Married cop murders single woman carrying his baby, stages suicide
09/12/2017 1:34 pm PDT
A woman found dead, hanging from the luggage rack of her own car. Was it a suicide, or was the whole scene staged?
Jenny Webb had a magnetic personality, attracting everyone around.
"I always thought of her as the sparkle of the family," said Dawn Webb, Jenny's mother. "She loved life and she had a good attitude. Nothing ever got her down."
The 32-year-old from Buena Vista, Michigan had even more to be happy about these days. She was eight and a half months pregnant with her first child, a boy.
Jenny's mom, Dawn Webb, was in shock when she first heard her daughter was expecting. For that matter, so was Jenny.
"She was five months pregnant before she found out she was pregnant," Dawn tells Crime Watch Daily. "I'm like, 'You're pregnant? You're not even really dating anybody.'"
Even still, there was no question as to who the father was.
"Well, she and he had been friends for probably 10 years," said Dawn. "I had never met him. She would say the name, and that's all she told me. That he was the father."
There was a reason she wasn't with the father: he was married.
"She was under the impression that he was separated, not even living with his wife at the time," said Andrea King, Jenny Webb's best friend.
Because Jenny was carrying his baby, was she in love with him?
"No. Absolutely not," said Andrea.
Did Jenny have any fantasies of marrying him or bringing up the baby together?
"Absolutely not," said Andrea.
So Jenny was preparing to be a single mother to a son she'd name Braxton.
"She had a good job, and she had bought a house," said Dawn Webb.
It's a beautiful evening late in August 2011.
After work, Jenny Webb goes to her best friend Andrea King's house to help with her newborn twin girls. Jenny can't stay too late. She has plans that night to meet up with her baby's father.
"I said 'Oh, what are you guys meeting up about?' And she says 'We need to discuss this whole child support thing,'" said Andrea, who says they were also discussing whether to put the father's name on the birth certificate. "I thanked her for helping me with the girls, and she said 'Same time tomorrow?' And I said 'If you're willing,' and she goes 'Yup' and she stepped off the porch and she goes 'See ya,' and she drove off."
A couple of hours later, a gruesome discovery on a secluded road: A Pontiac Aztek parked near a ditch, and a woman with an extension cord around her neck is found hanging from the car's luggage rack.
First to arrive on the scene was Buena Vista Township Police Officer Kenneth Bluew, followed by Officer Tim Patterson.
"When Patterson rolls up, the first thing Bluew does is get out of his car and says 'How do you want to do this?'" said Jeffrey Stroud, the former chief assistant prosecutor of Saginaw County, Michigan.
Both officers approach the vehicle and see the victim. It's Jenny Webb. Neither seems to know her. Officer Bluew pulls the victim's purse out of her car and finds a small folded piece of paper. Officers Bluew and Patterson read it together. It's a suicide note.
There were a lot of details in the suicide note: that she had lied about the true identity of the baby's father. She finally revealed his name was "Chris."
She goes on to say she met him at a bar one night and lied. She's "ruined her life" and "feels like a failure" because she "can't afford to support herself and her baby." The suicide note ends with "It's the only way. I love you and I'm sorry. Jenny."
After reading the note, Officer Bluew pulls out the victim's wallet.
"He looks at her I.D. and then proclaims 'Gee, I know this girl,'" said former prosecutor Jeff Stroud.
He says it's a girl he knows from one of the local bars. Minutes later, Detective Sergeant Sean Waterman arrives on the scene.
"When I first get there Officer Patterson comes up to me and says we got this girl over here and looks like she hung herself," said Waterman, who is now retired. "Officer Patterson tells me that he had come back here looking for Officer Bluew 'cause 'He wasn't answering his radio checks and I figured he was out here.'"
As cops investigate the scene, Officer Ken Bluew takes evidence photos. It all appears to be pretty open and shut.
"You sit here and you're looking at the scene and it looks like legitimate suicide scene," said Waterman. "Not many women normally hang themselves, but I have seen it, and so it didn't look anything out of the ordinary at that time."
So the car is towed and Jenny Webb's body is taken to the morgue.
Detective Waterman then makes his way to Jenny Webb's family's home to deliver the heartbreaking news.
"I said 'A suicide?' And he said 'Yes, Jennifer Webb,' and I said -- which is kind of dumb -- but I said 'Is she dead?' And he said yes. And I said 'She may be dead but she did not commit suicide,'" Dawn Webb tells Crime Watch Daily.
But then what about the suicide note?
"When I saw the suicide note, it was typed, it was single-spaced, it was in size 10 font, and it was just worded so unlike my daughter," said Dawn. "If Jenny would have written a suicide note it would have been in her own handwriting, in glitter pen, in purple or green or pink, and each person would have got their own copy. It never would have looked the way it did.
"I don't even remember most of it. I probably only read about a quarter of it and I knew that it just wasn't legitimate so I didn't bother reading the rest of it," said Dawn.
Then Detective Waterman asks the Webbs three important questions. The last one changes everything.
"He said Did you know she was pregnant, and I said yes, and he said Do you know who the father was, and I said yes, and he said 'Who?'" said Dawn Webb.
"She was excited to have this baby, she wanted to be a mother. She was not suicidal by any means," Andrea King, Jenny's best friend, tells Crime Watch Daily.
Then the question that would cause a tectonic shift in the case: Who's the father of Jenny Webb's baby?
"Mr. Webb just looked at me and said 'Your Officer Ken Bluew,'" said former Buena Vista Township Police Detective Sean Waterman. "Now I've been in public safety a long time. I was a paramedic before that, I did a tour in Southeast Asia, so not much rattles you. But that rattled me. I just couldn't believe it. I felt sick to my stomach."
Sick to his stomach because Waterman knew Officer Ken Bluew was the one who found Jenny hanging from the luggage rack of her own car. Bluew was the one who found the suicide note in her purse. And now Bluew, a married man with a family of his own, was the father of her baby.
"I knew right then and there he did it. And I just knew this whole thing was staged," said Waterman.
Buena Vista Township P.D. can't investigate one of their own, so Michigan State Police are called in. MSP Detective Sergeant Alan Ogg was the lead investigator. When he arrived on the scene of where Jenny was found dead:
"Nothing was there. The body had been removed, the vehicle had been towed, everything was gone," said Allan Ogg. "I knew that that made it a little more difficult."
The scene is secured until forensic scientists Gary Ginther and Valerie Bowman arrive the next morning. Once there, they make a discovery in the ditch below where Jenny's car was parked: A pair of flip-flop sandals. But not much else.
"There wasn't really a whole lot there, and for whatever reason I was just standing along the asphalt just saying there has to be evidence here someplace, there's evidence that we're not seeing or finding, and lo and behold," said Gary Ginther.
About 195 feet from where Jenny's body was found, Ginther found a cigarette butt lying on the ground. And that's not all.
"I just turned around and looked down and observed the blood spot and eventually not too far away from that blood spot was a little necklace piece," said Ginther.
Everything collected is sent to the lab for testing, including Jenny's and Bluew's cars.
So what was Officer Bluew up to that night? Turns out, Bluew had been strangely silent, not answering any radio checks for the hour and a half leading up to Jenny's body being found.
"He goes dark on his police radio from about 9:05 or so to 10:30, when Officer Patterson has finally had it with him. 'Well, where's Bluew?' He's not responding so he goes out looking for him," said Michael Thomas, former prosecuting attorney of Saginaw County, Mich.
That's then Patterson headed to one specific dead-end road in an isolated part of town.
"That was where Bluew would go if he was going to sleep on the job," said Jeff Stroud, former chief assistant prosecutor of Saginaw County.
"He sees Ken's car there, sees the victim's car," said former detective Sean Waterman. "And Ken says 'Yeah I was getting ready to call you, I found this girl.'"
According to Patterson, Bluew looked disheveled and out of sorts.
"When he got there Bluew was all sweaty and out of breath," said Waterman.
And the more cops dig, the more pieces of evidence point to Bluew. In Jenny's phone's contact list she referred to Officer Bluew as "Ken Cop Boo."
"And of course when Sergeant Waterman found that number in her phone, he not only knew 'Ken Cop Boo,' what's the coincidence there, but the phone number that was attached to it, he knew Ken Bluew's cellphone number. He recognized it right away. He recognized that these three calls had been made that evening," said Stroud.
Three calls between Jenny Webb and Ken Bluew on the night she was found dead. Detectives also learn Jenny and Officer Bluew had planned to meet that evening around 9 o'clock to discuss child support and putting his name on the baby's birth certificate.
So what did Officer Bluew have to say about it all?
Bluew was the first on the scene that night, and as it turns out, he came back again.
"I go out to the crime scene, state police are there, crime lab is there, and lo and behold, who comes pulling up in his civilian clothes? Ken Bluew," said Sean Waterman. What is he doing? "Trying to gather information of what's going on. And he was ordered back to the station and stay there."
Back at the Buena Vista Township Police Station, Michigan State Police Detective Sergeant Alan Ogg is shown evidence photos from the night before, photos taken by none other than Officer Bluew.
"[Bluew] was asked by his chief to remain at the police department to be available for my interview. I would say at this point the wanting to give the appearance of being fully cooperative, nothing to hide, he did that, and sat through that interview," said Ogg.
That interview, about nine hours after Jenny Webb's body was found, would be conducted by Sergeant Ogg and Lieutenant Jason Teddy. It starts like three cops just hanging out. But things quickly turn serious.
Bluew says he was patrolling the area when he saw a stopped vehicle. He says he and Officer Tim Patterson approached the vehicle at the same time.
Bluew says he found the suicide note in Jenny's purse, then went looking for the victim's identification.
Bluew: "Found the wallet, open the wallet, looked through the wallet, found the I.D., and at that point I went 'Oh s---, I know this girl,'"
Why did he not check for vital signs?
Bluew: "I don't know, I guess probably not to disturb, I mean there was no movement, when I looked from a distance there didn't appear to be any chest rise, you know. I mean lips were kind of blue-ish. I mean it wasn't giving me the impression that it was, that she was alive."
Ken Bluew goes on to say he's actually known Jenny Webb for 10 years. They were friends, recently seeing each other once or twice a month.
How did he not recognize her when he first walked up?
Bluew: "Given the position she was in, and it was -- I mean, that's the hard part."
Lt. Teddy: "I don't mean to sound like an ass, I'm just thinking how would you not recognize her?"
Bluew: "Just kind of go into 'cop mode' at that point and it's just, 'OK, what do I go to do?'"
Terry: "But you got a good enough look at her to see her chest wasn't rise and falling, that her lips were blue."
Bluew: "Yeah, that's not a position that I ever see her in, I mean when I see her she's got her hair done."
During the interview, Ogg notices some scratches on Bluew.
"He had injuries on his body that were very suspicious," Allan Ogg tells Crime Watch Daily. "In particular he had a serious injury to his one eye. His claim was that the night before, before he came to work, he had been wrestling with his dog on the floor or whatever, and the dog injured his eye."
"One of his co-workers had eaten dinner with him during their shift that night and sat across the table from him, and that co-worker said there was no injuries, nothing wrong with his eye," said Ogg.
Bluew also had a bandage on his right index finger and scratches on his head and his forearm.
Multiple times during the interview, Bluew denies ever having sex with Jenny.
Ogg: "Is there a chance that you're the father of that child, Ken?"
Bluew: None. None, never slept with her.
Ogg: "Is there any reason that she would have told people that you were the father of that child?"
Bluew: "Not that I know of."
Ogg: "She has told people that you're the father of that child. Her family was well aware who the father of that child was. Didn't know you personally, but was well aware of what your name was, where you work, what you do and everything."
Bluew: "Huh. Wow."
Ogg: "No possibility of that?"
Eventually detectives ask for a swab of Bluew's DNA, but he first needs to sign a release.
"When I requested of him to sign a consent form, he hesitated before signing it," said Ogg.
Bluew: "Why is it that I'm feeling more and more like a suspect every minute that goes by here?"
And then just before he put pen to paper...
Bluew: "I can tell you one thing though guys: I did in fact sleep with her."
Jenny Webb, 32, and her unborn son Braxton are dead. Investigators believe the father of that child, one of their own, Buena Vista Township Police Officer Ken Bluew murdered them and staged it to look like a suicide.
Bluew: "Now it looks like I killed her and all I can tell you is I didn't."
But what Bluew says happened, that he found Jenny with an extension cord around her neck, hanging off the side of her own car, doesn't fit the evidence.
Could someone truly have committed suicide in the way she was positioned?
"No. Practically speaking, no," said former Saginaw County Medical Examiner Dr. Kanu Virani. "It was quite inconsistent with a suicide attempt."
Dr. Virani says Jenny's body had bruising on her hands, arms, face, chest and neck, and the ligature mark from the electrical cord found around her neck came post-mortem.
"She died of the suffocation. We call it choke-hold," said Dr. Virani.
"[Bluew] was trained in these choke-holds as a part of his police training, and was in fact a trainer himself, and interestingly enough he had his training manual on choke-holds in his police car in the front seat, which was very unusual," said former prosecutor Jeff Stroud.
Jenny Webb's death is officially ruled a homicide.
But there's another bombshell revelation that comes from the autopsy, a seemingly small discovery with a gigantic outcome.
"When I was processing the victim's clothes I found the tip to a latex glove," said forensic scientist Valerie Bowman. "On the inside of the glove tip, my testing indicated the presence of human blood. On the outside, my testing indicated human blood and saliva. DNA testing on the inside came back to show that the blood belonged to Ken Bluew. DNA testing on the outside showed a mixed stain from Jennifer Webb and Ken Bluew.
"The theory is that she may have bit his finger during the assault, making him bleed all over the crime scene," said Bowman.
And bleed all over he did.
"His blood was found on the extension cord that was wrapped around the roof rails of her vehicle. His blood was found on her clothing, his blood was found in her car. His blood was found in his patrol vehicle and on his uniform," said Bowman.
What about his uniform? Bluew gave investigators a laundry bag containing the uniform he said he'd just had on.
"The uniforms appeared unworn because the creases in both the front and backs of the legs were still crisp and the shirt smelled fresh," said Bowman.
So police searched and found a second uniform stashed under the rear seat of Bluew's truck. That one was less pristine.
"The second uniform, I examined that, and found blood stains on the shirt and on the duty pants," said Bowman. "The blood stain on those items came back to be Ken Bluew's."
"I believe without a doubt he thought he was smarter than everybody else and that he was going to be able to get away with it," said Allan Ogg.
And the incriminating evidence kept coming in. Several fingerprints were found on Jenny Webb's car, one in blood.
So Officer Bluew was fingerprinted. The print on Jenny's car, the bloody print on her car matches his fingerprint, including that this finger was somehow injured or wounded.
And there's even more: Remember the three items found 195 feet from her body? The DNA on the cigarette butt came back to match Ken Bluew. The DNA on the necklace charm came back to match Jenny Webb. And the blood spot came back to match Jenny Webb. Dr. Virani says her nose bled as she was being killed.
So what do investigators think happened on that frightful night?
"We believe they met here, they talked here and he killed her here," said Allan Ogg.
"We think he came up behind her and he was a big tall guy and got in behind her and using a choke hold was able to overpower her then. Because of the marks on his arms which there were claw marks on his arms, which indicates she was struggling, and he was behind her," said Waterman.
"After he killed her he loaded her into the back seat of her own vehicle somewhere right here and then he drove that vehicle around to where it was later found," said Ogg.
That's where they say Bluew staged the suicide.
"I think ultimately what he did was he had her body in the back seat, tied the extension cord to her neck, tied the extension cord to the car roof rack, and then in all likelihood just pushed her out," said Jeff Stroud. "There's no other reason for his blood to be all over the back seat, the back cushion, the door sills."
Armed with a search warrant, detectives make some interesting discoveries at Bluew's home, including similar extension cords.
"His computer searches had indicated 'What's the best way to commit suicide? What's the most painless way to commit suicide? What are the circumstances, the dynamics surrounding vascular-compression strangulation.' All of these were on his computer searches," said Stroud.
It looked like the case against Bluew was a lock. But was the evidence all a little too perfect?
"On the back of the suicide note I found and located 14 latent fingerprints," said forensic scientist Gary Ginther. And Ginther's testing showed that not one single print matched Jenny Webb. All 14 matched Officer Ken Bluew. But it was the condition of Bluew's prints on the note that changed how the case would go forward.
"There was no damage to the fingerprint ridges, so it's telling me that that particular note was handled by Kenneth Bluew prior to his right index finger being damaged," said Ginther.
Which investigators believe shows premeditation.
Officer Ken Bluew was arrested and charged with four counts, including first-degree murder and assault on a pregnant individual, intentionally causing miscarriage or stillbirth.
"We would have charged him with another first-degree murder of the baby except in the state of Michigan you can't have first-degree murder of an unborn child, although this little baby was eight and a half months along," said former Saginaw County Prosecutor Michael Thomas.
But there was one person who said Kenneth Bluew should never have been arrested in the first place: Bluew's sister, Debbie Dennis. Debbie says she believes Jenny Webb took her own life.
"The only explanation is she killed herself, and that's hard," said Debbie Dennis, Kenneth Bluew's sister. "I don't know, maybe it was just an accident. I hate to say that she would have tied a cord around her own neck just to scare him. Some women can be dramatic. I think all of the answers probably died with her."
For Debbie, a lot of the case doesn't make sense.
"Where is the DNA? Where is the evidence that proves that he picked her up and he moved her around and put her in a car?" said Dennis. "There's no drag marks on her anywhere where he could have drug her. There's no scrapes where he pushed her out of a door.
"He didn't even have so much -- she had long hair, long curly hair -- there was not a hair strand on, they had two of his uniforms and there was none of her DNA, none of her hair, no makeup. There was nothing," said Debbie Dennis.
Dennis believes her brother may have been set up, and some of evidence may have been planted.
"As for all the blood that they found on her body or in her car, I'm not 100-percent certain. My theory would be that somebody put the blood there, because they definitely had access to his blood and his fingerprints," said Dennis.
None of Debbie Dennis's claims of police misconduct have ever been substantiated.
A little more than a year after Jenny Webb was killed, Kenneth Bluew went on trial.
Over three weeks of testimony, the prosecution called 31 witnesses. The defense called only one.
"He didn't really present a specific defense, just his attorney tried to poke holes in the prosecution's evidence, but the evidence was just overwhelming, it couldn't be done," said Allan Ogg.
Kenneth Bluew never took the stand.
The jury deliberated just two hours before rendering their verdict: Guilty on all counts.
"I've never in my 30-year career seen a case like this one," said presiding Judge Darnell Jackson.
At sentencing, Jenny's mother Dawn Webb talked directly to Bluew.
"An evil monster is the only words I can think of for you. So go to your cage and think about how you squeezed the life and breath out of my daughter and grandson. And I hope it haunts you every day for the rest of your life," Dawn told him.
Ken Bluew was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.
In an exclusive statement to Crime Watch Daily, Kenneth Bluew says in part:
"After consulting with my legal council [sic], I do not feel that it is appropriate to discuss the multitude of vague, inaccurate, and hypothetical statements from an alleged expert and witnesses with personal agendas, or the total disregard for proper investigative practices and evidence collection procedures outside of judicial proceedings."
"I believe that he in his own mind thought he was smart enough and would be able to get away with it," said Allan Ogg.
"I think the sloppiness came from things he couldn't control: Jenny Webb's attack on him, the fact that he's bleeding. I mean, who stages a crime scene while bleeding all over it?" said Jeff Strou. "Ken Bluew did himself in with a lot of help from Jenny Webb."
"She was our best witness," said Gary Ginther.
For Dawn, she knows Jenny fought hard and ultimately helped solve the case, along with the heart and dedication of some exceptional people. A bad cop killed her daughter, but the good cops put him in prison.
Just days after his arrest, Bluew's wife filed for divorce. As for the former officer -- he took his request for a new trial all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court -- but was denied. Bluew tells us he will continue to actively appeal what he calls a wrongful conviction.