Phillip Lee Van Cleave
3 Years 5 Months Old

November 20, 1997 to April 17, 2001

Emily DeAnn Rudig was the third daughter of Darick and Deann Rudig. She was born on October 4, 1978 in North Bend, Washington. Emily lived in North Bend with her parents and four other siblings until she was almost eleven years old at which time they moved to Billings, Montana.

Emily or "M" as most of us called her, was an average student with an above average heart. She was always helping someone, never expecting anything in return.

She was daddy's little boy until Dad got his boy Douglas a few years later. She did everything her dad did. They were fishing buddies and caught their fair share of fish, as long as "M" didn't eat the bait, which she was known to do from time to time. Her dad was a hunter's safety instructor which meant all the kids were involved in the hunter's safety course. Once "M" received her hunter's safety certificate, she was out hunting with her dad and grandpa. Her dad said, "that if it were up to 'M' to put meat on the table, the family would starve to death". Apparently, "M" was less than a good shot. She was, however, a good pack mule and loved to be with her dad and grandpa on all those hunting trips.

As "M" got older, she took on different jobs. She did yard work, baby-sat for young mothers, and worked at a local grocery store. "M" enjoyed her job at the grocery store. When she first started this job, she was a bit overweight. After working outside pushing carts and stocking shelves, she lost a lot of weight and was very pleased with her "new look". She was now an 18-year-old with a "new look," a job she liked, and a family she loved. She was so happy to be able to help the family out financially and to be able to buy Christmas presents for everybody.

Her eyes would sparkle and she would flash this big smile when you asked her, "What color is your hair today, M?" She was fun. She was happy.

It was around this time "M" met Dan Van Cleave. Dan was a young man who fought many battles. He was a schizophrenic who refused to take medication. He couldn't hold a job and was often verbally abusive to Emily. It wasn't long after their meeting that "M" became pregnant. During her pregnancy, "M" saw a side of Dan she hadn't seen before. He became very controlling and possessive. So controlling, that when the baby was to be born, Emily was hospitalized due to an illness with the yet unborn baby. Dan, without concern for the welfare of his unborn child, snuck Emily out of the hospital in the early morning hours, only for Emily to give birth to her son miles away with no family or friends at her side. Dan isolated Emily from her family and friends. When she was allowed to come home, he would come with her and limit her time to just a few hours. She was put on a time limit and if she was late - "You know what will happen to you". Dan's words. Dan was full of threats and no doubt made good on many of them. He told Emily on many occasions that, "If I can't have you, no one can" or "If you even think about leaving me I will kill you and your family".

We all tried to get "M" away from Dan. We all pleaded with her to leave him, that we would protect her and Phillip from him. We offered to get him mental help, which we all knew he needed. We offered to pay for the medication. We tried everything - except for one thing. We didn't kidnap her and Phillip.

Phillip was your typical little boy. He liked to play with his toys. He loved the toy box that his Grandpa Rudig made for him. He didn't want to put his toys in it, though. He liked to climb in it and close the lid. At Christmas, he liked the wrapping paper and empty boxes, playing with his cousins (which he didn't get to do much), and posing for pictures. He was a quiet and shy little boy who loved his mom and obeyed his dad.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

Emily and Phillip were murdered on April 17, 2001, while they slept. Dan Van Cleave shot and killed them and then committed suicide. The case has been ruled a double murder-suicide and is now closed.

Please parents - do whatever it takes to come between your children and people like this. Even if it means kidnapping them and taking them to a safe place.

 

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Phillip Van Cleave