Blake Gesiakowski and his daughter gave emotional testimony Thursday morning at the trial involving the man charged with supplying drugs and causing the death of their daughter and sister.
Scott Allen DeBruyn, 56, is charged with supplying drugs that caused the death of 23-year-old Camille Marie Gesiakowski on April 12, 2017. The case is being tried in Ottawa County Circuit Court.
Celia Gesiakowski told the court that she was planning to pick up Camille from the county jail on April 7 when she noticed missed phone calls and realized her sister had been released earlier than her family realized. Camille had just finished an eight-month sentence for a probation violation on a domestic violence conviction.
Celia said that she and her aunt figured out that Camille must have gone with DeBruyn, so Celia went looking for her older sister. Her aunt found an address for the DeBruyn home on West Spring Lake Road.
Celia said that she was very worried about her sister and called out her name and knocked on the door. DeBruyn eventually came to the door and said Camille was sleeping. When Celia started to cry, DeBruyn let her inside.
“It was early afternoon,” Celia said. “There were open alcohol bottles. There were empty pill bottles surrounding my sister.” She said there was a duster can on the floor and guns leaning against the wall.
The younger woman cried out for her sister to wake up.
“She was so delirious, she didn’t know where she was at all,” Celia said. “I think she might have been near death then.”
When Celia left with her sister, she said Camille was like a different person on the way home as she regained her senses.
Blake Gesiakowski testified that he last saw his daughter that Sunday afternoon when she left in a taxicab, saying that she was going to visit a friend who recently had a baby.
“Thank God I got to see her one more time before she died,” he said.
Blake said he went to work the next morning, and when he returned home found that Camille had not returned home as of midnight.
On Tuesday, he went to work again, but said he had a panic attack.
“A voice in my head said I’ve got to save Camille,” he told the court.
Blake said that he called the police and asked them to do a wellness check on his daughter. He then drove over to DeBruyn’s house.
“I was going to get Camille,” Blake said. “My wife told me not to go there because he had guns.”
So Blake said that he sat in the driveway and beeped his horn until the horn didn’t work anymore.
Blake said he then drove to DeBruyn’s ex-wife’s house and through her made contact with DeBruyn’s sisters. The sisters met him at the DeBruyn house, but by then, nobody was home.
Blake said as he was standing there, a neighbor asked if he needed help and then told him that DeBruyn had gone to a motel. One of the sisters then discovered what room DeBruyn and Camille were in.
Blake went to the motel and banged on the door of DeBruyn's room. He then went to the clerk and asked for police to be called because DeBruyn might have a gun. Police responded and found nothing, Blake said.
The police officers then asked Blake to leave because they had a disturbance complaint about him.
Ten hours later, police arrived at his home to tell him that his daughter was dead, Blake said.
“At first I was angry at the defendant,” Blake said. “Then I blamed myself for not being able to save my daughter.”
A lot of time was taken up Thursday afternoon as assistant prosecutor John Scheuerle and Grand Haven Department of Public Safety Detective Bryan Tithof read more than 60 pages of text messages between DeBruyn and Lona Daniels. The discussion included a lot of talk about drug purchasing and being ripped off by people selling DeBruyn bad drugs or weed.
Capt. Joe Boyle of the Grand Haven department then returned to the stand and Scheuerle played a series of collect phone calls from Camille to DeBruyn in the last days until her release from jail. They discuss hooking up a phone, taking her tanning, where she’s going to live if staying with her parents doesn’t work out and hanging out.
During the last call, made the day before Camille was released from jail, DeBruyn tells the young woman over and over again that he loves her, that she is his best friend and that he would do anything for her. He also says, "I'm going to try to be a better friend than I was before. I just don't want to see you go down the wrong track." He also tells her, "There's nobody you can trust more than me."
Also taking the stand on Thursday were Lona Daniels; her boyfriend, Mike Montgomery; taxi service owner Richard Retherford; Ottawa County Jail nurse Melinda Navis; and Baymont Inn employee Eric Scott.
The trial is expected to continue today with several hours of the recorded interview of DeBruyn by Detective Tithof.