BENNINGTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A Michigan man is sitting in jail awaiting a mental competency hearing after authorities say he killed, strung up and cannibalized a man he met on Grindr over the Christmas holidays.
Mark David Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township, is charged with open murder and mutilation of a human body, according to court records. He is being held without bail in the Shiawassee County Jail.
“He was a good person. He was compassionate,” Bacon’s father, Karl Bacon, said, according to WNEM in Saginaw. “He cared for the people he met. He cared for the people he worked with. He loved everyone.”
Michelle Myers, Kevin Bacon’s best friend and roommate, told MLive he just wanted to be loved in return.
“My beautiful friend was put through things that should’ve never happened,” Myers said. “Kevin just wanted to feel loved and was working so hard on loving himself.”
Kevin Bacon’s death, in garnering national headlines, caught the attention of several celebrities -- including actor Kevin Bacon. The actor posted a photo of the slain hairdresser on his Instagram page Dec. 30, writing that, “for obvious reasons,” he was thinking about the young man’s family and friends that morning.
“His life was taken from him much too soon,” actor Kevin Bacon wrote. “His love was hair dressing. I bet he would have done a great job on this mess on my head. RIP KB.”
A friend of the homicide victim wrote on Facebook that she used to joke around with her friend about whether the “famous Kevin Bacon” knew him. She said seeing the actor’s Instagram post about her slain friend was “oddly comforting.”
Makeup artist Jeffree Starr also commented on the slaying after learning that Bacon, the hairstylist, was a fan.
“I’m devastated to hear of the passing of someone from Michigan who lived their life fearlessly and was taken too soon,” Starr wrote on Twitter. “Please help his family in this horrible time.”
Karl Bacon and his wife, Pamela Bacon, said they have not yet processed the horrific details of what happened to their son.
“It’s gut-wrenching to hear the details and we are just beside ourselves,” Karl Bacon said. “Evil does exist and it touched us.”
Latunski, a one-time chemist, is a father of four who was estranged from his husband at the time of the killing. His husband, Jamie Arnold, spoke with WNEM on Dec. 31, telling the news station that he left the home where Kevin Bacon died in September because he could no longer tolerate Latunski’s habit of bringing strangers home for sex.
In a separate interview with NBC25 in Flint, Arnold said he had become concerned for his own safety.
“We’re not together anymore because he (Latunski) started saying some very unusual and unreasonable things, accusations,” Arnold told the Flint news station. “He claimed that the neighbor was polluting our water. He claimed that his family was not his family. That his biological family was not his, that his children were not his. He said I could no longer bathe in the house because it was toxic.”
Arnold said he last saw his husband on Christmas -- hours after police believe he killed Bacon.
“I talked to Mark on Christmas Day,” Arnold told WNEM. “I had some friends over, and I didn’t want him to be alone. So I invited him over Christmas Day if he wanted to come.
“He appeared to be normal. He never exhibited any signs that anything was wrong.”
Latunski’s attorney, Douglas E. Corwin Jr., has submitted an insanity defense on behalf of his client, pointing to Latunski’s extensive past mental health history. That history includes at least four mental health commitments, according to The Washington Post.
Latunski gave several different names to law enforcement and court officials following his arrest. The Detroit Free Press reported that he gave police officers who arrested him the name Wilk Olykos Vilkas.
He used the name Edgar Thomas Hill at his Dec. 30 arraignment, the newspaper reported. Latunski told his lawyer he is a member of the Thomas clan of Wales who was given the Latunski name to protect him.
A Facebook profile that appears to belong to Latunski bears the name Olykos Kai Lukas. The introduction to the page, which incorporates Greek, reads “Wolf and Luke enjoying life and having random adventures along the way.”
The page contains photos of Latunski and Arnold together, as well as several photos of Latunski naked, with a variety of objects hiding his genitals. In some photos, he cooks naked.
In others, he wears a leather kilt.
Editor’s note: The following story contains extremely graphic details of a man’s death.
Bacon was reported missing by his family and friends when he vanished Dec. 24 after leaving to meet up with a man he met on the dating app Grindr, a network geared toward gay, bisexual and transgender people. His friend and roommate, Michelle Myers, wrote on Facebook Dec. 26 that he was last seen leaving her house at 5:23 p.m. Christmas Eve.
By 6:20 p.m., his cellphone had been turned off.
“It is unusual for him to turn his phone off when he’s out, and also not like him to not have his car with him when he meets people,” Myers wrote. “We have reason to believe that he is not safe and is trapped.
“Please, please keep an eye out while you are out and let the police know if you have any information or message me or his family. We just want him to be OK, safe, and alive.”
Bacon’s car was later found by his parents, abandoned at a Family Dollar, Myers wrote. His phone, identification, wallet and cash were inside the car.
The clothes he had been wearing were also in the car.
“He did not bring a change of clothes when he left, so right now he is either unclothed or in clothing they put him in,” Myers wrote.
Bacon’s phone showed that he used apps like Grindr, Tinder and Scruff to meet men.
“When he goes out it's never for more than a few hours, and if he stays the night somewhere, he tells someone,” Myers wrote.
NBC News reported that Bacon’s phone did send one text to his roommate that said he was having fun and might not make it home that night. He failed to show up at his parents’ home as expected Christmas morning, however, and they grew worried.
He was reported missing Christmas Day, the network reported.
Friends and family organized search parties for Bacon in the days after his disappearance. On Dec. 28, four days after he vanished, his Grindr messages led state troopers and local police officers to Latunski’s doorstep.
First Lt. David Kaiser, with the Michigan State Police, said Bacon apparently went to Latunski’s home of his own accord.
“I believe the conversations contained things they wanted to happen,” Kaiser told the Free Press. “I don’t know exactly what acts were discussed, but I know they were sexual in nature.”
News reports and a court transcript offer the gruesome details of what law enforcement officers found after they knocked on Latunski’s door at 703 W. Tyrell Road near Morrice.
Detective Sgt. James Moore testified that officers went to Latunski’s home Dec. 28 for the purpose of conducting a welfare check on Bacon. According to the transcript, Latunski gave state troopers permission to search his home.
Bacon was found dead in a “secret room” in the basement, the Free Press reported. The court transcript indicates he was found hanging upside down from the ceiling.
Latunski was taken into custody, at which point he was interviewed by detectives.
“Under Miranda warnings, Mr. Latunski admitted to the murder of Mr. Bacon,” the court transcript reads. “Mr. Latunski stated he used a knife, stabbed him in the back one time, then slit his throat.”
Latunski told troopers he then wrapped rope around Bacon’s ankles and hung him from the rafters.
“In addition, Mr. Latunski admitted to using the knife to cut off Mr. Bacon’s testicles, which he later consumed,” the transcript reads.
Kaiser told the Lansing State Journal last week that investigators were looking into the possibility of previous victims, but said that, at that point, no evidence had been found to indicate Latunski was a serial killer.
The Bacon family last week addressed the details of what led up to their son’s death.
“I understand that what was released today shows Kevin had a dark side. Those who knew and loved Kevin did not know that side,” Karl Bacon said. “Those who knew him knew his good side. They knew he loved and cherished everybody he touched. He touched a lot of lives during his short life.
“It’s unfortunate that his dark side is what took his life, and he met the wrong people that way that took him too soon from us.”
Karl Bacon said he believes his son was not prepared for what awaited him at Latunski’s home.
“He had used his phone and his vehicle to get out of bad situations in the past,” he said. “So to leave it behind was very concerning to us and other people that knew him.”
“That wasn’t like him,” Pamela Bacon said.
The grieving father told MLive that Grindr employees were less than helpful when the investigation into his son’s disappearance began. He described them as “rather uncooperative.”
“They didn’t give us any info during the initial investigation,” he said about the dating app, while not mentioning the app’s name. “There’s no regulation of law on how they operate and how accountable they are to people’s activities on their apps.”
Karl Bacon urged users of all dating apps to always be aware of their surroundings and, if meeting someone met through an app, let family or friends know who that person is and where the meeting will take place.
Listen to Karl and Pamela Bacon speak about their son’s death below.
A Grindr spokesperson released a statement regarding Kevin Bacon’s slaying.
“We at Grindr are heartbroken to hear about this terrible tragedy, and share our condolences with Mr. Bacon’s family and friends,” the statement said. “While for privacy reasons we do not offer public comment on individual user accounts, we remain fully committed to working with law enforcement in the event of any investigation.”
Court records detail Latunski’s criminal history, as well as his history of mental illness. The State Journal reported that Latunski was charged in 2013 with custodial kidnapping after he took two of his four children without permission.
Latunski was found incompetent to stand trial and underwent eight months of outpatient treatment before being found fit for trial in January 2015, according to court records obtained by the newspaper. The charges were ultimately dismissed a few weeks later at the request of his ex-wife, Emily Latunski.
Arnold, Mark Latunski’s husband, told MLive that he was not aware of his husband’s mental health history until last summer, when Latunski was arrested for failing to pay child support to his ex-wife.
An Aug. 22 motion filed by Emily Latunski asked that the court suspend her ex-husband’s visitation with their four children, MLive reported. She cited previous diagnoses of major depression, paranoid schizophrenia and a personality disorder.
Mark Latunski was known to stop taking his medication, the court documents show.
“To my knowledge, I couldn’t force him to see a therapist or take medication," Arnold told MLive. “Never in a million years did I think he’d be capable of doing such a horrendous crime.”
The Free Press reported that Bacon’s fatal encounter with Latunski was not the first to raise alarms.
A 46-year-old man scaled a fence to escape Latunski’s home Oct. 10 after becoming spooked during a sexual encounter. On Nov. 25, neighbors saw a man wearing nothing but a leather kilt running down the street in terror, with Latunski chasing him.
In the November incident, the man in the kilt told responding officers he had been chained in Latunski’s basement for a consensual encounter when he became scared. Latunski told police he chased the man because he wanted his $300 kilt back, the newspaper reported.
Neither man filed charges against Latunski and the man in October spent several more days with Latunski.
Kaiser pointed out that bondage during sex is not illegal.
“Sometimes people in these relationships are embarrassed or ... maybe they have a professional career and don’t want their private life interfering with their professional career, so they’re very reluctant to share anything with law enforcement,” Kaiser told the Free Press.
“This kid has his face covered with a rag and a phone to his ear, and he’s, like, ‘Help me! Help me!’ He’s after me!’ (He was) just scared to death out of his mind,” Parks said.
He said as the young man stood on his porch, Latunski drove up in an SUV. When he got out of the vehicle, he was also wearing nothing but a leather kilt, despite temperatures of around 40 degrees that day. Lutunski ultimately drove back to his own home a few doors down before police arrived.
Parks said the young man who sought his help in November resembled Bacon, down to his body type and purple hair.
“Maybe he had a certain type?” Parks hypothesized. “I don’t know. It’s creepy to think about.”
Parks told WILX he and his family moved to Morrice, a quiet rural village of about 900 people, to get away from crime.
“We’re all just farmers and deer hunters, so it’s quiet," Parks told the news station. “We moved from Atlanta and I thought we were going to get away from the crowds and all this kind of stuff, but I guess you never know who your neighbors are.”
“In hindsight, it’s easy to sit back and speculate but at the time you’re going through it, there are emotions and feelings involved. You don’t want to think that the person you fell in love with is some crazy homicidal maniac,” Arnold told the news site. “I pray that God is there for Kevin Bacon’s family in their time of need and that he helps us all get through this, one day at a time."
Bacon’s family said they believe Latunski may try using his mental health problems to escape justice for the slaying.
“He has used the mental health card to get out of situations in the past and he’s attempting to use it again,” Karl Bacon told MLive. “I would like to see him locked up for the rest of his life in some form or another.”
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