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October 04, 2022
Warning: This post contains mention of self-harm and descriptions of murder. Reader discretion is advised.
Michigan man, Mark David Latunski, 52, pleaded guilty last week to both first and second degree murder and mutilation of a body for the 2019 murder of a 25 year old man named Kevin Bacon.
Bacon, of Swartz Creek, Genesee County, Michigan, connected with Latunski over the Grindr app. At the time of his murder, Kevin Bacon was working as a hairdresser in Swartz Creek and sharing an apartment with a close friend, Michelle Myers. Myers would later explain that Bacon had struggled in recent years and wasn't happy with his life in the small suburb where he lived and worked, but didn't have the finances to move somewhere else.
On Christmas eve of 2019, he went to work at the hair salon as usual, dropping in on his mother and sister to style their hair for a family dinner which he decided not to attend when it was revealed a guest he didn't want to see had been invited. Instead, he returned back to his apartment and pulled up the Grindr app in the hope of a casual encounter to take his mind off things.
Kevin had struggled with depression, self-harm and image issues, issues that were so overwhelming he had once sought out treatment at a local psychiatric centre. According to his friends he had a history of dating men who used him, abused him psychologically, and didn't treat him right. Bacon’s friends said that he was always trying to fill the emptiness he felt by looking for love on dating apps.
It was that night, on December 24th 2019, that he tragically connected with Mark David Latunski, a man nearly twice his age who would go on to take Bacon’s life.
At around 5pm Bacon said goodbye to his roommate, who had plans of her own that night. He then left the apartment, never to be seen alive again.
When Kevin neglected to show up at his family home on Christmas morning they knew something was wrong. They quickly called the police to report him missing, but 72 hours passed and still they had heard nothing. Not knowing whether they were looking for a living man or a body, police, loved ones and volunteers began searching the surrounding countryside.
According to documents, on December 28th, 2019, officers from the Michigan State Police Department showed up to Mark Latunski's apartment to perform a welfare check of missing person Kevin Bacon, whom they were informed may be at the residence. Latunski allowed State Police to enter his property where they discovered Mr. Bacon's naked body hanging from the ceiling. When taken into custody, Latunski waved his Miranda rights and admitted to murdering Mr. Bacon, delving to a detailed description of the depraved actions against the victim.
According to Latunski, he stabbed the victim in the back of the neck with the intention of killing but admitted that since the wound was non-fatal he then slit the victim’s throat. After killing the young man, Latunski told officers that he tied rope around each of Mr. Bacon's ankles and hung him from the ceiling. Latunski also revealed that he had cannibalised the victims remains, removing the testicles and consuming them.
Kevin Bacon was not the first man to find himself chained up in the basement of Latunski's stand-alone stone house at 703 W Tyrrell Road, in Morrice, Michigan.
Forty-Eight-year-old James Carlsen, another man unfortunate enough to match with Latunksi on a dating app, had made a frantic 911 call in the fall of 2019, saying he had been bound against his will in Latunski’s basement. Carlsen declined to press charges initially, but the following summer filed a federal lawsuit.
Just over a month after Carlsen’s ordeal and escape from Latunski's basement, another man, this time a twenty-five-year-old male whose name has been stricken from documents, called 911 from the home of Latunski's nearest neighbour, having also managed to escape.
Again, charges were not filed against him, and it was reported that Latunski had chased the young man because he had fled the property wearing an “expensive leather kilt” belonging to Latunski that he wanted back.
The Michigan State Police have been accused of neglecting to follow up on Latunski because his victims were gay men. In 2020 a former police lieutenant for the department said the reason was due to the victim’s hesitance to press charges, adding that the victims likely did not want their “personal and private lives intertwined.” Police do have the ability to persuade victims to press charges, however, they cannot force a victim to comply with an investigation.
Jon Marko, James Carlsen’s lawyer in the federal lawsuit, argues that his client specifically called the police because he wanted their involvement and that if Latunski had of been interviewed and questioned following the ordeal, that Mr. Bacon may not have been murdered- a sentiment Bacon’s friends and family, as well as many following the case, agree with. Frustratingly, in the case of stranger assault, an arrest does not always lead to a conviction and sentences are not always lengthy.
Contradicting the advice of his lawyer, Mark Latunski pleaded guilty to open murder and mutilation of a body last week. A degree hearing to decide whether Latunski will be convicted of first degree murder, second degree murder or manslaughter will be held later in October.
Latunski has been receiving treatment at the Centre for Forensic Psychiatry as he was found incompetent to stand trial after he was initially charged. In October 2020 he was deemed competent and fit to stand trial and may be facing a life-sentence for his crimes.