The husband of a pregnant Michigan teacher who was strangled to death inside her home in November has been charged with murder in the grisly attack.
Richard Guichelaar, 35, who was arrested on Saturday, has been charged with open murder in the November 16 death of his wife, 32-year-old Amber Guichelaar. She was found dead on her bed under what police have described as “suspicious” circumstances, according to a statement from the Kentwood Police Department.
Amber Guichelaar was the mother of two young children and was pregnant with the couple’s third child when she died, MLive reports. Her husband called 911 around 3:30 a.m. that morning to report that he had found his wife dead on their bed, according to a probable-cause affidavit obtained by the outlet.
But Kentwood Police detectives believed that the death looked “suspicious,” authorities said. An autopsy would later determine that the mother had “injuries consistent with an assault which occurred just prior to her death,” according to the affidavit. Her cause of death was determined by the medical examiner as the result of “strangulation/asphyxiation.”
Police said Richard Guichelaar had been the only person home at the time of the alleged crime who would have been physically capable of causing the injuries that led to her death.
“Statements given by Richard do not fully explain the circumstances which resulted in Amber’s death,” a detective wrote in the probable cause affidavit.
The sister of Amber Guichelaar, who had been just three days shy of her 33rd birthday, had reportedly talked to her via Facetime around 8:30 p.m. the night before she died. It was the last time anyone outside of her home saw her alive, according to local station WXMI.
Guichelaar worked as a teacher at Kentwood Public Schools where she taught English as a second language. In a statement released by the school district, officials described her death as a “tragic loss” for the community.
“This has been a difficult time for the Kentwood family, the students, staff, and ultimately the involved families,” the statement said. “In trauma situations, the district and building leadership continue to provide ongoing support to students and staff as they grieve this loss. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family as they cope with this tragedy.”
The district said it had been cooperating with law enforcement officials as part of the investigation.
Before taking the position at Kentwood, Amber Guichelaar had worked at South Christian High School teaching Spanish, WOOD-TV reported. Her father-in-law, George Guichelaar, formerly served as principal of the high school. He declined to discuss the allegations against his son to the news outlet but did say that he and his wife were grieving the loss of their daughter-in-law and unborn grandchild.
Amber Guichelaar described her passion for teaching in a 2014 presentation on the Prezi platform.
“My whole life, it seems, being a teacher is what I wanted to do,” she wrote. “I felt as if it were what God was calling me to do. I think it’s mainly because I love being around people, and I love learning.”
Court documents obtained by WXMI revealed that just over a year before she was killed, the Guichelaars had encountered significant legal trouble.
In October 2019, their family dog, an Akita named Shotze, allegedly attacked a neighbor’s child while they were walking down the street, causing severe facial injuries to the child. The neighbors sued the Guichelaar family and were granted a $501,000 settlement in February of 2020.
Police said Richard Guichelaar was arraigned on the open murder charge against him on Monday in district court. His bond has been set at $2 million and is scheduled to appear again in court on January 21.
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