Polinsky’s body was found by her co-worker after she failed to show up for work on July 26, 1977. She was last seen July 23, 1977. Polinsky’s body was found in her bedroom at her rented farmhouse in New Holland Street near 152nd Avenue in Port Sheldon Township.
Polinsky, 20 at the time of her death, was found naked in her bedroom with stab wounds and blunt force trauma to her head. No weapon was found at the scene, and there is no known motive for her death.
“We took on the cold case about 18 months ago, and we began looking at this in a more in-depth fashion,” said Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Mark Bennett. “Our cold case team is exclusively working on this 1977 case.”
In an attempt to reach more members of the public who may have information about Polinsky’s death, the Sheriff’s Office has created a Facebook page called “Justice for Deb Polinsky” with information about the murder and contact information for the detectives looking at the case.
After reopening the cold case, police believe a female was at the scene at the time of the murder, and are asking specifically for information about that person.
Police have also submitted evidence from the scene for testing, including 40 DNA samples and hundreds of fingerprints. So far, there has not been a positive identification of a suspect.
“We don’t have a name attached to it yet,” Bennett said. “Hopefully that’s fruitful.”
Polinsky worked second shift at Depree Chemical Co. and went to Holland Public Schools. She was known to frequent the Holland and Saugatuck areas, often in her red Volkswagen Beetle. She was also known to be accompanied by her German shepherd, Thor.
When Polinsky’s body was found, Thor was standing nearby. Bennett said the dog was “extremely protective over her,” and police believe the suspect would have known Thor.
If Polinsky was alive, she’d now be 60. While Bennett said time can sometimes be a benefit in investigating a case, many of Polinsky’s friends and family have moved around the country. Her parents, who still live in the area, are now in their 90s.
“You’re kind of running against the clock,” Bennett said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to answer some things for the family. I’d like to get them some answers before they pass. We think we have some investigative leads.”
Anyone with information about Polinsky’s death is asked to contact the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office at 616-738-4022. Anonymous tips can be called in to 877-887-45368 or sent to mosotips.com.