Two gruesome murders about five years apart left authorities with many questions until DNA evidence pointed to the killer. “Lake Erie Murders: Heartbreaking Hotel”, the investigation uncovered, focuses on the killings of Nancy Ludwig and Margaret Ebby in 1991 and 1986. While the case remained cold over the years, advances in forensic technology eventually led to a single person responsible for the murders in both incidents. So if you want more information, we’ve got you covered.
How did Nancy Ludwig and Margaret Abbey die?
Nancy Ludwig is a 41-year-old flight attendant married to Art Ludwig. On February 17, 1991, she left her home in Minnesota as she planned to take a flight to Detroit, Michigan. That night, Nancy stayed in a hotel near the airport. The next day, a housekeeper found her body in bed.
Authorities said Nancy was gagged and bound, her throat was cut and she had multiple stab wounds. Not only that, but the killer raped and tortured her, with defensive wounds on Nancy’s hands suggesting she fought back.
Several years ago, on November 9, 1986, Margaret Ebby was found dead at her home in Flint, Michigan. Margaret is a 55-year-old music professor at the University of Michigan at Flint. She was last seen on Nov. 7 when her friends sent her home after a party. Similar to Nancy’s situation, Margaret was raped, stabbed and nearly decapitated. However, there are no signs of forced entry.
Who Killed Nancy Ludwig and Margaret Abbey?
In Margaret’s case, authorities did not have any suspects, but did gather some evidence from the scene. In addition to blood and semen samples, there were fingerprints on the bathroom faucet. However, the prints at the time did not match anyone, and the case was deadlocked as there were no national databases to consult. Likewise, after Nancy was found, authorities collected blood and semen samples, as well as fingerprints.
According to the show, despite synthetic sketches and descriptions of the vehicle believed to be used by Nancy’s killer, the case hit a wall and went cold. Then, in 2001, thanks to federal funding, the police decided to send evidence in Nancy’s case for review. A semen sample matched another case: Margaret. Authorities were also shocked by the similarities between the two murders – the killer washed himself in the bathroom after torturing and killing Nancy and Margaret.
The fingerprints of Margaret’s case were then run against a national database. Immediately, authorities got a match: Jeffrey Wayne Gorton. In 1984, he was convicted of burglary, which may have been when his fingerprints were entered into the system. In addition, Jeffrey used to work for a sprinkler company that contracted the Mott estate in the area where Margaret lived.
With multiple leads pointing to Jeffrey, police need his DNA to identify him as the killer. According to the show, he was tracked to an ice rink. At that time, Jeffrey was married and had children. Authorities collected cups and napkins he used and sent them over for comparison. Not surprisingly, his DNA matched Nancy and Margaret’s semen samples. Police searched Jeffrey’s home for nearly 800 pieces of women’s underwear with date and location tags.
In addition, the show said they found tapes of Jeffrey recording himself in women’s underwear and set up secret cameras in the bathroom to record others.
Where is Jeffrey Wayne Gorton now?
In September 2002, Jeffrey was convicted of the rape and murder of Nancy, and was eventually sentenced to three life sentences. Authorities believe he was waiting for Nancy in a nearby stairwell and forced his way into her room when she opened the door. Then, in January 2003, Jeffrey, 40, pleaded not guilty to first-degree premeditated murder, felony murder, and first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with Margaret’s killing. He remains in custody at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan, prison records show.