Kristy Michele Auw Couch
22 Years Old

July 16, 1971 to November 30, 1993

Kristy was a happy blond haired, blue-eyed, 5 foot 3 inch, twenty-two year old when her life was taken from her. She had just been married nine months and was four months pregnant with their first child.

She was born Kristy Michele Auw on July 16, 1971. Kristy was the oldest of three children. She was a very sensitive and caring person, always rooting for the under dog. During Kristy's short life, she packed a lot of special things into her days and she was loved and is greatly missed by her husband, mom and dad, sister, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, co-workers, church family, and the list goes on. Her death has left a huge hole in all of our lives.

Kristy enjoyed playing baseball as a little leaguer and there team placed first and received a trophy. In high school, she enjoyed playing softball all four years. She received the highest award in Girl Scouts, the Gold Award, worked at a Girl Scout Camp with kids with leukemia, taught Sunday School, had been a member of our church youth group, played volleyball and received a best player award. She had artistic and musical ability, loved art, enjoyed playing the piano, and the flute. She graduated eleventh in her class in high school. After graduation, she went to Savanna, Georgia to work at a Girl Scout Camp on Rose Dew Island for a summer job and met one of her very best friends. Another summer between college she worked at Cedar Point Amusement Park and I remember her bringing home a huge stuffed Tasmanian Devil in the front seat of her car. That was quite an amusing sight. She loved to visit my sister and brother-in-law. My brother-in-law and Kristy enjoyed sharing a half-gallon of butter pecan ice cream. She met her future husband, Forrest Couch, at Ferris State College where they both attended. She loved music, played in the band at Ferris and was president of the fraternity/sorority. She received a degree in pre-law and was planning to go back to college to get a degree as a para legal. She worked at a temporary agency until obtaining a job at Hertz Rent A Car where she worked until she obtained a job working as a bonding clerk for Kent County Jail. She then bought her first new car. She married Forrest Couch on January 9, 1993 and moved to grand Rapids, Michigan. They decided to buy a house in Rockford and were in the process of buying the house when she was murdered.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

Kristy was leaving her job as bonding clerk for the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 26, 1993, approximately 11:30 pm. It's presumed she pulled up to a stoplight and was accosted by two teenage boys. They kidnapped her by gunpoint, made her drive to a bank teller machine and used her bank card to withdraw about $300 from the account. They forced her to drive to a secluded railway yard. Making her exit the car and kneel on the ground, they proceeded to shoot her twice in the back of the head, leaving her for dead. They drove away with her new car and picked up their girlfriend. The three of them drove to Lansing, Illinois. Gregory Wines, sixteen, and the girlfriend got scared and turned in Steven Launsberry, seventeen, who pulled the trigger on the gun. Both boys had plotted to commit murder. The police arrested all three juveniles. Both boys were charged with felony murder, felony with a firearm, grand theft, and kidnapping. The girl was used as a witness against the boys. She was never tried. Both boys were convicted on all counts and are now serving life sentences without parole. Both boys had been in trouble with the law previously and the day before the murder had tried to steal a car from a friend's house and assaulted the boy. The father of the assault victim didn't want trouble so the incident went unreported until the trial.

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