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National
Married father of 4 accused of killing, cannibalizing Grindr date on Christmas Eve
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Married father of 4 accused of killing, cannibalizing Grindr date on Christmas Eve

Father of 4 accused of killing, cannibalizing Grindr date

Married father of 4 accused of killing, cannibalizing Grindr date on Christmas Eve

A Michigan man is sitting in jail awaiting a mental competency hearing after authorities say he killed, strung up and cannibalized a man he met on Grindr over the Christmas holidays.

Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, is charged with open murder and mutilation of a human body, according to court records. He is being held without bail in the Shiawassee County Jail.

Latunski is accused of the brutal killing of Kevin Richard Bacon, 25, of Swartz Creek. Bacon was a hairstylist and student at the University of Michigan-Flint, according to his obituary.

“He was a good person. He was compassionate,” Bacon’s father, Karl Bacon, said, according to WNEM in Saginaw. “He cared for the people he met. He cared for the people he worked with. He loved everyone.”

Michelle Myers, Kevin Bacon’s best friend and roommate, told MLive he just wanted to be loved in return.

“My beautiful friend was put through things that should’ve never happened,” Myers said. “Kevin just wanted to feel loved and was working so hard on loving himself.”

Kevin Bacon’s death, in garnering national headlines, caught the attention of several celebrities -- including actor Kevin Bacon. The actor posted a photo of the slain hairdresser on his Instagram page Dec. 30, writing that, “for obvious reasons,” he was thinking about the young man’s family and friends that morning.

“His life was taken from him much too soon,” actor Kevin Bacon wrote. “His love was hair dressing. I bet he would have done a great job on this mess on my head. RIP KB.”

A friend of the homicide victim wrote on Facebook that she used to joke around with her friend about whether the “famous Kevin Bacon” knew him. She said seeing the actor’s Instagram post about her slain friend was “oddly comforting.”


Makeup artist Jeffree Starr also commented on the slaying after learning that Bacon, the hairstylist, was a fan.

“I’m devastated to hear of the passing of someone from Michigan who lived their life fearlessly and was taken too soon,” Starr wrote on Twitter. “Please help his family in this horrible time.”

Starr also donated $20,000 to Bacon’s family through a GoFundMe page set up to pay for his funeral services. The amount was the entire goal set by Bacon’s sister, Jennifer Bacon, who established the fundraiser. As of Tuesday, the total amount raised had reached over $37,000.

Karl Bacon and his wife, Pamela Bacon, said they have not yet processed the horrific details of what happened to their son.

“It’s gut-wrenching to hear the details and we are just beside ourselves,” Karl Bacon said. “Evil does exist and it touched us.”

Latunski, a one-time chemist, is a father of four who was estranged from his husband at the time of the killing. His husband, Jamie Arnold, spoke with WNEM on Dec. 31, telling the news station that he left the home where Kevin Bacon died in September because he could no longer tolerate Latunski’s habit of bringing strangers home for sex.

In a separate interview with NBC25 in Flint, Arnold said he had become concerned for his own safety.

“We’re not together anymore because he (Latunski) started saying some very unusual and unreasonable things, accusations,” Arnold told the Flint news station. “He claimed that the neighbor was polluting our water. He claimed that his family was not his family. That his biological family was not his, that his children were not his. He said I could no longer bathe in the house because it was toxic.”

Arnold said he last saw his husband on Christmas -- hours after police believe he killed Bacon.

“I talked to Mark on Christmas Day,” Arnold told WNEM. “I had some friends over, and I didn’t want him to be alone. So I invited him over Christmas Day if he wanted to come.

“He appeared to be normal. He never exhibited any signs that anything was wrong.”

Latunski’s attorney, Douglas E. Corwin Jr., has submitted an insanity defense on behalf of his client, pointing to Latunski’s extensive past mental health history. That history includes at least four mental health commitments, according to The Washington Post.

Latunski gave several different names to law enforcement and court officials following his arrest. The Detroit Free Press reported that he gave police officers who arrested him the name Wilk Olykos Vilkas.

Photo

Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP
Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, Mich., appears in court via video feed Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, for his arraignment, at which a judge ordered a mental competency evaluation. Latunski is charged with open murder and mutilation of a body in the death of Kevin Bacon, a 25-year-old hairdresser found slain, hung upside down and castrated Dec. 28, 2019, in Latunski’s home. Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, Mich., appears in court via video feed Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, for his arraignment, at which a judge ordered a mental competency evaluation. Latunski is charged with open murder and mutilation of a body in the death of Kevin Bacon, a 25-year-old hairdresser found slain, hung upside down and castrated Dec. 28, 2019, in Latunski’s home.
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MarkLatunski

Photo Credit: Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP
Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, Mich., appears in court via video feed Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, for his arraignment, at which a judge ordered a mental competency evaluation. Latunski is charged with open murder and mutilation of a body in the death of Kevin Bacon, a 25-year-old hairdresser found slain, hung upside down and castrated Dec. 28, 2019, in Latunski’s home. Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, Mich., appears in court via video feed Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, for his arraignment, at which a judge ordered a mental competency evaluation. Latunski is charged with open murder and mutilation of a body in the death of Kevin Bacon, a 25-year-old hairdresser found slain, hung upside down and castrated Dec. 28, 2019, in Latunski’s home.

Editor’s note: The following story contains extremely graphic details of a man’s death.

Bacon was reported missing by his family and friends when he vanished Dec. 24 after leaving to meet up with a man he met on the dating app Grindr, a network geared toward gay, bisexual and transgender people. His friend and roommate, Michelle Myers, wrote on Facebook Dec. 26 that he was last seen leaving her house at 5:23 p.m. Christmas Eve.

By 6:20 p.m., his cellphone had been turned off.

“It is unusual for him to turn his phone off when he’s out, and also not like him to not have his car with him when he meets people,” Myers wrote. “We have reason to believe that he is not safe and is trapped.

“Please, please keep an eye out while you are out and let the police know if you have any information or message me or his family. We just want him to be OK, safe, and alive.”

Bacon’s car was later found by his parents, abandoned at a Family Dollar, Myers wrote. His phone, identification, wallet and cash were inside the car.

The clothes he had been wearing were also in the car.


“He did not bring a change of clothes when he left, so right now he is either unclothed or in clothing they put him in,” Myers wrote.

Bacon’s phone showed that he used apps like Grindr, Tinder and Scruff to meet men.

“When he goes out it's never for more than a few hours, and if he stays the night somewhere, he tells someone,” Myers wrote.

NBC News reported that Bacon’s phone did send one text to his roommate that said he was having fun and might not make it home that night. He failed to show up at his parents’ home as expected Christmas morning, however, and they grew worried.

He was reported missing Christmas Day, the network reported.

“He did not bring a change of clothes when he left, so right now he is either unclothed or in clothing they put him in,” Myers wrote.

Bacon’s phone showed that he used apps like Grindr, Tinder and Scruff to meet men.

“When he goes out it's never for more than a few hours, and if he stays the night somewhere, he tells someone,” Myers wrote.

NBC News reported that Bacon’s phone did send one text to his roommate that said he was having fun and might not make it home that night. He failed to show up at his parents’ home as expected Christmas morning, however, and they grew worried.

He was reported missing Christmas Day, the network reported.


Friends and family organized search parties for Bacon in the days after his disappearance. On Dec. 28, four days after he vanished, his Grindr messages led state troopers and local police officers to Latunski’s doorstep.

First Lt. David Kaiser, with the Michigan State Police, said Bacon apparently went to Latunski’s home of his own accord.

“I believe the conversations contained things they wanted to happen,” Kaiser told the Free Press. “I don’t know exactly what acts were discussed, but I know they were sexual in nature.”

News reports and a court transcript offer the gruesome details of what law enforcement officers found after they knocked on Latunski’s door at 703 W. Tyrell Road near Morrice.

Detective Sgt. James Moore testified that officers went to Latunski’s home Dec. 28 for the purpose of conducting a welfare check on Bacon. According to the transcript, Latunski gave state troopers permission to search his home.

Bacon was found dead in a “secret room” in the basement, the Free Press reported. The court transcript indicates he was found hanging upside down from the ceiling.

Latunski was taken into custody, at which point he was interviewed by detectives.

“Under Miranda warnings, Mr. Latunski admitted to the murder of Mr. Bacon,” the court transcript reads. “Mr. Latunski stated he used a knife, stabbed him in the back one time, then slit his throat.”

Latunski told troopers he then wrapped rope around Bacon’s ankles and hung him from the rafters.

“In addition, Mr. Latunski admitted to using the knife to cut off Mr. Bacon’s testicles, which he later consumed,” the transcript reads.

Kaiser told the Lansing State Journal last week that investigators were looking into the possibility of previous victims, but said that, at that point, no evidence had been found to indicate Latunski was a serial killer.

The Bacon family last week addressed the details of what led up to their son’s death.

“I understand that what was released today shows Kevin had a dark side. Those who knew and loved Kevin did not know that side,” Karl Bacon said. “Those who knew him knew his good side. They knew he loved and cherished everybody he touched. He touched a lot of lives during his short life.

“It’s unfortunate that his dark side is what took his life, and he met the wrong people that way that took him too soon from us.”

Karl Bacon said he believes his son was not prepared for what awaited him at Latunski’s home.

“He had used his phone and his vehicle to get out of bad situations in the past,” he said. “So to leave it behind was very concerning to us and other people that knew him.”

“That wasn’t like him,” Pamela Bacon said.

The grieving father told MLive that Grindr employees were less than helpful when the investigation into his son’s disappearance began. He described them as “rather uncooperative.”

“They didn’t give us any info during the initial investigation,” he said about the dating app, while not mentioning the app’s name. “There’s no regulation of law on how they operate and how accountable they are to people’s activities on their apps.”

Karl Bacon urged users of all dating apps to always be aware of their surroundings and, if meeting someone met through an app, let family or friends know who that person is and where the meeting will take place.

Listen to Karl and Pamela Bacon speak about their son’s death below.

A Grindr spokesperson released a statement regarding Kevin Bacon’s slaying.

“We at Grindr are heartbroken to hear about this terrible tragedy, and share our condolences with Mr. Bacon’s family and friends,” the statement said. “While for privacy reasons we do not offer public comment on individual user accounts, we remain fully committed to working with law enforcement in the event of any investigation.”

Prior incidents of terror

Court records detail Latunski’s criminal history, as well as his history of mental illness. The State Journal reported that Latunski was charged in 2013 with custodial kidnapping after he took two of his four children without permission.

Latunski was found incompetent to stand trial and underwent eight months of outpatient treatment before being found fit for trial in January 2015, according to court records obtained by the newspaper. The charges were ultimately dismissed a few weeks later at the request of his ex-wife, Emily Latunski.

Arnold, Mark Latunski’s husband, told MLive that he was not aware of his husband’s mental health history until last summer, when Latunski was arrested for failing to pay child support to his ex-wife.

An Aug. 22 motion filed by Emily Latunski asked that the court suspend her ex-husband’s visitation with their four children, MLive reported. She cited previous diagnoses of major depression, paranoid schizophrenia and a personality disorder.

Mark Latunski was known to stop taking his medication, the court documents show.

“To my knowledge, I couldn’t force him to see a therapist or take medication," Arnold told MLive. “Never in a million years did I think he’d be capable of doing such a horrendous crime.”

The Free Press reported that Bacon’s fatal encounter with Latunski was not the first to raise alarms.

A 46-year-old man scaled a fence to escape Latunski’s home Oct. 10 after becoming spooked during a sexual encounter. On Nov. 25, neighbors saw a man wearing nothing but a leather kilt running down the street in terror, with Latunski chasing him.

In the November incident, the man in the kilt told responding officers he had been chained in Latunski’s basement for a consensual encounter when he became scared. Latunski told police he chased the man because he wanted his $300 kilt back, the newspaper reported.

Neither man filed charges against Latunski and the man in October spent several more days with Latunski.

Kaiser pointed out that bondage during sex is not illegal.

“Sometimes people in these relationships are embarrassed or ... maybe they have a professional career and don’t want their private life interfering with their professional career, so they’re very reluctant to share anything with law enforcement,” Kaiser told the Free Press.

Leon Neal/Getty Images
The Grindr app logo is seen among other dating apps on a cellphone screen. Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, Mich., is charged with murder and mutilation of a body in the Dec. 24, 2019, death of a man he met on Grindr. (
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Grindr

Photo Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images
The Grindr app logo is seen among other dating apps on a cellphone screen. Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, Mich., is charged with murder and mutilation of a body in the Dec. 24, 2019, death of a man he met on Grindr. (

The Detroit paper also reported that Latunski appears to be linked to a gay escort site, Rent.Men, which reporters stumbled upon when doing an image search for Latunski. Nude photos and his Olykos alias appear to be attached to that site.

WILX in Lansing and WNEM both spoke to a neighbor, Michael Parks, who witnessed the Nov. 25 incident in which Latunski’s 29-year-old sex partner fled his home. Parks told the news station the man was covered in blood.

“This kid has his face covered with a rag and a phone to his ear, and he’s, like, ‘Help me! Help me!’ He’s after me!’ (He was) just scared to death out of his mind,” Parks said.

He said as the young man stood on his porch, Latunski drove up in an SUV. When he got out of the vehicle, he was also wearing nothing but a leather kilt, despite temperatures of around 40 degrees that day. Lutunski ultimately drove back to his own home a few doors down before police arrived.

Parks said the young man who sought his help in November resembled Bacon, down to his body type and purple hair.

“Maybe he had a certain type?” Parks hypothesized. “I don’t know. It’s creepy to think about.”

Parks told WILX he and his family moved to Morrice, a quiet rural village of about 900 people, to get away from crime.

“We’re all just farmers and deer hunters, so it’s quiet," Parks told the news station. “We moved from Atlanta and I thought we were going to get away from the crowds and all this kind of stuff, but I guess you never know who your neighbors are.”

Arnold emphasized to WNEM that he has been fully cooperative with the police investigation. In his interview with MLive, he said he never believed his husband capable of the crimes of which he stands accused.

“In hindsight, it’s easy to sit back and speculate but at the time you’re going through it, there are emotions and feelings involved. You don’t want to think that the person you fell in love with is some crazy homicidal maniac,” Arnold told the news site. “I pray that God is there for Kevin Bacon’s family in their time of need and that he helps us all get through this, one day at a time."

Bacon’s family said they believe Latunski may try using his mental health problems to escape justice for the slaying.

“He has used the mental health card to get out of situations in the past and he’s attempting to use it again,” Karl Bacon told MLive. “I would like to see him locked up for the rest of his life in some form or another.”

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  • A divided U.S. Supreme Court late Friday upheld Coronavirus restrictions placed on church gatherings by the state of California, as Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the four more liberal justices in backing the power of states to enforce measures for public health. 'Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,' the Chief Justice wrote in an unusual late night ruling. 'The notion that it is “indisputably clear” that the Government’s limitations are unconstitutional seems quite improbable,' Roberts added in a three page 5-4 opinion. The ruling came on a request from a California church to dispense with limits on church gatherings imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Golden State. The decision came just over a week after President Trump had very publicly pressured states to drop Coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship. The South Bay United Pentecostal Church in San Diego argued the health requirements put in place by the Governor were far too restrictive, and violated their constitutional rights. 'Although curbing the pandemic is a laudable goal, those orders arbitrarily discriminate against places of worship in violation of their right to the Free Exercise of Religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,' lawyers for the church argued. That agreement resonated with the High Court's four more conservative justices. 'I would grant the Church’s requested temporary injunction because California’s latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses,' wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his dissent. 'Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.' The decision quickly struck a nerve with more conservative Republicans and supporters of the President, many of whom have long harbored doubts about Roberts, who was put on the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. 'Chief Justice Roberts sides with the Left again,' said Fox News host Laura Ingraham, as the head of the Conservative Political Action Committee called for Roberts to be impeached. In Congress, there was anger as well. 'SHAMEFUL failure by SCOTUS to defend 1st & 5th amendments,' tweeted Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH).
  • The feud between Twitter and President Donald Trump escalated on Friday after the President used the social media platform to threaten the use of force against rioters in Minneapolis, as Twitter slapped a warning label on the President's tweet, saying Mr. Trump had violated rules on 'glorifying violence.' 'These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,' the President wrote, referring to the black man who was suffocated to death when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his head and neck for an extended period of time earlier this week. The President then spoke of sending in National Guard troops to restore order, warning that 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts.' That was evidently too much for Twitter, which placed a warning on the President's tweet. In the President's mind, the warning label from Twitter was the latest indignity against him by the social media giant, as Mr. Trump tore into Twitter early on Friday morning. 'Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party,' the President tweeted soon after 7 am. 'They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States.' Earlier this week, Twitter added a link to a couple of the President's tweets about mail-in voting, giving a link for more information about the issue. The President was incensed, leading to his executive order on Thursday, and a direct threat to close down the company, which experts said he had no power to do. On Capitol Hill, the two parties saw the developing events on Twitter much differently. 'Twitter is censoring the President of the United States,' said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). Democrats in Congress said the President was overreacting, and acting like an authoritarian. “Trump’s behavior is growing increasingly unhinged, authoritarian, and outright violent and is designed to inflame and divide America further,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ). “This is vile behavior,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).  “The President should not be encouraging violence.” “(T)he President’s executive order is a shameless attempt to use the power of his office to silence his critics and intimidate his perceived enemies,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA).
  • With a series of studies raising questions about the side effects and the efficacy of a drug pushed by President Donald Trump for use against the Coronavirus, the VA has curtailed its use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroqine in Veterans Affairs medical facilities. 'Last week, we only used it three times,' VA Secretary Robert Wilkie told a House Appropriations Committee hearing, a very small number compared to the over 1,300 vets who have received the drug for Coronavirus treatment. 'We started ratcheting it down as we went more to remdesivir and we went more to the convalescent plasma,' Wilkie said, as he took fire from Democrats over using the drug in the first place. 'It's very disappointing to me that the VA was using that drug,' said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the chair of the panel, as she slammed the President's embrace of hydroxychloroquine as 'wishful thinking' by someone who is not a medical expert. 'What is astounding to me is the VA is still insisting on providing this drug to veterans,' said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “We have ratcheted down as we've brought more treatments online,” Wilkie said at another point.  “And I expect that to continue.” Wilkie said he spoken this week with the government's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who told reporters in recent days that hydroxychloroquine should no longer be used by doctors. The VA chief though couched Fauci's advice as one which would leave the door open to possible use of the malaria drug as more evidence comes in. 'The rest of the world is all over the map,' Wilkie said of the use of hydroxychloroquine against the Coronavirus. 'France banned it, and then the government of India said it absolutely essential for them.' The message from the White House continued to be much more upbeat than Dr. Fauci. “It's important to note that this drug has been safely used by millions of people for a long time,” said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday.
  • A day after the United States topped 100,000 deaths from the Coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump joined the expression of grief for the families of those who have died in the pandemic which has swept around the globe. 'We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000,' the President wrote on Twitter, as he expressed his 'heartfelt sympathy' to family and friends of the dead.  As the numbers hit 100,000 on Wednesday, the President made no statement about death toll, as leading Democrats took on that role instead. 'God Bless each and every one of you and the blessed memory of the one you lost,' former Vice President Biden said in a video message from his home in Delaware. 'One hundred thousand,' said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL). Those we have lost can’t just be a number. A statistic. A line in a history book. They were our friends, our loved ones, our children and grandparents.' While calling the 100,000 deaths 'tragic,' Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said all sides need to be paying more attention to the large number of deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the nation. 'Seniors in these settings should be a top focus of our prevention efforts,' Rubio said on Thursday. In some states, the nursing home deaths represent an overwhelming share of Coronavirus losses, over 80 percent in Minnesota, 70 percent in Ohio, and near 50 percent in Florida and Georgia. Democrats continued to blame the President and his administration for not being better prepared, as an old tweet from October 2019 by Joe Biden became a focal point on Twitter. 'We are not prepared for a pandemic,' Biden said that day. 'Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores.
  • As the nation marked the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from the Coronavirus in just over three months, President Donald Trump spent Wednesday talking about almost any other subject, attacking Twitter, jabbing at the news media, questioning the Russia investigation, denouncing expanded mail-in voting, and again pressing a conspiracy theory that an ex-GOP Congressman was involved in the death of a female aide almost 19 years ago. 'He is arguably the greatest president in our history,' the President quoted Fox Business host Lou Dobbs saying about him. President Trump's only official comment related to the virus outbreak came in a single tweet early on Wednesday morning, in which he highlighted the growing number of virus tests nationwide. 'We pass 15,000,000 Tests Today, by far the most in the World,' Mr. Trump tweeted, adding, 'Open Safely!'  But there was no mention by the President, no tweet, no written statement in his name honoring those who have died, or who remain hospitalized by the Coronavirus. Democrats moved to fill the void. 'Would you have ever thought that we would be observing 100,000 people?' asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a Capitol Hill news conference. From his home in Delaware, former Vice President Joe Biden took aim at the President as well. 'I'm so sorry for your loss,' Biden said, marking the 100,000 death toll. 'They were not numbers. They were our neighbors. Our friends. Our family,' said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). The President met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Oval Office on Wednesday morning, and then flew to Florida, only to have the launch of a SpaceX crew vehicle scrubbed by bad weather. Over 1,400 deaths were reported in the U.S. on Wednesday, with over 300 combined from Illinois and New Jersey, two states which continue to struggle with virus cases. 'This is a tragic day. My heart aches for those we have lost,' said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). 'The day the United States hit 100,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic Trump shares a messages calling himself “the greatest President in our history,' said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). 'His vanity is nauseating.' On Capitol Hill, Democrats pressed for more money to conduct virus testing and tracing, but Senate Republicans have refused to bring up a House-passed bill with $75 billion more in funding. 'Are we going to do what we need to do to prevent the next 100,000 deaths?' asked former CDC Chief Dr. Tom Frieden.