Vehicle arson leads to homicide investigation, boyfriend in custody

Posted at 4:11 PM, May 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-06 22:29:46-04

CALHOUN COUNTY, Mich. -- Deputies in Calhoun County say they've arrested a man they believe is connected to a homicide investigation involving a missing woman who was found dead near the Flint River in Genesee County on Monday.

The case started as an arson investigation with Mt. Morris Township Police, who contacted the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office to try to locate 44-year-old Amy Wienski.

Authorities in Mt. Morris Township tell FOX 17 they responded to a vehicle fire on Sunday morning, later ruling the case arson.  The vehicle, a rental, was leased to Wienski.

Deputies in Calhoun County were called to try to locate Wienski at her home in Homer Township but couldn't find her, leading to a search of her property by the Major Crimes Task Force with the assistance of a Michigan State Police aviation unit.

John Barritt & Amy Wienski (Courtesy Photo)

John Barritt & Amy Wienski (Courtesy Photo)

Investigators say while the search was being conducted, Wienski's boyfriend, 45-year-old John Barritt, and another woman arrived at Wienski's Homer Township home.  Barritt was established as a person of interest in Wienski's disappearance during questioning, and was later turned over to the Mt. Morris Police Department.

Barritt is still in custody.

John Edward Barritt (Photo: Michigan Department of Corrections)

John Edward Barritt (Photo: Michigan Department of Corrections)

Mt. Morris authorities say a third person of interest in the investigation supplied information that led to the discovery of Wienski's body near the Flint River in Genesee County.  The medical examiner found evidence of blunt force trauma and strangulation, police say.

Authorities are still working to determine a motive in this case.  Mt. Morris authorities say they plan to turn their findings over the prosecutor by the end of the week.

Barritt, 45, was discharged from prison in October 2014 following convictions for bank robbery, stealing a vehicle and malicious destruction of fire or police property.