BENNINGTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Wilk Olykos Vilkas was advised of his rights. Edgar Thomas Hill was read the criminal complaint. But it’s Mark Latunski who faces murder charges for allegedly killing and cannibalizing a 25-year-old Grindr date on Christmas Eve.
Latunski, 50, has identified himself by several names since Dec. 28, 2019, when Kevin Bacon of Swartz Creek was found dead, naked and hanging by his ankles in Latunski’s basement.
On the felony advice of rights form he was given Dec. 30, Latunski signed with the Olykos alias. That name is associated with a Facebook page and images connected to a gay escort profile.
He gave the name Edgar Thomas Hill at his arraignment and to his attorney, saying he’s part of the Thomas clan of Wales and was given the Latunski moniker as protection, according to court filings.
The former chemist and married father of four awaits a competency evaluation on his insanity defense.
His starkly different sides shown in police and court records may shed light as family and authorities attempt to make sense of how a chance online meeting turned into a dark sex tale ending in murder and cannibalism.
Kevin Bacon's murder
Before the celebrity of the same name, actor Kevin Bacon, sent condolences and financial support for a funeral, family and friends of Swartz Creek hairstylist Kevin Bacon desperately searched for their loved one.
His friend Michelle Myers rallied search party volunteers in Facebook posts.
He’d left her home around 5:20 p.m. Dec. 24 to meet a stranger on a dating app, she wrote.
When he didn’t show up to Christmas breakfast at his parents' home the next day, the Bacon family contacted police, said Michigan State Police Special 1st Lt. David Kaiser. His car was found in a parking lot in Clayton Township.
Karl Bacon, Kevin’s father, told MLive his son's cellphone, wallet and a bag with his clothes were found in the car.
Karl Bacon did not respond to request for comment by the Detroit Free Press.
The cellphone led police to the gay, bisexual and transgender dating app Grindr and subsequently Latunski’s doorstep, Kaiser said.
Kaiser said it’s believed that Bacon went to Latunski’s house willingly.
Latunski spent part of Christmas with his estranged husband, Jamie Arnold, and Arnold’s friends, acting “as normal as he can be,” Arnold told MLive.
Latunski let police into his home Dec. 28 to look for Bacon. In what Kaiser described as a “secret room,” they found the man dead.
Latunski told police he stabbed Bacon twice in the back of his neck, then strung him up and sliced his throat, Kaiser said.
He confessed that he castrated Bacon with a knife and ate his testicles, Kaiser said.
The exact date of death is unknown, Kaiser said, but family told MLive it was Christmas Eve into Christmas.
Kaiser said, based on information from the medical examiner, he believes Bacon died before he was hung by his ankles using a mechanical device.
Who else met Latunski on Grindr?
Police seek other men Latunski met on Grindr. They know of two.
A New York man born in 1973 fled Latunski’s home, jumped a fence and called police after becoming frightened during a consensual sexual encounter Oct. 10, Kaiser said.
A 29-year-old Lansing man wearing only a kilt got “spooked” during a consensual sexual encounter in which he was chained up in Latunski’s basement Nov. 25, Kaiser said. He fled to a neighbor’s home with Latunski in pursuit of the $300 kilt.
Neither man wanted to file a police report, Kaiser said. The New York man spent more days with Latunski.
Without a reporting victim, police have trouble holding people accountable, Kaiser said.
Police were called about a dozen times to Latunski's home in the past decade.
There were arrests for failure to pay child support Dec. 10, a call about a strange man searching a ditch Oct. 15 and numerous welfare checks, according to Kaiser and police reports obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
A history of mental illness
Latunski has a long history of mental illness, according to divorce filings by his ex-wife, Emily Latunski. The two were married in 2001, divorced in 2013 and had four children.
Latunski was diagnosed in 2010 and 2012 with severe, recurrent and chronic major depression with psychotic features, adjustment disorder with depression and anxiety with paranoid schizophrenia and borderline personality traits, according to a motion filed in August 2019 to suspend parenting time.
His condition can be treated with medication, but Latunski has a history of not taking it, according to his ex-wife’s court filings.
He’s kidnapped his own children by failing to follow custody plans, kept her and her children from leaving the home, made frivolous claims to Child Protective Services and claimed she and her brother tried to murder him by poisoning a well, her filings say.
In 2013, he introduced himself as William Gregory Dean to police and claimed he killed Mark Latunski “with the stroke of a pen,” according to a police report. He pretended to be unconscious when police found him lying in his father’s nearby home.
Latunski has been committed to hospitals four times for mental health concerns, his public defender, Douglas Corwin, said.
He attended Central Michigan University from 1987 to 1991, interned for Dow Chemical and earned a master’s degree in chemistry in 1995 from Iowa State University, the schools and company confirmed.
Dating app security
Kaiser has seen his share of homicides and dismemberment cases in his 35-year career, but he's never seen a case like this, he said.
He suggested that those using dating apps meet in public places and keep their friends apprised of their whereabouts.
"It doesn't matter if you're straight, gay, bisexual, transgender – it's 2020, and it's OK," he said. "In the society we live in, in this culture nowadays, you can tell somebody. Let somebody know where you're going."
Contributing: Bisma Parvez
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Grindr date killed: Mark Latunski had history of mental illness