71 Murder at Tody Lake

May, 1975, two cousins, Scott Hardy and Mark Mellendorf walk from Mellendorf’s home in Lapeer County Michigan to Tody Lake for some fishing.

When the boys don’t return home, their parents raise the alarm and searchers scour the woods for hours trying to find the young boys. The next morning, a tracking dog makes a horrific discovery on the southern end of the lake. Both boys are dead and there is a killer on the loose in this idyllic community.

Days later a second boy, Willie Walters, takes his fishing gear to Kearsley Creek, he too doesn’t return. His battered body is discovered the next morning.

These horrific crimes happened just a few miles north of the hunting grounds favored by the Oakland County Child Killer in 1976-1977.

John G. Schrah is serving life in prison at a facility in the upper peninsula.
Judge Baguley presided at the trial of Kenneth Nard.
Kenneth Nard has spent his entire adult life in prison.


34 thoughts on “71 Murder at Tody Lake”

  1. I recently started listening to this pod cast and IM HOOKED!! Awesome job on your research on each case I am enjoying listening to current and past episodes!

      1. Hey Nina
        I am Kenneth Nard’s niece. Just came across your podcast and was wondering along with my husband and mother in-law what is this all about?

        We weren’t aware that his case was being discussed in your podcast.

        1. Hello Shauna, I covered the murders at Tody Lake in October of 2017. If you have questions, feel free to email me Host at already gone podcast dot com.

          Thank you!

          1. Hi Nina

            I just saw your reply. I have been traveling a lot for work but thank you for your reply.

            I will get in touch with you as soon as possible. we have been working on getting our uncle cleared but it’s a long daunting process. I will contact you directly via email. I will also leave our phone numbers there should you desire to contact us.

            Thank you Again


  2. Big fan of your podcast here! Congratulations on a well delivered and intriguing show.
    Sydney, Australia

  3. Hi Nina — I woke up one night after I couldn’t sleep and turned the podcast on without looking at the title of this episode.

    I nearly fell out of my chair when you said Tody Lake and then I saw the title. I thought I was dreaming. I owned a 5 acre parcel on the lake for several years and found a make shift memorial one time and joked that “maybe someone was buried here”. Wow the joke was on me. I lived and worked out in the Oxford/Ortonville area my whole life and just never heard of this case. I think we are nearly the same age so maybe I was too young but Wow! I never would have looked at property on the lake had I known about this. So weird.

    I will tell you more offline if your interested but my neighbor in Northern Oakland County met an untimely demise as part of an organized crime ring. They found his body minus the head in Lake Orion. Channel 2 came to our door asking for comment and that is how/when we found out who he was and what he did for a living.

    Anyways keep up the great work.

    1. you can email me. Host at Already Gone Podcast dot com 🙂 I would love to hear about your neighbor.

      thank you for listening 🙂

  4. Hi, I’ve just started listening & I’m shocked at the injustice. Surely there’s DNA tests that could be done.
    Kenneth Nard, to me seems innocent. This is a travesty of justice.
    That young guys name could be obtained through police notebooks or freedom of info. I would be following up on this guy.
    Wasn’t schrah in that area too?
    Id follow up on that as well.
    Isn’t there an innocent fund or something, they try to free innocent folk. Id pass on nards name.
    I’m in Australia.

      1. wow seems Kenneth Nard has served 40 years for a crime he did not commit, but seems to be a perfect scape goat for this crime. ok you say the michigan innocence project is aware of Mr nard case, but is anything being done ? with modern tech.cant testing be done to prove his innocence or quilt? it doesnt seem that he was convicted by evidence but by manipulation. sad that 2 guys made money from this, one suspect not identified (16 ,white and not poor) other murders close. was justice served in this case? if he is quilty then yes, but im not convinced he is

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more, ann-maree. There’s just too many holes in this case- while it “may” be possible that Kenneth may, “may” have had something to do with the murders, I am not convinced at all that he acted alone. I am a few months behind on coming across this episode but have been disturbed ever since listening to it. I’m interested in reaching out to the Innocence Project regarding this. My primary argument is that 2 life sentences was more than unusually unnecessary-and while the judge intended to block parole at every turn, the man is 60. It’s high time that he be considered for parole.

      Aside from that, I thoroughly enjoy the podcast. I am so glad to have come across it. Thank you for your commitment and excellent work on the show.

      1. Thank you Maria. Immediately following the episode I reached out to the innocence project out of the University of Michigan. They planned to contact Kenneth.

  5. Look, if he’s guilty he sure as hell doesn’t deserve parole just cuz he’s 60. They should have executed both of those guys post haste. Those kids never got a chance to grow up. Michigan needs capital punishment.

  6. So, I came across this sort of “by accident.” I was a friend of Scott Hardy’s. Were were in the same 5th grade class and went to the same bus stop. I have vivid memories of his funeral, the moment I was told of his death, and memories of all the questions I had, as a ten year old. At that time, children were very much protected from “knowing” about such evil in the world. We didn’t have constant news , social media, and the Internet to “learn” about the deviances around us. We actually had a policeman come to our class to help us try to understand, what could be shared with 10 year olds, what had happened to our friend, while at the same time, trying to help us feel “less afraid.” I started listening to the podcast, but had to stop…it is something I will do in small pieces as it is a reminder of my first taste of real heartbreak. Thank you for your research and for sharing. I do look forward to hearing all of the podcast but it may take me several days.

    1. I am so sorry about the loss of your friend. I can’t imagine how painful it must have been.

    2. I came across his by accident too,,, I was a friend of Marks…we were in school together in Goodrich. I still carry his funeral announcement with me, his murder and funeral changed my existence….. I will have to wait a minute to catch my breath to listen…

  7. Mark and Scott were friends of mine. Until this happened we lived in a bubble. The outside world didn’t affect us. Afterwards I couldn’t sleep unless it was in my parents bed, I never left their side. I think of the boys often.

  8. I was 13 yrs old when this happened I lived in Lapeer. From what I remember about the case, some of His friends turned Him in after He returned with 2 fishing rods and a tackle box which belonged to the victims, yet He had no fishing rod when He went with them to go fishing at the lake. Also his clothes were wet and muddy.

  9. My mother was best friends with Scotty when she was a kid. She lived right down the road from him. I think he lived in a subdivision in Port Huron called Charmwood.

    She remembers the day he left, and how his mom told her that he would never come home again. She told my mom “A very sick man took his life and he is never coming home.”

      1. Just seeing this post… years later. Mr. Lill was our 5th grade teacher at Michigamme Elementary.
        Scotty did live in a subdivision off West Water Street. We lived in a subdivision across the street, on Lorwood Dr.
        Would love to connect with some people who have shared memories of this incident.

        1. Hello
          I was a cousin to both Scott and Mark and their killer Kenneth Nard is up for parole! Some new state crap that is letting this happen even though he was sentenced to life!! Our family will fight back against this and keep this child killer where he belongs!

    1. Hi Shelby,
      Would love to connect with your mom. I was a friend in there neighborhood and Scotty’s classmate. Would love to connect with someone who has some shared experiences connected to this incident.
      I lived on Lorwood Dr in a subdivision across the street from The Hardee Family.
      Ask your mom if she remembers Becky Smith.

  10. I grew up in Goodrich and I remember hearing the story about “the boys who were strung up and gutted.” The rumor of how they were found was very widespread and is still repeated today. I actually thought it was true until I listened to your podcast. It is also widely believed that Nard did not act alone but was set up to take the fall because of his mental state. Do you know if the black and red vehicle was ever searched and whether the guys who turned him in (and got the reward) were ever investigated?

    1. Sadly, I think that when they arrested Nard, it was “case closed”

      I don’t know if Nard acted alone, had help, or simply witnessed the murders. This was an absolutely brutal series of events in a small community.

  11. I am the niece of Jeff Walters I was 3 when my uncle was murdered. I have had to grow up only being able to hear stories about my uncle. He is remembered, loved and missed by all of us.

  12. My father was a police officer in Ortonville during all this. He told me some stories about the Walters case.

  13. Mark Mellendorf was a friend of mine and I was supposed to be fishing with him and his cousin that day but didn’t get to go so everybody that saying that Kenneth nard is innocent I don’t think so but they were other people involved

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