College students' documentary helps lead to arrest in 1979 killing of coed

HOLLAND, Mich. -- Twenty-six years after the slaying of a woman working as a hotel desk clerk, an arrest has been made in the 1979 crime, thanks to a college documentary that brought out witnesses, authorities said.

Robert Michael Lynch, 66, was arrested on murder charges Tuesday at his home in Three Oaks in the strangling of Hope College student Janet Chandler.

Chandler, 23, vanished one night while working at the Blue Mill Inn in Holland, and her body was found the next day outside town. At the time, Lynch was employed as security at the site of a local labor strike. He and several other guards were staying at the hotel, authorities said.

Hope College professor David Schock said he decided to have his class make the documentary after talking with a retiring police captain who was troubled by the case. The 80-minute documentary, "Who Killed Janet Chandler?" aired on a Grand Rapids public television station in 2004.

"It's a rare chance to be in a position where you can do something that will result in justice," Schock said. "I'll tell you what -- it's humbling. It'll knock you to your knees."

Authorities would not say exactly what led to the arrest, but prosecutor Ron Frantz said the documentary helped "stir the pot and cause potential witnesses to come forward with additional information."

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