February 17, 1991 was like any other workday for Northwest Airlines flight attendant Nancy Ludwig. She arrived at Detroit Metro Airport in the evening, after working a flight from Las Vegas. Along with other crew members, she took a shuttle from the airport to the Hilton Airport Inn in Romulus, MI, where they were staying the night. A little after 9 p.m., Nancy took the elevator to the third floor, and walked down a long hallway to her room, number 354.
The next morning, a housekeeper bypassed her rom due to the Do Not Disturb sign hung on the door. Later that day, after she should have checked out, the housekeeper opened the door and found Nancy lying dead on the carpet in a pool of blood. The television was turned on, tuned to CNN’s coverage of the Persian Gulf War. She had been raped before having her throat cut. Unfortunately, police had little evidence to work with in the pre-DNA era. The perpetrator had removed everything from the room that could potentially identify him, including the trash bag. After reviewing the crime scene, police surmised the killer had followed Nancy to her room, and forced his way in after she unlocked the door.
The case remain unsolved for more than a decade, greatly frustrating Nancy’s family, who did their best to keep her case in the news and the investigation active. However, in 2001, Jeffrey Wayne Gorton was arrested in the 1986 rape and murder of Margarette Eby, Provost of the University of Michigan-Flint. Police
were able to identify him through a fingerprint left at the crime scene. Police were then able to use DNA to link the two cases, and with a suspect in hand, police found additional evidence linking Gorton to Nancy’s murder.
Gorton was found guilty in both cases, and received a 40-80 year sentence, as well as a life sentence.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The hotel is still in business, now operating as the Raddison Hotel Detroit Metro Airport. It is located at 31500 Wick Road, Romulus, MI. Nancy’s room was #354.