Kalamazoo County Serial Killer Found Dead In Prison
A convicted serial killer is now facing an Eternal Judge in connection to his series of brutal murders in Kalamazoo County. 78-year-old Danny Eugene Ranes was found unresponsive in his cell at Lakeland Correctional Facility, in Coldwater, on January 29th. Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz says Ranes was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Ranes, who was a Portage resident, began his string of brutal murders of four young women beginning in March of 1972. He had been able to convince the then 15-year-old Brent Eugene Koster to participate in the killings.
It began in March when Residents, in Kalamazoo Township, had found a 17-month-old toddler wandering in the area. This led investigators to the body of his mother, 28-year-old Patricia Howk. Her body was found behind an elevator company. Investigators determined that she had been raped and murdered.
Four months later two young women from Chicago, both 19 years old, became targets for the then 28-year-old Ranes. According to an old news clipping, from the Holland Evening Sentinel, Ranes and Koster had raped and killed Claudia Bidstrup and Linda Clark. Their decomposing bodies were found “bound with ropes” on July 17th, 1972, near Galesburg. Brent Koster was found to be involved in the rape and murders of the Chicago women and charged with murder. According to the clipping, “Probate authorities waived jurisdiction over the boy so he could be tried as an adult.”
The final victim to suffer at the hands of Ranes was 19-year-old Pamela Fearnoy, whose body was found October 17th of 1972 beneath a lone tree in a field bordering the Kalamazoo River, a few miles west of Galesburg.
Brent Koster is the only one of the duo to eventually be able to take a breath of freedom, after being incarcerated for over 48-years. According to Michigan Department of Corrections records, he was paroled on January 21, 2021, and is now living in Battle Creek.