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UPDATE: Trial Scheduled for Millsboro Sex Offender

UPDATED STORY by Kelli Steele 02.27.12:  The trial for a 43-year-old Millsboro man accused of raping and then killing an elderly Millsboro woman in her Barkantine Drive home last October has been scheduled for April 2013.

Michael Purnell’s attorney Stephanie Tsantes entered a plea of not guilty for her client in Sussex County Superior Court Friday.

Purnell, who is a registered sex offender, has admitted to raping 70-year-old Dorothy Gudger and then strangling her with a belt on Halloween night 2011.

Gudger’s neighbor’s found her body two days later when they went into her house looking for her because they hadn’t seen her in a few days.

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UPDATE by ML – 3:pm – During a preliminary hearing this morning in the Court of Common Pleas, sufficient evidence was presented to bind 43 year old Michael Purnell over to Superior Court.  Purnell is charged in the rape and murder of an elderly Millsboro woman, in her Oak Orchard area home in early November.  Police say Purnell admitted to raping 70 year old Dorothy Gudger and strangling her with a belt.  Gudger’s body was found on November 3rd on the floor in her home after neighbors worried because they hadn’t seen her in several days.

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UPDATE by Kelli Steele 11.23.11:  43-year-old Michael Purnell, the man charged in the rape and murder of an elderly Millsboro woman earlier this month, will be in Sussex County Court of Common Pleas this morning for a preliminary hearing.

Purnell was arrested Nov. 3 and charged with killing Dorothy Gudger on Halloween night in her Barkantine Drive home near Oak Orchard.

Purnell faces one count of 1st degree murder, one count of 1st degree rape, two counts of possession of a deadly weapon and one count of 1st degree burglary; police say Purnell admitted that he raped Gudger and then killed her by strangling her with a belt.

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BREAKING & UPDATED by Kelli Steele 11.03.11: That 70-year-old Millsboro woman found dead in her Barkantine Drive home Wednesday afternoon was raped and murdered.

Delaware State Police now say they’ve arrested 43-year-old Michael Purnell in connection with the murder of Dorothy Gudger.

Police say the woman’s neighbors told officers they hadn’t seen her leave her house for several days, so they called 9-1-1 Wednesday afternoon.

Police had to force there way into the home when no one answered the door; they found Gudger dead on the floor.

Further investigation revealed that Purnell, also of Millsboro, had recently been seen doing odd jobs for Gudger at her home; Purnell is also a registered Tier II sex offender.

He was arrested around 7:30 Wednesday night and charged with 1st degree murder, 1st degree rape, 1st degree burglary and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony.

He’s being held without bail at SCI.

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ORIGINAL STORY:  Police are investigating a suspicious death in the Oak Orchard area.

Police say they were called to a  Barkantine Drive home Wednesday by neighbors who hadn’t seen the 70-year-old woman who lives in the home in several days.

After police got no response at the door, they went inside where they found the woman on the floor.

The victim’s body has been turned over to the State Medical Examiner to determine the exact cause of death.

The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin.

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DSP News Release:  Troopers Investigating Suspicious Death in Millsboro
Location: Residence located in the 27000 block of Barkantine Drive, Millsboro, DE
Date of Occurrence:   Wednesday, November 02, 2011 at 2:48 p.m.
Victim:        70 year old female resident

Resume:
Millsboro, DE- The Delaware State Police are currently investigating the suspicious death of a 70 year old female in Millsboro, DE.

The investigation into this incident began at approximately 2:48 p.m. today after Troopers were called to a residence located in the 27000 block of Barkantine Drive in Millsboro. Concerned neighborhood residents had called the 9-1-1 call center after they had not seen the female homeowner for several days. Upon arriving at the residence, Troopers attempted to make contact with the homeowner, however, received no response. They then made entry into the home at which time they found the 70 year old female homeowner laying on the floor of the residence deceased. The victim’s body was turned over to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner where an autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.

This incident is being investigated as a suspicious death at this time. The name of the victim is being withheld pending the notification of the next of kin.

More complete information will be released at a later time.

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25 Responses

  1. BAZOOP says:

    HE LOOKS SO INNOCENT.

  2. wow says:

    What a sick bastard!! I hope you burn in hell eternally for what you have done you POS!

  3. delawarelivin says:

    See thats just why I don’t think sex offenders should be out around the public,because they are going to do it again,and do alot more then just rape. He was on teir 2 also. He should NOT have been out period!!! Now a innocent woman,who had no idea he was a monster is dead because of him. Too bad one of the neighbors didnt see him sneaking in and put a hole in him!! But they will probably give him meds. because seems everyone who goes to jail is bi-polar,,and they always find Jesus and all of a sudden are well and let them out to do this all over.

  4. ProtectMyself says:

    One bullet, 99 cents and done. There is no need for this kind of person to even be alive. Don’t waste the tax payers money on him. Drop him like a bag of potatoes, shove him in a hole and be done with it. And with that said, that still is not justice enough. Can’t imagine what the woman’s family is going through.

  5. Concerned says:

    A good example of exactly why Juust Sooup Ranch needs to get a big NO WAY by the Board of Adjustment on Monday night to have 100′s of homeless (without guys like this in the mix) bused into the Cool Spring residential area! And to read that some accuse the neighbors of being fear mongers. Right.

    We all need to be so careful when hiring someone to do odd jobs or allowing people to come into our homes that we do not really know. What an awful thing for this lady to go through.

    Hopefully some liberal judge won’t let him go on a technicality to do it again and again and again. Wonder where the rule of law has gone to even allow these types of individuals loose once convicted in the first place?

  6. R.U KIDDING says:

    The Time to arm ourselves is now.

  7. David says:

    My prayers go out to the womans family and the neighbors. Unfortunately, I believe this type of crime will continue to happen until we as citizens demand justice and hold our judges and legislators accountable. Swift Capital Punishment is needed once found guilty.

  8. RT says:

    Great, another REPEAT sex offender, now a murderer. When do we just start killing these pieces of sh*t the first time.

  9. nemesis says:

    if all sexual offenders were to do life in jail, then people would cry about housing them.

    i say legalize drugs, and replace their incarcerated asses with the perverts.

  10. 27 grady says:

    I will donate the twenty five cents for the bullet

  11. crazy says:

    he was charged w/ another felony last month and got out on parole. the system is broken. this poor woman suffered at the hands of a major injustice … but he’s wearing clean clothes, getting dental work and eating food 3 times a day … sad

  12. eileen volk says:

    I was Dotties’ neighbor years ago. What a wonderful person she was, she probably trusted that creep. RIP Dottie now you can be with your loving husband Lee. eileen v

  13. concerned says:

    This is a good example of why the board of adjustment needs to turn down Jusst Sooup’s special request to bus in the homeless to the Cool Spring area where there is not security for the neighbors.

    It is not fear mongering at all–unfortunately people like this mingle with the regular homeless population. We all need to be so very careful in who we allow in our homes or to even work on the outside.

    For some reason my post didn’t get put up before. I do hope it will this time. Others may not agree with me, but bringing up the issue that concerns many many people all over the county and our safety is legitimate.

  14. RuralCarrier says:

    This story ruined my day. I know Dottie, she was a sweet lady.

    May God rest her soul in peace. You will be missed.

  15. this is really sad problem is judge graves willlet him out early like the cab driver that killed lady in lewes. then martin cosgrove and graves let the driver involved with spicer murder go with probation he gets out of jail in a few months they need to lock this guy as low in jail as they can go

  16. Details says:

    Was he eating a powdered donut when they caught him?

  17. RT says:

    Why is he not showing up in the Delaware sex offender registry if he is tier II?!

    http://desexoffender.dsp.delaware.gov/SexOffenderPublic/#

  18. Concerned says:

    A good example of exactly why Juust Sooup Ranch needs to get a big NO WAY by the Board of Adjustment on Monday night to have 100′s of homeless (without guys like this in the mix) bused into the Cool Spring residential area! And to read that some accuse the neighbors of being fear mongers. Right.

    We all need to be so careful when hiring someone to do odd jobs or allowing people to come into our homes that we do not really know. What an awful thing for this lady to go through.

    Hopefully some liberal judge won’t let him go on a technicality to do it again and again and again. Wonder where the rule of law has gone to even allow these types of individuals loose once convicted in the first place?

  19. Anthony says:

    Hope the BOA wakes up before the meeting to grant the Just Soup Ranch the go ahead to invite the homeless to Cool Spring.

    This is the kind of guy the neighbors are warning about that easily keep low profiles among the truly homeless who do need help.

    How absolutely horrible for the poor lady.

  20. Guest says:

    I say Chemical castration is the way to go for these perverts. I do remember some of our politicans were for this and then I never heard of it again. Something needs to be done, NOW. I agree with some of the comments about Just Soup, I would not want that in my neighborhood.

  21. BAZOOP says:

    we have already become the society that H.G.Wells wrote about. the murlocks prey on the weaker eloi.like lambs to the slaughter

  22. JoeJoe says:

    No matter what I say can not undo what has been done… I could say what I’d like to do to this man and it would not make a difference… “Dottie, though I didn’t know you, I do know this” … God will punish those who prey against the innocent…and though you may have suffered, you are forever in the light of Jesus…

  23. Bob L. says:

    Look at the booger’s eyes.

    He is demonic and needs to be executed so he can enjoy his hell.

    Lic aslam moe!

  24. judy says:

    THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE SYSTEM LETS A CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER BACK OUT ON THE STREETS. I HOPE THE JUDGE RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT FEELS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS.

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