State Police Sergeants Receive Meritorious Service Awards
Contact: Detective Lieutenant John H. Slenk, Fifth District Headquarters, (269) 657-6081
Agency: State Police
January 27, 2003
Lansing - The Michigan State Police Board of Awards is pleased to announce that Detective Sergeant George D. Pratt and retired Detective Sergeant Gary E. Shaffer have been awarded the Michigan State Police Meritorious Service Award. They are credited for diligence and perseverance under uncommon circumstances for going beyond what is typically expected of law enforcement officers.
On July 20, 1979, Diane Fay Chorba was reported missing by her relatives after not hearing from her for approximately two months. Her family was aware that she had moved to the Luther, Mich., area and was romantically involved with a married man.
Pratt and Shaffer were asked to interview the married man and his wife to try to determine the whereabouts of Chorba. During their interview, the married man and his wife told Pratt and Shaffer that Chorba had been the victim of the ill-fated flight 191, that crashed in Chicago, Ill. on May 25, 1979, destroying her body making it impossible to identify her. Before polygraph tests were conducted to verify their story, the family moved to Oregon.
In the following year, Pratt contacted the Oregon State Police and requested they re-interview the couple, which they did. However, further investigation proved unsuccessful, and once again they refused to take a polygraph test to support their story.
Several years later, Pratt and Shaffer learned that husband and wife had separated, and he again requested that Oregon State Police interview the two suspects. Once again, no new results surfaced.
In 1999, Pratt and Shaffer flew to Oregon to re-interview the suspects themselves. They decided to make an unannounced visit to the wife, which resulted in a complete confession implicating her ex-husband in the shooting death of Chorba. With assistance from the wife, her ex-husband was extradited back to Michigan where he was found guilty of Chorba’s murder.
According to the American Justice TV show aired on May 9, 2008, Judy Bean stated that Ollie Bean took her to where he had shot Diane, in the woods. He buried her after removing her jewelry and cut down a large tree in order to hide the burial place.
Many years later when LE took Judy Bean to the woods, they had changed so dramatically they were unable to find Diane's grave. She remains unfound.