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Murder of Kalee Bruce by Kevin Holtzer investigated on Murder in the Heartland

Mugshot of Kevin Holtzer
Kevin Holtzer was sentenced to life in prison for the shocking murder of Kalee Bruce. Pic credit: MI Dept. of Corrections

Murder in the Heartland examines the particularly disturbing killing of college student Kalee Bruce – spelled as Kaylee Bruce in some reports – who Kevin Holtzer murdered in 1998.

Bruce was an 18-year-old freshman studying at Northwest Michigan College and working as a clerk at the Beach Condominiums when she was savagely beaten and stabbed to death by resident Holtzer.

On the morning of February 17, 1998, a maintenance supervisor discovered the remains of Bruce at the office where she worked. She had suffered 19 stab wounds along with blunt-force injuries to the torso, chest, abdomen, and pelvis, and extensive internal bleeding.

Additional injuries to Bruce included a fractured skull and neck injuries which indicated she had been strangled. The killer had also driven a metal rod, using probably a mallet, into her causing massive internal injuries.

Evidence pointed to Kevin Holtzer as the killer

The cops found the scene to be particularly bloody, but this helped reveal their first clue; bloody footprints throughout the crime scene, which clearly showed the type of boot worn by the killer. Holtzer was known to wear a pair of these boots to work, but he had stopped wearing them after February 17.

The investigators also found a tire valve core, an item commonly found at the Tire Factory store where Holtzer worked. The valve cores regularly got stuck in employees’ footwear.

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