web analytics

Tag Archive | "cold case"

Hart Post detectives receive meritorious service award 

 D/Sgt. Michael Stephens

D/Sgt. Michael Stephens

D/Sgt. Scott Rios

D/Sgt. Scott Rios

D/Sgt. John Forner

D/Sgt. John Forner

At a special ceremony held in Lansing, Michigan State Police (MSP) Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue presented D/Sgt. John Forner, D/Sgt. Scott Rios and D/Sgt. Michael Stephens of the Hart Post with the MSP Meritorious Service Award for their diligence during a very complex, 26-year-old cold case investigation involving the homicide of Ms. Shannon Siders.

After failing to return home one evening in July 1989, Siders was reported missing to the MSP Newaygo Post by her father.

In early September 1989, identification and other items belonging to Siders were found in the national forest and brought to the Newaygo Post. The area was searched where the items were found, but no evidence was located. Unfortunately, in October 1989, Siders’ remains were recovered in the national forest and her cause of death was ruled a homicide.

Investigators established a timeline and learned that Siders was last seen alive in the company of two brothers. As the investigation continued, additional leads were submitted and multiple suspects and theories were explored, but tips became sparse over time and the investigation grew cold.

In 2011, a cold case task force comprised of Forner, Rios and Stephens, along with officers from the Newaygo Police Department and the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department was formed to reexamine the case. Detectives examined all available evidence, collected missing documents and compiled a list of suspect theories.

After the task force indexed the report of over 2,000 pages and conducted over 500 interviews, the original suspects were again identified as prime suspects in the case.

In June 2014, homicide warrants were obtained and the suspects were arrested. The case went to trial in April 2015 and in May 2015 one suspect was convicted of first degree murder and the other suspect was convicted of second degree murder.

In awarding Forner, Rios and Stephens with the department’s Meritorious Service Award, the MSP Board of Awards recognizes that without their dedication and expert investigative skills, justice may have never been obtained for Siders.

Forner joined the department in 1998, graduating as a member of the 117th Trooper Recruit School. Prior to being assigned to the Hart Post, he served at the Grand Haven and Rockford posts, as well as the Sixth District Headquarters.

Rios joined the department in 1988, graduating as a member of the 103rd Trooper Recruit School. Prior to being assigned to the Hart Post, he served at the Ypsilanti, Detroit, Lakeview, Grand Haven and Newaygo posts.

Stephens joined the department in 1999, graduating as a member of the 118th Trooper Recruit School. Prior to being assigned to the Hart Post, he served at the Newaygo, Lakeview and Mt. Pleasant posts.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Hart Post detectives receive meritorious service award 

Billboard campaign launched to generate new leads in 1993 cold case


There is a new effort in an attempt to solve the 1993 murder of Kathleen Vanslyke.  The Kent Metro Cold Case Team has partnered with the Grand Rapids Police and Silent Observer to highlight the victim in their unsolved homicide billboard campaign. –

On July 23, 1993 at 3:30pm, Kathleen Vanslyke, a 45-year-old mother and wife, was shot at close range while she waited in her vehicle in a parking lot near Burton Street, SE, and Eastern Avenue, SE, in the City of Grand Rapids. After the shooting, Vanslyke’s car rolled backwards and collided with an adjacent building. The location was a busy area surrounded by businesses, including the former Old Kent Bank, Silver Derby Tavern, and Bucks.

In an effort to generate tips on this brutal murder, a billboard will highlight this victim for 30 days near the intersection of Burton Street SE, and Eastern Avenue SE, on November 2, 2015.

The family of Kathleen Vanslyke is supportive of the billboard campaign and hope, after 22 years, someone with information will come forward.

To see a photograph of Kathleen Vanslyke and crime scene photos, a Facebook page has been created called Kathleen Vanslyke 1993 cold case homicide.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Silent Observer at 616-774-2345 or Kent Metro Cold Case Team at 616-632-6123.

The Kent Metro Cold Case Team consists of detectives from the Michigan State Police, Kent County Sheriff Department and the Grand Rapids Police Department.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on Billboard campaign launched to generate new leads in 1993 cold case

Cold case team makes arrest; searches for another suspect

By Judy Reed

The Kent Metro Cold Case team is making progress on several cold cases, including an arrest last week, and the identification of a victim and possible suspect in another.

Last week the team arrested Andrew Ramon Scott, 27, of Lewisville, Texas, on an open murder and felony firearm charge in the 2004 Grand Rapids murder of Tahari Braggs, 25. Braggs was driving his vehicle on Alexander St. when he stopped to talk with occupants of another vehicle on the street. Shots were fired from the suspect vehicle, striking Braggs, and the other car left the scene. Braggs died from multiple gun shot wounds. Investigators determined the incident was a result of an altercation that transpired a day earlier between Braggs and acquaintances.  After a lengthy investigation, the case went cold, but was reopened in 2009. It is the ninth arrest made by the cold case team since it was formed in 2006.

Just this week the team identified the victim in a 2001 homicide that occurred in southwest Grand Rapids in 2001. On November 13, 2001, the Grand Rapids Police Department investigated a double stabbing that occurred on Ritzema Ct  SW, near Grandville Ave SW.   Officers found a Hispanic male fatally stabbed and a second stabbing victim with non-life threatening injuries. The first victim had no identification on him. The second victim,  Simon Mata, indicated he and the first man had been stabbed by a Hispanic male known to him as “Guero.”  Through the use of interpreters, Mata told investigators he did not know the victim or assailant’s real name. Investigators believed the victims and suspect were illegal immigrants from Mexico, but investigative leads were exhausted in the case in an attempt to identify the victim and suspect.

cold case suspectIn March 2011, the cold case team reopened the case, and resubmitted the victim’s fingerprints into a larger database, where they learned his identity. The victim has been identified as Gerado Piedra-Amaya, a 32-year-old Hispanic male from Durango, Mexico.  He entered the country illegally on February 19, 2001. The victim had been living in the Grand Rapids area for at least three months prior to his murder.

Investigators are seeking information from witnesses who might provide information on the victim or suspect. Suspect is a light skinned Hispanic male with light brown hair, very thin sideburns, a thin, barely visible, mustache, and a small goatee.  At the time of the homicide he was around 24 years of age, about 5-feet 5-inches tall, 155 pounds, and had hazel eyes.

At the time of the homicide he was known to frequent the Heartside area of Grand Rapids and sleep under viaducts along the U.S. 131 corridor.  He is believed to be an undocumented worker from Mexico.

Please contact the Kent Metro Cold Case Unit at (616) 632-6123.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Cold case team makes arrest; searches for another suspect