Is Rebekah Gay’s Killer Dead or Alive? Did John Douglas White Commit Suicide?

A former Michigan minister, Navy member and ex-convict, John Douglas White, is renowned for his atrocious personality and inhumane activities. As chronicled by Investigation Discovery’s Evil Lives Here: My Brother Let The Evil In, he was a predator who lurked in open sight and attacked at unpredictable times. White suffered through a mental condition that lulled him to commit heinous crimes. This condition could even be considered as an unyielding urge that surged the brutality in him.

White, who stabbed a seventeen-year-old teenager, Rebekah amongst others remains an enigma. His current whereabouts are even more so which is the reason why questions related to his alleged suicide are flourishing. If you aspire to discover more about the man who left the entire Gay family scarred, here’s your chance.

Is Rebekah Gay’s Killer Dead or Alive?

Is Rebekah Gay’s Killer Dead or Alive?

Reportedly, John, similar to the differently-wired psychopaths lurking out there, harboured a twisted mindset. The humanity in him was long dead by the time he reached Rebekah and amassed the attention of millions of people. Everyone who witnessed the Michigan native’s devious actions was rendered speechless, immobile and incapable of forming a coherent sentence. Even the Isabella County Chief Circuit Judge Paul Chamberlain agreed that White “should never leave prison”. In March 2012, Paul allocated John a 56 to 85-year-long sentence for second-degree murder and continuous attacks on women. He also hinted that White shouldn’t be granted parole either.

The then 56-year-old White was kept at the Michigan Department Of Corrections where he was supposed to serve his sentence and spend the rest of his life. There were hardly any chances of a second chance–or more like, a third one–and even fewer of White witnessing a day out of prison. He was supposed to stay confined in the correctional facility but didn’t live long enough to endure helplessness, shame and guilt. 

Rebekah Gay’s killer, John Douglas White is no longer alive and is buried at the Michigan Reformatory Correctional Facility. The ordeal took place a few months after his arrest, in August 2013.

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Who Was John Douglas White?

A Michigan native, Douglas was born in the late 1950s. However, not much about his childhood or family is known. He came into the spotlight upon joining the Navy at a tender age. John served in the Navy for a handful of years but soon resigned to dedicate his time to his flourishing family. By the age of 22, Douglas got married and became a long-haul trucker. He tried to enjoy a serene life with his wife in Battle Creek and put the destruction he witnessed in the army behind him.

However, John’s attempts at normalcy became futile when he gave in to his inhumane inclinations in the late 1980s. His condition kept deteriorating afterwards and so did his mental health, it seems. Yet, he couldn’t help but return back to Battle Creek, where he nearly choked a seventeen-year-old.

John White’s First Prison Expedition

White, along with his life, resided in the quiet suburbs, surrounded by kindhearted neighbours. One such neighbour, a boisterous teenager, Theresa Etherton, became his first known prey. In the late 1980s, John lured Theresa to his basement, taking full advantage of her naivete, and allegedly began stabbing her like a deranged man. According to the statement Theresa recorded for the federal officers, she admitted to having been stabbed brutally over fifteen times by John.
Though she managed to escape his clutches alive, Theresa was found in a pitiful condition. She also acclaimed that John’s words kept echoing in the basement as he referred to as “just a woman”. With Etherton’s testimony and a plethora of evidence against him, John was convicted of attempted murder in 1981. However, he managed to catapult his way out of a stern sentence and managed to get away with a minuscule two-year sentence.

John White’s First Murder

After fulfilling his sentence, White resumed living with his wife as if he hadn’t brutally stabbed a teenager. He picked up a job at a textile company and continued leading a normal life until July 1994, when he surpassed the height of insanity.

White, oblivious to his wife, maintained a relationship with his co-worker, Vicky Sue Wall. On July 11, Wall’s family members lodged a missing person complaint and urged the officers to help them find Sue as soon as possible. Upon investigation, the officers, with the aid of CCTV footage, reached John, with whom Sue was last seen. While John cooperated with the police very well, admitting to being with Sue on the night she went missing, he denied involvement in her disappearance.

However, due to the blood traces found in his truck, and fingerprint evidence on Sue’s decayed corpse, White was immediately arrested. Though the officers tried their best to collect concrete evidence against him, they had to settle down for a few scraps, which helped boost John’s lawsuit. With limited evidence, the court settled with a measly 12-year-long sentence. The reason why White committed such a heinous homicide is even more atrocious than his deeds.

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How Did John Meet Rebekah Gay?

According to White, after being incarcerated in prison for over a decade, he gravitated towards religion. He tried to escape the life of sin and crime by becoming a pastor and migrating from Battle Creek to Mount Pleasant. Fresh out of prison and recently divorced, John aspired to put his past behind him. However, similar to his previously failed attempts at restitution and normalcy, John’s quest floundered, too.

The nearly 55-year-old White stumbled across his neighbour Sally Gay and eagerly commenced a relationship with her. Just a couple of months later, John got engaged to an enamoured Sally and began frequenting her household. He inserted himself at the centre of Sally’s life, which was predominated by her twenty-four-year-old daughter, Rebekah, and three-year-old grandson, Conway. Unfortunately, Sally’s choices took a harsh toll on her and Rebekah’s life soon.

Why Did John Murder Rebekah?

John incorporated himself into the Gay household seamlessly and began picking up on mundane tasks to help them. White dedicated his Wednesdays to Conway and spent a while with him before dropping him off at his father’s apartment. On one such Wednesday, Rebekah’s colleague reached out to the federal officers to report a missing person’s case. The officers immediately began investigating Rebekah’s mysterious disappearance.

They found Rebekah’s trailer in pristine condition, screaming normalcy in a deafening tone. However, the officers were alarmed due to the same and were convinced that the Gay household witnessed a heinous crime. The investigation led the officers to White, who boasted a track record of committing a similar crime. Simultaneously, he denied any involvement in the murder but was proven otherwise by the blood staining his car.

John once again gave in to his necrophilic urges and ended up slaughtering Rebekah in a similar to Sue. White admitted bludgeoning Rebekah to death with a mallet and later dumping her body in a ditch. He adhered to the centuries-old saying, long habits die hard, and agreed to have been suffering from a mental illness after his arrest finally.

John Douglas White Committed Suicide

After the federal officers discovered Rebekah’s decomposed body, they were as flabbergasted as Sally, Conway and Rebekah’s fiance. While Sally didn’t see it coming, she certainly blamed herself for her daughter’s painful death. But the one who has been impacted by the entire ordeal remains Rebekah’s three-year-old son. Conway, unfortunately, witnessed his mother being slaughtered in front of his eyes. White later transported him to his father’s house in the same truck he kept Rebekah’s bludgeoned corpse in.

Due to John’s heinous crime, Chamberlain assigned him a 56-year-long sentence. Though he pleaded guilty and tried to get away with a lighter punishment, as always, the Michigan court didn’t accept his appeal. In April 2013, at 56, White committed suicide by hanging himself from the roof. The reason why he killed himself remains a mystery but it is speculated that the weight of his crimes sunk him. He is now incarcerated in Michigan but the Gay household remains drenched in heartache.

Is Rebekah Gay’s Killer Dead or Alive?–FAQs

1. Who Was Rebekah Gay?

She was Sally Gay’s daughter and a mother to a three-year-old toddler.

2. Who Killed Rebekah Gay?

John Douglas White, a former minister, Navy officer and ex-convict, murdered Rebekah.

3. Why Did John Douglas White Kill Rebekah Gay?

White slaughtered Rebekah Gay, his fiance’s daughter, due to his nefarious urges. He didn’t possess any concrete reason to bludgeon her to death.

4. Is Rebekah Gay’s Killer Dead or Alive?

White is no longer alive.

5. Did John Douglas White Commit Suicide?

Yes, he committed suicide.

6. Why Did John Douglas Suicide?

Though the reason for his suicide remains a mystery, it is speculated that he killed himself due to his guilt.

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