Midland County woman still haunted by sister's unsolved murder

Diane (left) and her grandson Michael.

Life was never easy for Diane Ross.

She was dealt several medical blows early in life.

Diane suffered from a blood clotting disorder and lost both her legs before the age of 30.

Her sister, Lindy Barton, says Diane refused to let health problems keep her down.

"She always bounced back even when we didn't think she would," Barton said.

Diane eventually had a daughter and then a grandson.

She was with her five-year-old grandson Michael in the early morning hours of August 7, 1991, when her life was brutally cut short.

While sleeping in her secluded mobile home off 11 Mile in rural Midland County, Diane was nearly clubbed to death with a blunt object.

"You can see where she was rolling and moving and trying to protect herself. There was only so much she could do. There were wounds throughout her body," said Midland County Sheriff Jerry Nielsen while reviewing photographs of the crime scene.

Diane eventually died at a Midland hospital.

"I remember thinking why does she have such a small pillow but it wasn't the pillow. Her head was three times the size it normally was from the skull fractures and swelling," Barton said, thinking back to seeing her sister in the hospital just before she passed away.

Michael was not harmed during the brutal attack, but did remember a man wearing a mask committing the heinous crime.

Several investigators have worked on the case over the past two decades and they have all made the same conclusion: Diane was killed by someone she knew.

"It's just like living in a horror film because you're not sure if you are talking to the person responsbile," Barton said.