Murder victim's boyfriend caught

September 03, 2003 11:00 pm

By AMY LINDBLOM

A man sought in connection with the murder of a 54-year-old Don Pedro area woman was arrested yesterday afternoon at an Illinois truck stop after he hitch-hiked a ride from a big-rig truck driver.

Michael Allan Cook, 45, was arrested by Metropolis, Ill., police officers who staked out the truck stop. The Illinois officers received a call from Tuolumne County Sheriff's investigators that Cook was en route.

Sheriff's Investigator Neil Lillie contacted the Metropolis police after he received a phone call about 1:30 p.m. yesterday from a relative of Cook's who lives near the southern Illinois town.

The woman, who knew Cook was wanted for questioning, told Lillie that Cook had called to say he was coming to see her and hoped she could pick him up at the truck stop.

Investigators had been looking for Cook since Aug. 25, when the decomposing body of Mary Bisbing was discovered by a sheriff's deputy who went to an Arbolada Drive house to check on her.

Bisbing's sister in Reno had alerted the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department because she had not heard from Bisbing since Aug. 15. Vivian Carlisle told dispatchers she was concerned for her sister's welfare because of past violence between Bisbing and her live-in boyfriend, Cook. He had previously been arrested twice on suspicion of assaulting Bisbing.

When Deputy Dave Grant discovered the body, both Cook and Bisbing's Ford Escort were missing.

Cook was arrested March 12 on suspicion of beating and threatening Bisbing and damaging the telephone line so she could not call for help.

A sheriff's deputy arrested Cook after Bisbing called 911 several times from a fax machine at the mobile home she shared with Cook, court records said.

The deputy who arrested Bisbing testified at a preliminary hearing that Cook had slammed the woman's head into the ground several times and hit her repeatedly.

Cook eventually pleaded guilty to damaging a telephone line and was sentenced to 90 days in the Tuolumne County Jail.