Husband Is Charged With Murder 38 Years After Wife's Death
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 7, 2006
MASON, MICHIGAN--When 31-year-old Sally Sue Mercer died, a pathologist blamed her cause of death on bulbar polio -- a condition, caused by the poliovirus, that eventually makes a person stop breathing.
That was February of 1968.
On Monday of this week, her widowed husband, Dr. Charles William Mercer, was jailed on murder charges resulting from the decades-long investigation into her death. He was being held Wednesday on $2-million bond.
Ingham County Sheriff's officials have been reluctant to talk about what they now believe was Mrs. Mercer's cause of death, or how they came to that conclusion more than 38 years after she died.
"We have a theory about how she died," Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth told the Lansing State Journal. He declined to comment further.
Officials have gone so far as to credit new forensic technologies, including chemical analysis of Mrs. Mercer's recently exhumed body, along with relentless detectives that in the past few years have been able to get witnesses to come forward who might have been afraid to do so in the past.
Dr. Mercer is described in news reports as a well-liked and accomplished osteopathic doctor whom the American Association of Osteopathic Specialties named "Surgeon of the Year" in 1989.
Mercer, 72, still lives in the same home that he shared with his wife. It is also where her body was discovered.
He is scheduled for a June 15 hearing, at which time a judge will determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to try Mercer for the crime.
"Doctor charged in wife's 1968 death " (Detroit Free Press)
"Doctor charged in wife's 1968 death" (Lansing State Journal)