discovered by Rick's parents and his co-workers after Rick failed to show up for work that day, Bennett said.

The case was never solved, but became a priority on the county's cold case list in August 2011. That’s when two of the Sheriff’s Department’s senior detectives were assigned exclusively to the case, Bennett said.

Detectives Venus Repper and David Blakely interviewed more than 200 witnesses, Bennett said.

The lieutenant credited their tenacity in bringing the cold case to a resolution.

"Information regarding (Wyngarden’s) involvement in the crime really came to the forefront in the last couple of months," Bennett said. "Within the last week, we got to the point where we clearly identified" the suspect.

Rick and Gail Brink had been married for about 18 months at the time of their death. Rick was employed at Trendway Corp. and Gail was employed at Donnelley Corp., both in Holland.

They had just renovated a house and moved in a month prior to their deaths, Bennett said.

Bennett declined to answer questions about a motive for the murders.

“I can’t say that there are any other suspects that have come to our radar," he added.

The investigation remains open and anyone with information is asked to call Silent Observer at 877-88-SILENT, or leave a tip online at mosotips.com.

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