BRANCH COUNTY – A Saturday night fire at an abandoned schoolhouse in Gilead Township, Branch County is believed to be arson.
Around 8:00 p.m. Saturday, March 25th, Bronson Fire Department was dispatched to the vacant schoolhouse on the corner of S Snow Prairie Rd and W Southern Rd for a possible structure fire.
Firefighters arrived to find heavy fire inside the building, and requested a full assist from Lakeland Fire Department.
This schoolhouse is the Gilead District No. 3 School, The Luce School, which was built in 1908 and closed in 1945. It is widely known as the site where, in 1990, Dennis DePue dumped a bloody sheet used in the murder of his wife Marilyn DePue, which was featured on a 1991 episode of Unsolved Mysteries, and was also the inspiration for the opening scene of the 2001 movie Jeepers Creepers. (video).
Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire. The building suffered little damage. No injuries were reported.
Bronson Fire Department investigators believe that arson was the cause of the fire, and requested Michigan State Police to investigate further.
Original article has been corrected: This is not the site where DePue dumped his wife’s body.