Crime

Missing homeowner’s wife identified as one victim in Caldwell triple killing

Cheryl Baker
Cheryl Baker

Cheryl Baker, a recently retired Utah teacher who had bought a Caldwell farmhouse with her husband, was one of the three people shot and found dead on their property, the Canyon County coroner said Friday.

The identities of two other female victims are not confirmed, but friends have said that Nadja Medley, 47, and her 14-year-old daughter, Payton, lived on the property with Baker’s husband, Mike Bullinger, and are missing.

Bullinger, a pilot who also reportedly worked as an outfitter, is the subject of a nationwide manhunt and was last seen in Ogden, Utah, where he lived with Baker before moving to Idaho. Little information about that search or tips about Bullinger’s whereabouts has been released since a news conference last week that identified him as a “person of interest” in the case.

Baker, 56, was identified through dental records, according to a Canyon County news release.

A felony warrant for Gerald Michael “Mike” Bullinger was issued for failure to report three deaths on the property that he and Baker bought in March on KCID Road outside Caldwell. Charges specific to the slayings have not been filed.

Canyon County sheriff’s deputies, responding to a request for a welfare check, found three partially decomposed bodies in a shed on June 19. Two days later, the Sheriff’s Office announced that the three were all female, ranging in age from teenage to mid-50s. Each had been killed by a single gunshot, probably a week or two before the bodied were discovered, investigators said.

Baker’s brother, Byron Baker, who lives in Michigan, told the Statesman that family and friends had not heard from her since June 11, when a friend received a text asking him to take care of her dogs, who remained in Utah. He said he had no idea who might have been on the property besides his sister and Bullinger, and the last he heard the pair were happily married.

Friends of Nadja Medley later told the Statesman that she was in love with Bullinger, and posts on her Facebook page proclaimed joy about moving to Idaho with him. That Facebook page features numerous photos of her with her daughter and Bullinger, referring to them as a “family.”

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.

Cheryl Baker and Bullinger are both listed online as life members of the Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple of Utah. Byron Baker confirmed that his sister had practiced an Eastern religion.

“He could be anywhere,” Canyon County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Marv Dashiell said.

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