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Tag Archive | "Kent County Sheriff’s Office"

Parents charged in baby’s death


Seth Michael Welch

Tatiana Elena Fusari

The parents of a 10-month-old child who died Thursday, August 2, in Solon Township have been charged with homicide-felony murder and first-degree child abuse.

Seth Michael Welch, 27, and Tatiana Elena Fusari, 27, found their infant daughter Mary unresponsive Thursday and called authorities at 12:06 p.m. to their home at 16509 Algoma Avenue, known by many in the community as Blackacre Farm. The baby was pronounced dead at the scene.

An officer at the scene reported that the baby’s eyes and cheeks were sunken into her head. 

Deputies executed a search warrant for evidence of child abuse/neglect causing the child’s death. The couple told police that they noticed their daughter’s skinny appearance the month prior. Fusari reportedly told police they did not seek medical help because they did not want Child Protective Services called, had a lack of faith and trust in medical services and cited religious reasons.

The parents were taken into custody August 3, after an autopsy revealed the cause of death was ruled as malnutrition/dehydration due to neglect on the part of the adult caregivers. The baby’s death was ruled a homicide, and the Kent County Prosecutor authorized charges on August 5. 

Welch and Fusari were arraigned on Monday, August 6. Bail was denied for both, and they have a probable cause hearing set for August 20 at 63rd District Court at 8:45 a.m.

The couple’s other two children were placed with family members.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office said they had only responded to the home once before on a matter unrelated to child welfare. 

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Kent County Sheriff’s Office at 616-632-6357 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

ORIGINAL STORY

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Car show draws crowds


The Cosplay Crusaders were a big hit at the museum car show last Saturday.

This car was shown in its original condition. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

The annual car show at the Cedar Springs Historical Museum was a huge success last Saturday, July 28, bringing in lots of vehicles and people to their biggest fundraising event of the year. 

“We made $5,000 this year, the best we’ve ever done,” said Sharon Jett, Director at the Museum.

Steve Quigley won best of show, with a 1987 Buick.

Special guests included the Cedar Springs Fire Department, and DJ JoJo Girard from radio station WFGR 98.7. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office also was on hand with one of their tactical vehicles.

Also on hand were the Cosplay Crusaders, as part of a fundraiser organized by Ryan Hess, 8, and Cub Scout pack 3220. Kids were excited to see Thor, the Black Panther, and the Dark Knight of Michigan with his bat bike. For a donation, anyone could sit in the bat bike. Proceeds raised will go to Howard Christensen Nature Center, as will the proceeds from the Cub Scouts beef stick sale, and Ryan’s pop can drive.

“It looks like we will be donating a little over $400 to the nature center,” said Dana Hess, Ryan’s mom.

“Everyone loved the superheroes and the cub scouts sold all their beef sticks,” noted Jett. She also said that Maranatha Baptist Church gave out almost 600 hot dog lunches and dozens of donuts. 

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Two crashes in two days


 

This crash occurred at 15 Mile and Shaner Ave on Sunday, July 8, when a motor home hit a Volvo. Photo courtesy of Ron Parker.

By Judy Reed

There were two crashes in just over 48 hours at a rural intersection in Courtland Township this week.

The first crash occurred at 15 Mile Rd and Shaner Ave on Sunday, July 8, at about 12:25 p.m. According to Deputy Tim Essig, with traffic and safety at the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred when an 80-year-old from Whitmore Lake, Michigan, who was traveling westbound on 15 Mile Rd, ran the stop sign at Shaner Avenue and collided with a Volvo station wagon driven a by a 52-year-old from Grand Rapids. Neither driver was injured.

This crash occurred at 15 Mile and Shaner Ave on Tuesday, July 10, when a Ford Focus ran the stop sign and was hit by a Dodge Ram truck. Photo courtesy of Ron Parker.

The second crash occurred on Tuesday, at 5:53 p.m. Deputy Essig said that the crash occurred when a 61-year-old woman from Grand Rapids, who was traveling eastbound on 15 Mile in a Ford Focus, failed to stop at the stop sign at Shaner Avenue and was hit by a 21-year-old Cedar Springs man driving a 2010 Dodge Ram. The drivers only suffered minor injuries. Neither were transported to the hospital. 

Both Courtland Fire and Rockford Ambulance assisted at the scenes of both crashes.

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Welcome, Sgt. Todd Probst


Sgt. Todd Probst is the new supervisor of the Cedar Springs Unit of the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Have you seen this smiling face around town yet? It’s Sgt. Todd Probst, the new supervisor of the Cedar Springs Unit of the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. Probst took over last week after Sgt. Jason Kelley took a job in the detective bureau.

Probst grew up in Lowell, a town he said is similar to Cedar Springs, and graduated from Lowell High School in 1989. After high school, he worked full time and attended Grand Rapids Community College and graduated from the police academy in 1994. He was then hired by the Lowell Police Department where he worked part time from 1994-95, and was then hired by the Kent County Sheriff’s Office in January of 1996 as a road patrol deputy.

While working as a deputy, he worked in many different areas. Jobs he held included: Road patrol deputy in various areas across the county; Field training officer; TAC team member (Tactical apprehension and confrontation team); traffic and safety deputy; and as a community policing deputy, where he helped establish the Shop with a Sheriff program.

Probst was promoted to Sergeant in 2004, and worked with Road patrol and Park police. In 2013 he began work as a detective sergeant. Until his move to Cedar Springs, he was the Family Services Unit Supervisor, where he supervised detectives in the unit; Children’s Assessment Center; Warrants; Friend of the Court; and was liaison with three in-house Child Protective/Adult Protective Service Workers. He also was on the Presidential Motorcade Detail.

What was attractive about moving to the Cedar Springs Unit? “I was looking for a new opportunity, and it has a small-town atmosphere like I grew up in,” he said with a smile. “Being Cedar’s Sergeant is almost like being chief of a small town.”

Probst noted that another attractive quality is that Cedar Springs is known for its community involvement. “It will give me an opportunity to work with the community and with city leaders—those people we serve. With my background in community policing, it’s something I enjoy,” he explained.

When the Post asked what he has been seeing in the community, Probst said he’s already seeing that community involvement firsthand. “Business leaders and citizens really seem to be vested in community,” he said.

Probst noted that he would continue to work on what was already established here by Sgt. Kelley—mainly continuing to grow a good relationship between the community and the police department. “Everyone says they enjoy having us here and they feel like they are getting great service. The deputies also enjoy getting out and meeting the community in a non-traditional role by being a member of the community themselves,” he said. “That’s not a typical opportunity for a road patrol deputy. It’s more like community policing.”

The bottom line is that Probst wants people to feel safe here. “I want to make it a safe community, where people feel safe to go, and be a police department that the community can trust,” he said.

When he is not working, Probst is busy with his three daughters and their sports activities. His oldest will play soccer at Aquinas next year; he has another that will be a sophomore next year and plays for a travel soccer team; and has another that will be a fourth-grader next year. He said he likes all sports, but when he gets the chance, he really likes to play golf. 

What else does he want the people of Cedar Springs to know? “Everyone has been very welcoming. I’m ready to jump into this role. My door is always open. I want people to get to know me, and I want to get to know them,” he said.

Other 2018 staffing changes in the Cedar Springs Unit:

Deputy Nathan Stanton, who was a night shift Cedar Springs deputy, has been assigned as a district patrol deputy out of the north substation. Deputy Caitlin Carey will take his position as a Cedar deputy on nights. 

Deputy Ryan Wheeler, who was also a night shift Cedar Deputy, was promoted to Sergeant on May 8. Deputy Craig Holbrook will now take his place on the night shift.

Day shift deputies are Todd Frank and Pat Kent.

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Have you seen this man?


The Kent County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating a man wanted by both the U.S. Marshal Service and the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Wade Thompson, 50, is a parole absconder with a lengthy criminal record who has served time in prison for various charges including retail fraud, felonious assault, and fleeing and eluding police. He has recently been stealing large quantities of liquor in Kent County, typically totaling around $250 per theft, according to police.

If you encounter him, call 911 and do not attempt to apprehend him, as he has been known to evade apprehension with no regard for the safety of others. If you have information that can lead agents to his location, you can call Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

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Bank robber sentenced to 151 months in federal prison 


This was the scene after bank robber Edward Ray Lucas crashed his car into another vehicle after a bank robbery in Sand Lake on August 18, 2016.

Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced on Thursday, August 17, that U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney sentenced Lucas to 151 months in federal prison, and also ordered Lucas to serve three years of supervised release following his release from prison and pay a special assessment of $100.

On August 18, 2016, Edward Lucas robbed the Independent Bank of Sand Lake, Michigan. Lucas handed a manila envelope to a teller with these words on it: “This is a Robbery. 100s, 50s, 20s. No die packs.” The teller gave Lucas $5,550, and he fled in a silver Chevy Impala.

A detailed description of the suspect and his vehicle were given to dispatchers. His description was relayed to all police units in the northern part of Kent County as well as to Montcalm County dispatch. Twenty minutes later, a vehicle that matched the description of the suspect’s vehicle was spotted on 17 Mile Road in Cedar Springs. A Kent County Sheriff deputy was able to see the driver, who also matched the description that had been broadcasted. The vehicle then ramped onto southbound US-131 as the deputy followed. Once a second deputy caught up to the first, they made a traffic stop, but the suspect then sped away, continuing south on US-131. Police said the vehicle reached speeds up to 90 mph before slowing down and exiting on Post Dr. The suspect vehicle turned onto Post Drive heading toward Belmont.

A very short time later the suspect’s vehicle appeared to cross into oncoming traffic, side swiping a Jeep Liberty before hitting a second vehicle head on. The suspect’s vehicle then left the roadway and rolled two or three times before coming to a rest.

As deputies approached the suspect’s vehicle, the engine compartment burst into flames. Deputies were able to pull the suspect from the vehicle and use an extinguisher to extinguish the fire. They also found the demand note and $5,550 in cash in the vehicle.

A Michigan State Police Sergeant, who saw the crash, said that it looked like the suspect appeared to deliberately stray across the centerline to crash into the other vehicle.

Two individuals from the vehicle that was hit head on were treated at the scene and released. One person from the Jeep Liberty was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. The suspect was transported with much more severe injuries to Butterworth Hospital, where it was determined that he broke his leg, injured his neck, and suffered a severe contusion to his chest.

Judge Maloney noted that Lucas seriously risked the lives of others in fleeing from the robbery. Judge Maloney also noted Lucas had a high risk of returning to bank robbery someday, given that he had two prior bank robbery convictions in Michigan state courts. He was previously convicted of committing two bank robberies in 1999.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, and Federal Bureau of Investigation jointly investigated Lucas’s case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Davin M. Reust prosecuted it.

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Suspect arrested in car theft


The Kent County Sheriff’s Office has been investigating numerous nighttime home invasions in Cannon Township, where purses and wallets were stolen.

On July 17, a Cadillac Escalade, stolen during a home invasion that occurred in the City of Grandville on July 15, was recovered by the Kent County Sheriff’s Office near Lincoln Lake Avenue and 14 Mile Road. A suspect was seen on video exiting the stolen Escalade. The suspect was the same person suspected of being involved in the home invasions in Cannon Township.

On July 17, the suspect was taken into custody and a search warrant was executed at a residence in Cannon Township. On July 18, the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office charged the suspect with receiving and concealing a stolen vehicle. The suspect’s name has not yet been released.

Detectives are continuing to investigate these incidents and analyze evidence that has been collected. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Tanis at (616) 632-6015 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

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Double shooting near Sparta


 

A man is dead and another injured after a double shooting early Monday morning in the area of M-37 north of Sparta Avenue NW.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, 911 callers reported at about 3:20 a.m. that two people had been shot and were laying on the ground near a stopped vehicle along the road in the 9000 block of southbound M-37 in Sparta Township. A 911 caller reported that the shooting was the result of some type of road rage incident.

When the Kent County Sheriff Department arrived, they found two men with gunshot wounds near the stopped vehicle. Donald Dudley, 20, of Bailey, Michigan, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other man, Benjamin Dudley, 18, also from Bailey, Michigan, was transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital and is in critical condition.

Police also found a third male subject who stated that he had shot both of the men. Robert Chipman Jr., 43 years of age, from Newaygo, Michigan, has a valid Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL). Police did recover a firearm from the scene.

A fourth person, a 22-year-old female from Wyoming, had fled in a vehicle from the scene but was located a short distance away after she also called 911 to report the shooting. She confirmed that she fled in the vehicle after hearing the gunshots and confirmed she had been with the two subjects that were shot.

Major Case Team Investigators interviewed the alleged male shooter and the female witness at KCSD Headquarters. Both are cooperating with investigators.

The surviving male subject, Benjamin Dudley, will be interviewed when his medical condition allows investigators to speak with him.

This case remains an active investigation and all subjects involved are accounted for and there is no public danger. An autopsy was conducted by Kent County Medical Examiners Officer Monday to determine an official cause of death. Investigators will present their complete findings to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office to determine if any criminal charges will be brought against any of the subjects involved.

Assisting at the scene was the Michigan State Police; Sparta Fire/Rescue; the Kent County Medical Examiners Officer; and Rockford Ambulance.

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Sheriff’s Office receives national traffic safety recognition


 

Alicia Sledge (left) and Julie Roth of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning present a national traffic safety award to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. Photo courtesy of OHSP.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office Secondary Road Patrol (SRP)/Traffic Safety Unit has received the Salute to Law Enforcement Officers Award from the National Association of Women Highway Safety Leaders (NAWHSL).

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) presented the honor during a ceremony on Thursday, May 18, on behalf of the association.

“The award recognizes Kent County’s continued strong commitment and dedication to traffic safety,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director.

The Secondary Road Patrol and Traffic Accident Prevention Program provides county sheriff’s offices with funding to patrol county and local roads outside the corporate limits of cities and villages.  The state grant program, managed by the OHSP, has the legislated primary responsibility of traffic enforcement and traffic crash prevention on secondary roads.

Deputies funded under the SRP program are responsible for traffic enforcement, traffic crash prevention and investigation, criminal law enforcement and emergency assistance to stranded motorists on secondary roadways.

In 2016, the Kent County SRP Traffic Safety Unit investigated 35 fatal traffic crashes, including alcohol- related crashes.

“Traffic safety remains a top priority in Kent County.  We are always seeking innovative ways to address this ongoing problem,” said Kent County Sheriff Lawrence A. Stelma.

The department has focused on drugged driving enforcement through its three Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) deputies.  A DRE is a law enforcement officer trained to identify people whose driving is impaired by drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.

Stelma said deputies in the Traffic Safety Unit also have the equipment and training to precisely measure and map crash scenes.  This data is a vital investigative tool for criminal prosecution.

The unit has also established an online school bus red light violating reporting system that is used by bus drivers.  Reports are investigated by a deputy with proper enforcement action taken.

“We are grateful to receive this national honor and appreciate the ongoing support of the OHSP,” said Stelma.

The NAWHSL disseminates information and educational programs to promote safe traffic behavior and advocates for effective public programs to reduce motor vehicle related crashes, crash severity and the resulting deaths and injuries.

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Holiday online shopping online shopping


 

From Deputy Jennifer VanSingel, Kent County Sheriff Department

 

With the holiday season fast approaching, many of us will be doing some, if not all, of our shopping online. This is a $46 billion industry that offers convenience and flexibility. However, it is also an attractive target for cyber criminals.

Cyber Criminals use multiple ways to prey on unsuspecting citizens including:  fraudulent classified ads/auction sites, gift card scams, and resale of stolen items. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind everyone to be safe online this season and has provided the following tips to help make your shopping experience safer and more stress free.

1. Make sure the electronic device that you’re using to make your purchase has up-to-date security software, programs, and applications.

2. If there is any doubt with the authenticity of the link, email, or online advertisement, don’t click on it.

3. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be cautious of any communication that states an action must be taken immediately.

4. Do not share personal information over an unsecure wifi hot spot or network.

5. Make sure the website being visited is legitimate. There should be a closed padlock icon on the web browser or a web address that begins with “shttp” or “https.”

6. Use a credit card to make your purchases, when possible. Never send cash or use a money-wiring service. Always doublecheck your credit card statement for unauthorized charges.

If you believe you have been the victim of online fraud, report it to the appropriate organization right away. Advise your financial institution immediately so they can monitor for unexpected changes to your account and change your passwords to any account that has been compromised.

 

 

 

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