Three dead bodies found outside Canyon County farmhouse
Gerald Michael “Mike” Bullinger is wanted for failure to report three deaths on the property he and his wife recently bought on KCID Road outside Caldwell.
The nationwide warrant does not list any charges that allege a role in the triple homicide, but Canyon County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Marv Dashiell said Bullinger is a person of interest in the killings.
Three women were found dead Monday partially covered in a shed on the property, each apparently killed by a single gunshot, Dashiell said. The deaths likely happened between one and two weeks ago, he said.
“It is gruesome,” he said.
The women ranged in age from teens to mid-50s, he said, declining to elaborate further.
Bullinger’s 57-year-old wife and co-owner of the property, Cheryl Baker, is missing, her brother Byron Baker earlier told the Statesman. Family and friends have not heard from her for around 10 days.
And it was about 10 days ago that Bullinger was reportedly last seen, in Ogden, Utah. He and Baker were reportedly selling their home there and in the process of moving to the rural Caldwell house.
Byron Baker said Tuesday he did not know who else might have been at the property besides his sister and Bullinger. On Wednesday, he said he had heard varying speculation that raised more questions than answers.
Learning that Bullinger was not among the bodies and that he’s a person of interest in the crimes was a shock, Byron said.
“It’s a wrinkle I didn’t expect,” he said. “I don’t know what could escalate to violence.”
He said both his sister and Bullinger were “laid-back people,” and the last he’d heard his sister was very happy in the relationship.
Dashiell would not say whether Baker was one of three women connected with the property who are reportedly missing. Nor would he say what reported connections to the property the missing women had. But he did say the Sheriff’s Office had heard concerns about four people connected to the property, and one of them was co-owner Bullinger.
Family members also had expressed concern about Bullinger’s whereabouts, Dashiell said. Bullinger’s son asked for the welfare check that led to Monday’s gruesome discovery, said Byron. Asked whether investigators were concerned that Bullinger, too, may have fallen victim to foul play, Dashiell replied, “not here.”
Autopsies on the women were conducted Tuesday, but final results are not in and the bodies have not been identified.
Dashiell had no comment as to the motive in the killings.
Bullinger is possibly driving a white Ford Focus with Utah plates 129UMP, Dashiell said. He is described as 6 feet 1 and about 240 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes. He may be armed and dangerous, investigators said.
Deputies spent a third day at the scene near U.S. 20/26 on Wednesday, collecting evidence and piecing together what happened.
Dead birds and dogs also were found on the property, Dashiell said, and a live snake, a rat and some rabbits were all removed from the house.
The last word Byron Baker received about his sister was that she sent a text — ominous in retrospect — to a friend in Utah, saying: “Take care of my dogs. I don’t know if I’m coming back.” Now, Baker said, he wonders whether she was the one who sent that text.
Cheryl Baker retired this year from her job as an art teacher at GreenWood Charter School in Harrisville, Utah. Her biography on the school’s website says she had taught since 1984 and holds a bachelor’s degree in hearing impairment and a master’s degree in education. Earlier, she worked for the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind, and in 2011 was awarded Teacher of the Year from the University of Utah College of Education. In 2012, her hearing-impaired students drew media attention by creating an opera.
Before taking contract work in Idaho, Bullinger worked as a pilot at Classic Aviation Services in Utah and was a licensed aircraft instructor. His passion, Byron Baker said, was working and playing in the outdoors, and he served as an outfitter/guide for hunters. He also is an avid motorcyclist whose “handle” is Dabull, and he and his wife signed up to participate in the June 26 Valkyrie Riders InZane rally in Billings, Mont., next week.
“He could be anywhere,” Dashiell said.
Byron Baker said he wonders whether Bullinger escaped into the backcountry. “I kind of hope they take him alive so we can get the full story, but I don’t really care.”
CORRECTION: This report originally misspelled Mike Bullinger’s last name.
Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447