HOLLAND, Mich– It was a cold case that captivated West Michigan, especially the lakeshore for decades. Now there’s more closure for the family of Janet Chandler after news that a man locked up for her murder is now dead.
61-year-old Arthur Paiva was being held at the state prison in Jackson. The Michigan Department of Corrections tells Fox17 News Arthur Paiva died March 13th from natural causes, on what happened to be his 61st birthday. In fact since January 28th he was being held at a state prison health center for medical issues and that’s where he died.
It’s just another chapter closed in a long case, involving families and a group of co-workers who conspired a cover up for years.
It was 1979 in Holland, 22-year-old Janet Chandler was a Hope College student studying music, working as a night desk clerk at the Blue Mill Inn on US 31. Investigators say Arthur Paiva along with four other Wackenhut Security Guards and Chandler’s co-worker lured her to a nearby house then gang raped her, strangled her and killed her.
A snow plow driver found her body a day later. It took more than 20 years for investigators to unravel the mystery, the cold case kept alive especially following a documentary by a professor at Hope College along with his students.
The documentary spawned new leads in the case and Paiva was named a suspect. Investigators say he was the ring leader of the group. During his trial, testimony shed light on a motive, saying that Chandler had rejected Paiva but still had sex with other guards.
The other security guards; Robert Lynch, James “Bubba” Nelson, Freddie Parker and Anthony Williams were also convicted. Chandler’s co-worker at the Blue Mill Inn, Laurie Swank is also serving time.