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 Paula <I>McMahon</I> Adkins

Paula McMahon Adkins

Death 17 May 2005 (aged 37)
Dearborn Heights, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Burial Dearborn Heights, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Memorial ID 108419141 · View Source
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May 17, 2005, age 37. Beloved mother of Andrea. Loving daughter of Jim and Alice McMahon. Sister of Mike McMahon, Rosemary (Howard) Rowland, Pamela (Russell) Munro. Granddaughter of Ann Barkholz. Fiancee of Mike Gust. Funeral Saturday 10 a.m. Prayers at the Dearborn Chapel of the Howe-Peterson Funeral Home, 22546 Michigan Avenue and 10:30 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Visitation 5-9 p.m. Thursday and 1-9 p.m. Friday. Rosary 7 p.m. Friday. In lieu of flowers memorials in care of Andrea Adkins.

Fatal accident leaves behind shattered lives, questions
By Sean Delaney
Press & Guide Newspapers
PUBLISHED: May 25, 2005

DEARBORN HEIGHTS - Sitting at a bar in South Carolina, police Chief Michael Gust and his fiancé Paula Adkins were just two bikers in love.

They talked, they laughed and they made plans for the future — a wedding next May, a honeymoon, and the chance to spend the rest of their lives together.

But it's a future that the 37-year-old Adkins won't get the chance to see.

A motorist discovered Adkins' body on the shoulder of U.S. 17 in Murrells Inlet at 11:30 p.m. on May 16 — just hours after she and Gust were at the nearby bar.

According to Tamara Willard, deputy coroner of Horry County, Adkins suffered injuries to the head and abdomen, as well as road rash injuries on her left side.

"Her injuries are consistent with falling off a bike, or being hit by a car," Willard said.

Adkins was pronounced dead at the scene, according to South Carolina Department of Public Safety spokesman Sid Gaulden.

Until further information is available, Gaulden said that the case is being treated as a traffic fatality.

"It was some type of accident," Gust said. "Nobody knows what exactly happened."

Prior to her death, Adkins and Gust had been in town to participate in the annual Carolina Harley-Davidson Dealers Association Myrtle Beach Rally.

"We were just having a great time, enjoying life, loving each other," Gust said.

According to South Carolina police, Gust said the he had left Adkins with friends at the bar the night of the accident so that he could return to the condominium the couple shared.

During that time, Adkins left the bar and was not seen again until her body was discovered later that night.

Adkins' sister, Paula Munro, said that the couple had been very much in love.

"Her and her fiancé is a pure love story," she said. "We support Mike Gust, and we support the family."

Adkins was laid to rest in St. Hedwig Cemetery in Dearborn Heights on May 21 following funeral services at Sacred Heat Church on Michigan Avenue in Dearbron.

A Dearborn Heights resident, Adkins worked at a local hair salon and is survived by her daughter, Andrea Adkins, her parents Jim and Alice McMahon, two siblings and a grandmother.

Family still wants answers in '05 death of local woman in South Carolina
By Sean Delaney
Press & Guide Newspapers
PUBLISHED: June 24, 2007

DEARBORN HEIGHTS - Two years ago, 37-year-old Paula Adkins was a woman in love. Recently engaged, Adkins was looking forward to getting married, raising her 13-year-old daughter and enjoying life in Dearborn Heights.

But all that would change on May 16, 2005, when Adkins' life was cut tragically short following a suspicious motorcycle accident in South Carolina — one that would leave her young daughter without a mother, and her family searching for answers.

"We pulled together as a family and we grieved like families do," said Pam Monro, Adkins' sister, who also resides in Dearborn Heights. "Our focus has been on Andrea (Adkins' daughter); to help this little girl out as much as we can as a family and support her even though we know her life is changed forever. She's lost the person who meant the most to her in her life."

But grief has given way to outrage, Monro said, as Adkins' death remains unsolved more than two years after her lifeless body was discovered on the shoulder of U.S. 17 in Murrells Inlet, S.C., near Myrtle Beach.

Her injuries appeared consistent with being struck by a motor vehicle, according to a coroner's report obtained by the Press & Guide, although her family believes Adkins' death may not have been accidental.

"After two years, now we're starting to question what really happened that night," Monro said.

"When it was told to us initially, it didn't really make sense, but being in shock and grieving you try and prioritize — we decided to take care of our family first. But now we want answers, for us and for her little girl."

Those answers have been hard to come by, Monro said, as the incident remains under investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

"We don't even know the most basic information," Monro said. "It's been very tough."

What is known, Monro said, is that Adkins traveled to Myrtle Beach with her former fiancé, Dearborn Heights Police Chief Michael Gust, in May 2005 to participate in "Bike Week" — an annual event that draws thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts to the city.

"He's the one that introduced her to motorcycles," Monro said. "For the most part, she wouldn't get on anyone else's bike."

The couple had been together for about nine months, Monro said, and became engaged after six. They were to be married last month — but a May 16 visit to the Suck Bang Blow bar, located on U.S. 17 in Murrells Inlet, S.C., would change their lives forever.

What happened after that remains a mystery.

"There's a tremendous amount of gray area," Monro said. "I think the truth would help us find closure, but I don't think we'll ever recover from this." According to South Carolina police, Gust said he left Adkins with friends at the bar the night of the accident so that he could return to the condominium the couple shared.

During that time, Adkins left the bar and was not seen again until her body was discovered later that night.
Adkins' family, however, believes Gust may know more than he's telling.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions from that night, and he may be the only one who can answer them," Monro said. "We're not out to discredit him — we've all lost someone we care about. But we believe that there are answers out there."

Gust did not return phone calls seeking comment about the ongoing investigation.

According to Monro, Adkins' former fiancé was the first to contact the family after she died — a call that shocked and horrified Adkins' mother, Alice McMahon.

"My mom, being in shock, just couldn't put the words together — so she sat on the couch for three hours and then contacted the rest of the family," Monro said. "Of course, it came as a shock to us as well."

But most shocking of all, Monro said, is the amount of unanswered questions surrounding Adkins' death, including who she was with the night she died.

"When I spoke with (Gust) he was really unclear about what happened," she said. "Piecing it together is one thing, but you would think he would've lifted a finger — whether it was with his social status or not — to help find the person responsible. The thing we question now is that there was no involvement." Adkins was one of several individuals killed during the "Myrtle Beach Bike Week" event in 2005, according law enforcement officials. Accidents reported during the event increased by nearly 90 percent from the previous year, police said.

While her family continues to search for answers, Monro said she would remember her sister as a woman full of life, who enjoyed traveling, fishing and making others laugh.

"I still remember when we going to visit mom and dad and we were supposed to bring pasta salad — Paula put it on the roof of the car and forgot about it," Monro said. "We lost it somewhere near Outer Drive and Telegraph Road. The salad was ruined, but we couldn't stop laughing. That's what I'll remember most about her — she could find humor in anything. She was the best sister anyone could ask for and we miss her."

Anyone with any information about the May 16, 2005, death of Dearborn Heights resident Paula Adkins should contact the South Carolina Highway Patrol (Horry County) at (843) 365-5001 or Pam Monro, who can be reached via e-mail at





  • Created by: Daniel Pletcher
  • Added: 13 Apr 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 108419141
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Paula McMahon Adkins (29 Jan 1968–17 May 2005), Find A Grave Memorial no. 108419141, citing Saint Hedwig Cemetery, Dearborn Heights, Wayne County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Daniel Pletcher (contributor 47418370) .