November 28, 2001
Witnesses: Czinki acted weird
-Various people testify about encounters with man after Katheryn Horn's disappearanceBy DAN SANDERSON
Record-Eagle staff writer
GAYLORD - After seeing a TV report about a missing Traverse City teen-ager, David Czinki told friends he had given her a ride in his van. He later blew up after it was suggested he was responsible.
"He said I didn't kill anybody and he got up and ran out of (the) house," Anthony "Buddy" Sloan, an acquaintance of Czinki's, told jurors Tuesday.
Czinki, 36, of Otsego County, is being charged with open murder in the death of Katheryn Lynn Horn, a 16-year-old student at Traverse City High School who was last seen riding in Czinki's van in Mancelona during the early morning hours of Sept. 24, 1994.
Sloan testified Tuesday that Czinki became upset after he suggested a scenario where Czinki tried to have sex with Horn, she refused and he had sex with her anyway. Sloan said Czinki had previously bragged that he was going to have sex with a 16-year-old.
Sloan said that Czinki had asked him about the case of Andrew Wynkoop, a Charlevoix man who pleaded guilty in 1991 to murdering a 13-year-old girl and a 28-year-old woman. Czinki asked Sloan how Wynkoop killed the women and how he disposed of the bodies. Sloan knew Wynkoop.
Theresa Kohler, whose basement Czinki lived in for two months, also testified Tuesday that Czinki admitted to giving Horn a ride and had planned to take her back to Traverse City from Gaylord, where she had come with friends to listen to music at a coffee house.
But Czinki said he dropped Horn off halfway between Mancelona and Traverse City, Kohler said. "He told me she freaked him out," Kohler said.
Kohler said that the next day she helped Czinki bandage a finger he claimed to have cut on a mirror sliding across the dash in his van. She also said Czinki had cleaned out the back of his van and did his laundry the day after giving the teens a ride, two activities she said she never saw Czinki do while he was living in her basement.
Kohler said Czinki was "hyper" after seeing the television reports and that he had also previously bragged that he could bury a body on farm property he owned near Vanderbilt.
Dan Hill, a retired detective from the Traverse City Police Department who handled Horn's missing persons report, said Czinki described Horn as a "spark of light." During conversations, Hill said Czinki had asked him if he ever took a "flame out of a fire" and told him about a PBS program where police found the body of a rape victim from seeds found on a blanket. Horn's skeletal remains, which were concealed by a blanket covered with brush, were found by mushroom hunters in May 1996 in Charlevoix County's Hudson Township.
Hill said Horn was supposed to meet a group of people at the Open Space in Traverse City at 7 a.m. on Sept. 24, who were then going to the Manistee area and on to a Grateful Dead concert.
The night before her disappearance Horn and her best friend, Kim Adkins, had taken two hits of LSD before they went to Mancelona, Adkins testified Tuesday. There, Adkins picked up Scott Bley, Lori Smith and Tom Jackson and proceeded to the coffee house. Bley, Smith and Adkins said Tuesday that everyone in the car smoked marijuana on the way to Gaylord.
Adkins said she arranged for Czinki to give the four people a ride because she had met up with another friend and was not ready to leave the coffee house. Adkins, who said she felt "a little bit creepy" around Czinki, said she had met him at a cabin in Waters earlier that year.
About two weeks after Czinki had given the teens and Horn a ride, John Loshaw said he saw a van parked off a two-track near Vanderbilt with a "pale grayish" looking girl in the back and a "scruffy looking man" digging a hole 15 feet away, Loshaw testified Tuesday.
"He stopped shoveling when I came around the corner in my pickup," Loshaw said.
Loshaw said he attempted to report the incident to state police on a cell phone, but was unable to get a signal and then forgot about the scene. Two years ago, Loshaw said he recognized Horn's picture in a newspaper article on the unsolved case as the same person he saw in the van.
Janice Rott, Horn's mother, testified Tuesday that Horn had been placed in a foster care home in Boyne Falls from the summer of 1993 to January 1994 due to a physical confrontation between the two.
"She was quite the pistol," Rott said. "She was a typical teen-ager, but a little tougher than me."
Horn lived with a boyfriend during the summer of 1994 until the couple broke up, then moved in with Adkins. Rott said she demanded Horn come home after she later learned her daughter was sleeping in a car.
Czinki, who is serving six to eight years in prison for a 1996 conviction of receiving stolen property in an unrelated case, faces up to life in prison if convicted.
Dan Sanderson is the reporter for Otsego, Crawford and Cheboygan counties. He can be reached at (517) 731-9684, or at firstname.lastname@example.org