Diane Chorba went missing at the age of 39 from Luther, Michigan. She was reported missing on July 20, 1979, by her family. They hadn’t heard from her since May 24, 1979. She had two children, 13-year-old Victoria and 1-year-old, Joshua.
When she went missing she was pregnant. The father of her unborn child was the father of Joshua. His name was Clarence Oliver Bean Jr. but he went by “Ollie.” Police began investigating Diane’s disappearance and interviewed Ollie. He told authorities that Diane left to go on a trip but never came back. He knew this because he dropped Diane off in Big Rapids, Michigan. She told him in Big Rapids she was going to catch a ride to Chicago with a woman Ollie didn’t know. He claimed they took Flight 191 out of Chicago, Illinois on May 25, 1979.
Flight 191 crashed while leaving O’Hare Airport in Chicago. 258 passengers and 13 crew members, as well as two people on the ground, died. This crash was one of the worst air disasters ever in U.S. history.
Diane’s Chorba’s family hired an attorney to help find her body among the victims. But the coroner who investigated the crash was adamant that Diane wasn’t amongst the victims. All of the victims of the crash had been identified and Diane wasn’t one of them.
Ollie Bean was a married truck driver. In 1968 he wed a young woman named Judy and together they had three sons and one daughter. In 1980, Judy, Ollie, and their children, including Joshua, moved to Oregan. In 1999, after 31 years of suffering from abuse from Ollie, Judy and her children had had enough. During one violent episode, Ollie and Judy’s daughter shot Ollie, leaving him paralyzed. Judy left Ollie, filed for divorce, and contacted the authorities back in Michigan. She told them she knew what happened to Diane Chorba.
Judy explained that in 1977, she discovered Ollie was having an affair with Diane and that they had a son together. Ollie would openly flaunt his relationship with Diane and was severely physically abusive the entire marriage not to just Judy, but also his children. In spite of him flaunting the affair, Judy and Diane became close friends. In 1979, Diane told Judy she was pregnant again. Judy told Ollie he should divorce her, marry Diane and help Diane raise the children. He replied that he would never let Judy go. After Diane disappeared, Judy helped take care of Joshua.
According to Judy, on May 24, 1979, at 5:00 am, Ollie told her he was going to Diane’s home. Three and a half hours later, he returned to his home with Diane and Joshua and told Judy to watch Joshua. Ollie and Diane Chorba left again. Later, Ollie returned home again, without Diane. He told Judy he killed her and that he had come home to get his chainsaw. Ollie then drove Judy and Joshua to a heavily wooded area off a remote dead-end road in Bristol, Michigan.
There she saw Diane’s lifeless body lying face down in a depression made by an uprooted, large tree. She had been shot to death. First Ollie removed Diane’s jewelry. Next, he cut the trunk of the tree so that the roots and stump fell back into the depression of the soil and on top of Diane Chorba’s body. Ollie told Judy that he shot Diane because she told him that if he didn’t leave Judy and marry her, she was leaving him and taking off with the children.
Charges were filed against Ollie Bean for first-degree murder in August of 2001. Twenty-two years after Diane Chorba’s death, a trial took place in Michigan. Assistant Attorney General, Mark Blumer, (whom this writer worked with) prosecuted the case. Judy testified against Ollie. The jury had the choice of first-degree premeditated murder, second-degree murder, or not guilty.
After 10 hours of deliberating returned the verdict of 2nd-degree murder for the killing of Diane Chorba. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. Later, Ollie appealed based on the court allowing Judy to testify against him. He said this violated the spousal privilege granted to spouses. Prior to 2000, in order for a spouse to testify against another spouse, the spouse facing criminal charges had to consent. This would have required that Ollie consent to Judy’s testimony. However, this law was changed in October of 2000 and was made retroactive. His appeal was denied.
Unfortunately, Joshua was killed in a car crash in 2004 at the age of 28. However, Diane Chorba has three grandchildren from her loving daughter Victoria. Victoria says she never believed her mother abandoned her. Judy comes back to Michigan from Oregon once a year to help look for Diane’s remains. Police suspect he may have moved the body prior to moving to Oregon.