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Previous victim leads to arrest in Kenmille rape, murder

POLSON — Polson resident Melvin Madplume, Jr., 29, surrendered himself to authorities on Thursday for charges of deliberate homicide and sexual intercourse without consent in relation to the rape and death of his cousin, Laurence Kenmille, 28, that occurred at Wild Horse Hot Springs on May 28. 

Lake County Undersheriff Dan Yonkin said Madplume turned himself in to authorities three days after an arrest warrant was issued. 

According to court documents hotel employees told investigators that Madplume, Kenmille and another man arrived at approximately 3:15 p.m. at the Hot Springs and were drinking from a single cup. Employees said Kenmille was boisterous when the men arrived. The men left after twenty minutes but returned an hour later.

The men were taken to room 4 at the Hot Springs, with Kenmille apparently extremely so intoxicated  that he clung to the walls for support when walking. 

An employee told investigators they heard the sound of breaking glass and a commotion in room 4 shortly after the men arrived. At some point during the evening, an employee heard Madplume come from the room and make a noise “like he was going to die.” The employee watched Madplume go outside and lay on the hood of his car. An employee asked if Madplume was okay and he responded that he was dying of lung cancer and willed all of his property to his nieces and nephews. 

About an hour after Kenmille and Madplume went into the room, an employee checked on them. The employee found Kenmille and Madplume both, ears deep in water, with Madplume patting Kenmille’s back and holding him by the arm.The employee asked if everything was OK, but Madplume did not answer. Later, the third man fetched the employee because Madplume requested it. 

The employee observed Kenmille lying back in the hot tub with his eyes closed and mouth open. Madplume asked the employee to help him remove Kenmille from the tub. The employee tried to pull Kenmille from the tub, but lost his grip. Kenmille sank under the water with no response, the employee told investigators. The employee eventually was able to pull Kenmille from the tub. Madplume began sucking water from Kenmille’s mouth. The employee returned to the lobby to get help. Other employees administered CPR. Witnesses told police that Madplume acted like there was no problem while waiting for police. Madplume claimed Kenmille was “playing possum.” Madplume told investigators that during the wait for police he heard Kenmille speak, but no witnesses were able to corroborate the claim. Madplume told the employees to get Kenmille to his car so they could take him to the hospital. Kenmille’s legs would not bend so he would fit in the car. The employees pulled Kenmille from the car and began CPR again, this time until the police came. 

When police arrived Madplume told a Lake County Sheriff’s deputy that Kenmille had fallen and hit his head. The deputy observed fresh bruising on Madplume’s lower legs but Madplume did not specifically say how they occurred. He led the deputy to room 4, where the deputy found a mop bucket next to the drained pool. An employee explained that he had mopped blood off the floor. The deputy observed a broken glass sauna door with blood smears on the walls and blood droplets on the floor underneath the smears. While the responding deputy interviewed employees, other deputies tried to locate Madplume and another man who came to the Hot Springs with Kenmille. 

Madplume had left the Hot Springs and was pulled over and arrested on warrants. 

Sanders County coroner Kathy Harris arrived at Plains Hospital and found Kenmille’s injuries inconsistent with a slip and fall because he had contusions on the front and back of his head, abrasions on his face and nose, and a deep gash on his right arm extending from his elbow to his wrist. There were also multiple bruises on Kenmille’s shins. 

Undersheriff Dan Yonkin went to the Sanders County Jail to interview Madplume, where he again said that Kenmille had slipped and fallen. Madplume said he did not see the fall, but heard a sound. He denied seeing any blood, other than some under Kenmille’s head. Madplume denied arguing with Kenmille and said the sauna door was broken when he became angry and punched it. Madplume told Yonkin he sometimes has blackouts and did not remember Kenmille being unresponsive and/or employees trying to remove him from the hot tub. Madplume said he didn’t remember seeing a gash on Kenmille’s arms and said Kenmille’s injuries may have occurred before they arrived at the hot springs. 

Kenmille’s family told Yonkin that he did not have any injuries before he left for the Hot Springs. They also told him that Madplume had been involved in a similar incident a week earlier. 

Yonkin interviewed a male, who said that the Sunday before Kenmille’s death, Madplume talked him into going to the hot springs. 

He said Madplume tried to get him to drink more than he wanted, and made advances and used force that led him to believe Madplume was going to rape him. 

After escaping, the man happened upon an acquaintance and as he began to leave the facility Madplume tried to get him to stay by apologizing and asking him to forget what happened. 

The man said he did not tell anyone what happened because he was embarrassed, but decided to tell Kenmille’s family after he heard about the death. 

An examiner at the state crime lab found bruises and abrasions on Kenmille’s head, eyelids, lower legs, and the top of his feet plus lacerations and rectal bruising that occurred near the time of death.The examiner determined Kenmille died by drowning and homicidal violence. 

Madplume told Yonkin in another interview that he did not engage in homosexual activity and thought of Kenmille “as a brother.” 

Madplume said he blacked out when he got drunk so he couldn’t remember if he made a pass at the other victim the previous weekend. 

Madplume refused to give Yonkin a DNA swab or answer further questions. 

Madplume was denied bond and remains in Lake County Jail until trial.

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