Woman missing for four years found dead in manhole at her home

Woman missing for four years found dead in manhole at her home
Richard Vandervelde, the son of Sylvia Frens, arrested and charged with her murder

The body of a woman who had been missing from her Colorado home for four years was found stuffed into a manhole at the property.

Sylvia Frens, 82, disappeared from the home in Grand Rapids in 2018 and her son Richard Vandervelde has now been arrested for her murder.

When she first disappeared, police reported a foul odor coming from the bedroom as well as a brown stain on the floor. But when it was tested it came back negative for blood.

After her disappearance, the suspect was found in possession of his mother’s car and also removed $10,000 from her bank account.

He told officers that he was living with his mother and that she had left to go to California with a friend, but could not give any details or say when she planned on returning. He also told police that his mother had given him permission to use her bank cards.

According to an April affidavit, the person who now owns the Frens’ house called police to say that they had come across a trash bag inside a manhole on the property.

DNA tests later confirmed that it contained the remains of Sylvia Frens. Police say that she died from blunt force trauma to the head and her death was ruled a homicide.

Police arrested Mr Vandervelde in Florida on 19 May and he was charged with first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased human body, crimes against an at-risk adult, fraud-identity theft, theft of $5,000-$20,000, motor vehicle theft, and abuse of a corpse.

He will appear in court on 21 June.

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