Murder in the Heartland is examining the murder of Lorainne “Lori” Kirkley, a nurse from Valparaiso, Indiana, who was abducted, tortured, and murdered by her colleague David Malinski in 1999.
On the night of July 21, 1999, Lori Kirkley’s husband arrived at their home and discovered his 34-year-old wife and her car were missing. Chillingly, he did find a note taped to the kitchen wall, which read: “There’s a gun pointed at your head,” and there was a bloody knife in the sink.
A couple of days later, a young boy discovered a plastic bag with a number of Kirkley’s possessions along with a note addressed to her husband. The letter read: “I’m sorry about your wife. She wouldn’t cooperate, even with a .44 Magnum pointed at her head.”
The note continued: “I tackled her and attempted to cover her mouth. She bit the tip of my finger off… I had no plans to kill her, but unfortunately, I had to… You will never find the body.”
The following day, Kirkley’s burnt-out car was found in a cornfield. There were numerous bullets located on the floor of the vehicle.
On the day Kirkley disappeared, a neighbor had seen an individual with a bicycle enter Kirkley’s garage, and a short time later, they had seen the victim’s car back out and drive up the street. The cops decided their best bet was to locate this individual.
The police then learned of David Malinski, a physical therapist who worked at the same hospital as Kirkley and was thought to have an unhealthy obsession with the nurse.
The cops immediately noticed that he was suffering from what looked like defensive wounds, including scratches and bruises. The top of his finger was missing and a forensic dentist concluded it had been bitten off.
Evidence against David Malinski mounted
Malinski tried to argue that he had been having a consensual affair with Kirkley and that her disappearance was all part of an elaborate plan to escape a so-called unhappy marriage. However, the detectives weren’t buying his lies, and the evidence against him mounted up.
The FBI examined Malinski’s computer and discovered he’d researched, in detail, how to break into the Kirkley home. This revelation, combined with his injuries were enough to have him placed in custody.
While in custody, the twisted killer told a fellow inmate of 17 polaroid photos he’d taken of himself torturing Kirkley. He told the inmate where the pictures were hidden and asked him to destroy them when he was released. Instead, the inmate told the cops.
When the detectives located the polaroids, they found that Malinski had documented his torture of his victim through bondage and sexual assault. The photos were clearly taken at Malinski’s home.
Malinski continued to maintain his innocence, but a jury eventually found him guilty of burglary, murder, and criminal deviate. He was sentenced to 155 years behind bars.
It took six years for Malinski to finally admit he was the killer and that he had buried Kirkley at his father’s property in LaPorte, Ind. The cops were able to exhume the body and perform an autopsy which showed she’d been strangled.
More from Murder in the Heartland
Follow the links to read about more murderers in America’s Heartlands.
At first, the cops suspected that David Weedman had killed himself with a gunshot to the mouth. However, further investigation revealed that he had been murdered by his so-called friend, Randal Coalter, who had killed him in a jealous rage.
Jeffery Allen Brooks broke into the rural home of Diane Fortenberry, and when she came home unexpectedly, he beat her to death and fled the scene. Fortenberry’s unresponsive body was discovered when one of her sons returned home.
Murder in the Heartland airs at 8/7c on Investigation Discovery.