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Tag Archive | "Kent County Sheriff’s Office"

Police K9 dies while searching for suspect


K9 Axel died Saturday, August 28, after suffering a medical emergency while tracking a suspect. Courtesy photo.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of one of their K9s who died while searching for a potentially armed home invasion suspect today.

Deputies from the Kent County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 8700 block of Glen Park Court N.W. in Sparta Township Saturday, August 28, at 12:21 p.m. on a report of an in-progress home invasion where the suspect was potentially armed. After arriving on scene, deputies located the suspect in a vehicle. After initiating a traffic stop, the suspect fled on foot into the woods. One of the KCSO’s K9 teams, Deputy Krystal Stuart and K9 Axel, started a track for the suspect. Shortly after the track began, K9 Axel suffered a medical emergency and was rushed to the Animal Emergency Hospital, where he later died.

“The entire Kent County Sheriff’s Office is heartbroken,” said Sheriff LaJoye-Young. “A K9 is a partner to their handler and an incredibly special member of our KCSO family. We will forever be grateful for Axel’s service to the residents of Kent County.”

A procession from Animal Emergency Hospital on Plainfield Avenue N.E. to his personal vet, Cedar Animal Hospital in Cedar Springs, occurred with assistance from the Grand Rapids Police Department K9 Unit, the Michigan State Police K9 Unit, the Wyoming Police Department K9 Unit, the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit, the Plainfield Fire Department, and the Cedar Springs Fire Department.

The home invasion investigation is ongoing. The suspect is still outstanding but is not believed to be a threat to the public. No officers were injured during the incident.

K9 Axel has been with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office since May 2019. He was the agency’s only explosive detection dog and was assigned to the Community Services Unit with handler Deputy Krystal Stuart. Please keep K9 Axel and Deputy Stuart in your thoughts and prayers.

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Man charged in home invasion


A man who was paroled just a little over a year ago after serving time for a home invasion in Allegan County, has been charged in a home invasion in northern Kent County.

Frederick Alan Matthews

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, they have investigated over 20 daytime home invasions, mainly in northern Kent County, since mid-April 2021. Through home surveillance systems and assistance from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, Frederick Alan Matthews, a 40-year-old male from Wyoming, was identified as the suspect.

Matthews was taken into custody by investigators on June 23 and found to be in possession of a victim’s property. He was placed under arrest and charged with Home Invasion 1st Degree, Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine, and weapons charges. Bond was set at $50,000 cash/surety on the home invasion charge and $250,000 on the cocaine charge.

He is currently being held at the Kent County Correctional Facility. The investigation is ongoing.

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Pagel murder on Dateline Friday


By Judy Reed

The Courtland Township murder that horrified residents in the Rockford/Cedar Springs area will be the focus on a newsmagazine show this week.

Sarah Pagel will give an exclusive interview on Dateline Friday. Courtesy photo.

This Friday’s all-new Dateline will focus on the Renee Pagel murder case and will include an exclusive interview with Renee’s now grown daughter, Sarah Pagel; Renee’s childhood friend Laura Beach; and more.

Dateline’s “Window of Opportunity” Airs Friday, May 7 at 9 p.m./8 p.m. CT on NBC.

Renee was brutally murdered in August 2006, in her Courtland Township home on 13 Mile Rd, while recovering from donating a kidney to the father of one of her students. She was estranged from her husband, Michael Pagel, and they were going through a divorce and bitter custody battle for their three children—twins Sarah and Joel, 7, and Hannah, 3. She reportedly had over 50 stab wounds to her head, face and torso, and her hands were mutilated defending herself from the attack.

Dateline reporter Andrea Canning with Kent County Sheriff Det. EJ Johnson. Courtesy photo.

The case went cold, and the children were raised by their father after the murder. But Michael Pagel was always the only suspect.

The case was turned over to a cold case review team in Lansing in the fall of 2018. The review team made up of Michigan prosecutors who looked at the case file for the purpose of providing feedback on possible investigative leads that might help the investigation. Recent interviews and investigations provided valuable evidence that resulted in the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office charging Michael Pagel, 55, with the murder of his estranged wife. With the assistance of the Michigan State Police, Michael Pagel was taken into custody in the Bay City area in February 2020 and transported back to Kent County to face charges related to the murder of his wife.

Pagel pled guilty to second-degree murder last year, after years of claiming he had nothing to do with it.

Last fall, 14 years and two months to the day Michael James Pagel murdered his wife, Renee, he received what amounted to a life sentence: 25 years in prison, with a maximum of 50.

If you don’t have regular television, you can watch the episode on NBC.com or Peacock for free a week after it airs.

Related stories:

Arrest made in Pagel murder

Husband sentenced in wife’s murder

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Man injured in explosion, house fire


by Judy Reed

: A man was seriously injured after an explosion and fire at this home in White Creek Country Estates Tuesday, May 4. Photo by Michael L. Streeter.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fire involving injuries at White Creek Country Estates in Solon Township Tuesday.

Multiple fire departments help battle the blaze in Solon Township Tuesday. Photo by B. Sanderson.

Multiple fire departments and deputies from the Kent County Sheriff’s Office responded about 5:14 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, to 15290 Pecan Avenue, in White Creek Country Estates (White Creek Ave NE and Egner St NE) on a residential fire, preceded by several explosions.

A 50-year-old man, who was outside of the residence, was severely injured after a fire and multiple explosions occurred in an attached carport. According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, neighbors pulled the victim out of the carport.

According to Sgt. Joy Matthews, when officers arrived on the scene, they saw butane tanks inside the carport and smoke and flames coming from the house. They immediately evacuated several nearby residences and provided emergency medical aid to the victim who sustained significant injuries to his hands and burns to his body. He was transported to Spectrum Hospital and is currently undergoing treatment. The victim’s mother was inside the residence at the time of the fire but was not injured. Both the victim and his mother live at the residence.

Both fire and smoke damage destroyed this home on Pecan Avenue in Solon Township’s White Creek Country Estates. Photo by B. Sanderson.

Michigan State Police Bomb Squad and Arson Investigators responded to the scene after homemade fireworks were located.

Solon Fire Department, Algoma Fire Department, Cedar Springs Fire Department, Kent City Fire Department, and Sand Lake Fire Department all assisted with the fire.

According to Solon firefighter Matt Schievink, the carport and a shed were completely destroyed and, while the home was left standing, the back corner was gone and considered a complete loss. Two other homes nearby were also damaged by shrapnel from the explosions.

Schievink said that one of the things that made the fire difficult to fight was that the explosion ruptured a natural gas line and they had to wait for both DTE Energy to arrive to turn off the gas, and Consumers Energy to turn off the power. That meant they could not go inside the residence and could only battle it from outside. He said it took a good hour to put the fire out. They finally cleared at 9:51 p.m.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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Man charged in shooting


An Algoma Township man is in critical condition after being shot by an acquaintance Sunday morning.

Jared Scholten has been charged in the shooting.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were dispatched to the shooting at 6:28 a.m. on February 28, in the 4000 block of Mercury Dr. NE, in Algoma Estates, a manufactured home community off 13 Mile Rd.

The victim, Anthony White, 31, of Rockford, was transported to an area hospital and remains in critical condition, as of Monday afternoon.

The suspect, Jared Shane Scholten, 22, of Coopersville, who is reportedly an acquaintance of the victim, was taken into custody a short time after the shooting and lodged in the Kent County Correctional Facility.

On Monday, March 1, the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office charged Scholten with Assault with Intent to Murder and Felony Firearm in the shooting of Anthony White. Scholten’s bond was set at $500,000 cash/surety. He remains in custody, and shows he is now serving a sentence for assault and battery.

Police have not released a motive for the shooting.

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Man pleads guilty in wife’s murder


By Judy Reed

James Michael Pagel, 55, pled guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder in the 2006 murder of his wife, Renee Beth Pagel. She was brutally murdered in August 2006, in her Courtland Township home, while recovering from donating a kidney to the father of one of her students.

Renee Pagel and her children. Photo from the Justice for Renee Pagel Facebook page.

It was almost 14 years that ago that the Kent County Sheriffs’ Office responded to 9050 13 Mile Road NE in Courtland Township on a report of a deceased person. On August 5, 2006 first responders located Renee Beth Pagel deceased with obvious trauma to her body. There were no signs of forced entry into the home and valuables in plain sight were left behind. The medical examiner’s office completed an autopsy and ruled the death a homicide.

Through the course of the investigation, detectives learned Renee Pagel was nearing the end of a contentious divorce with her estranged husband Michael Pagel.  Following Renee’s death, the initial investigation had run its course with no charges filed and was eventually classified as a cold case. The couple’s three children went to live with their father.

Michael James Pagel

The case was turned over to a cold case review team in Lansing in the fall of 2018. The review team made up of Michigan prosecutors looked at the case file for the purpose of providing feedback on possible investigative leads that might help the investigation. Recent interviews and investigations provided valuable evidence that resulted in the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office charging Michael Pagel, 55, with the murder of his estranged wife. With the assistance of the Michigan State Police, Michael Pagel was taken into custody in the Bay City area in February 2020 and transported back to Kent County to face charges related to the murder of his wife.

A dual statement from Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker and Kent County Sheriff Michelle Lajoye-Young gave some details on the plea. “It is gratifying to see him finally accept some responsibility for her murder for which he has been a suspect since the very beginning,” it reads. “The children of Michael and Renee were consulted before considering a plea offer, and we decided on this course of action based on their response and approval. A trial involving their father in the murder of their mother would be extraordinarily difficult for this family. The ability to hold him accountable for his actions and save the kids from the trauma of such a trial played a major role in this decision.  In this agreement Mr. Pagel pled guilty to one count of second-degree murder with an agreement of a 25-year minimum sentence.  The judge will have the ability to set the maximum sentence.”

According to Prosecutor Becker, Pagel said he hired his brother to kill his wife, and that he provided a map and floorplan to allow him to do it. But authorities don’t yet know if he’s telling the truth.

“We were aware of the possibility that Michael Pagel may implicate others in the actual murder when he gave a factual basis for his plea. At this time, it is important to note that we are not aware of any independent evidence that can corroborate the statements Mr. Pagel made today. However, we have a duty to investigate his claims and will do so.  If Mr. Pagel wants to provide his version of events to the investigative team, they will listen to him, and follow up if he has any evidence to support his claim. This office and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department are committed to holding any person involved in Renee’s murder responsible for their actions. The statement of a defendant alone, with nothing more to support his version of events, is not enough by itself to charge anyone, with any crime.  Without any supporting evidence, it is merely a statement of a man perhaps trying to save face in admitting his guilt in the murder of his wife and should be treated as such.

“This office, with the Sheriff’s Department, has been committed to finding the truth since the beginning of the investigation. This commitment has not changed with this plea.  We appreciate the hard work and dedication of the detectives and crime scene techs at the Sheriff’s Department, the prosecutors assigned to the case, the Michigan State Police crime lab for their help, and especially Renee’s family for their strength and understanding though this entire process.  The investigation will continue and we will do everything we can to prove or disprove what Mr. Pagel stated here today. We want nothing more than to provide the truth of what happened to Renee, for her family and the community.” 

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Records services at Kent County Sheriff’s Office by appointment only


From the Kent County Sheriff’s Office

In an effort to reduce opportunities for community spread of COVID-19, we are limiting the number of services we will be providing at our main office. The north and south sub station offices will be closed until further notice. Effective 1:00 p.m. March 16 ALL services performed by our records division located at 701 Ball Ave NE will be by appointment only. You must call 616-632-6200 to speak to a records clerk prior to coming in. Additionally, until further notice, we will not be performing gun registrations or any fingerprinting services.

If you need police response, call 911 for emergencies or 616-632-6357 to speak to a dispatcher about a non-emergency response.

Thank you all so much for your understanding as we navigate this outbreak together.

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Three injured in crash



Three were injured in this crash at 13 Mile and Grange last Friday. Photos by L. Allen.

Three people were injured in a two-car crash in Algoma Township last Friday afternoon.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred at 3:55 p.m. on February 14, at 13 Mile and Grange. A 15-year-old driver’s education student was traveling southbound on Grange Ave NE and stopped for the stop sign at 13 Mile Rd NE. She thought she had enough time to cross over 13 Mile and was struck by a westbound car driven by a 43-year-old Sparta woman.

The at fault car was occupied by the 15-year-old driver, her 38-year-old father, and  her 8-year-old brother. Both drivers and the father had minor injuries. They were treated and released from local hospitals.

Algoma Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

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Kent County approves new sheriff campus in Cedar Springs



The new North County Campus housing the Kent County Sheriff’s Office and Kent County Health Department will be built on land west of Taco Bell. Photo by L. Allen.

By Judy Reed

The Kent County Board of Commissioners gave the green light last week to the development of a new $12.5 million North County campus in Cedar Springs that will house both the Kent County Sheriff’s Office  and the Kent County Health Department. 

The new North County Campus will be built on 14 acres of county-owned property on 17 Mile Road NE, west of Taco Bell. The site’s conceptual master site plan includes a full-service sub-station for the Sheriff’s Office, a clinic for the Health Department, and additional space for other County services as needed. The County said this new shared facility will improve response times by the Sheriff’s Office and increase access to services in northern Kent County.

“By consolidating and upgrading our facilities and operations, we are focusing on the County’s quality of life and addressing long-awaited projects to better serve our residents now and into the future,” said Kent County Administrator Wayman Britt.

According to Sgt. Todd Probst, who supervises the Cedar Springs Sheriff’s Unit, the deputies who currently work out of Cedar Springs City Hall will move into the new building, along with officers and detectives who work out of the current north substation in Kent City. He sees it as a great advantage for the deputies and residents.

“Besides still being in the city of Cedar Springs, it will allow the dedicated city officers to collaborate directly with the north road patrol deputies, community policing officers, and detectives,” explained Sgt. Probst.  “Having the North Sub within the city will also bring additional officers coming and going from the city, which will give Cedar additional coverage for police related incidents.”  

The new North County Campus was one of three strategic capital improvement projects approved by Kent County, with all three totaling $18.7 million. The projects, meant to address the growing needs of Kent County residents, include: 

• $12.5 million for the development of a North County Campus,

• $2.68 million for a Parks Department office near Millenium Park, and

• $3.5 million for a 16,100 square-foot fleet facility on the county’s Fuller campus to repair and maintain the county’s more than 290 vehicles. When the original facility was built, they only serviced 35.

The funding for these projects was allocated from the County’s Capital Improvement Program Fund. The fund was established in 2015 to reserve funding for future capital needs and to reduce the size of debt associated with large capital projects.

“I am very proud we were able to address the needs of the community and offer better, more efficient services without the need to issue bonds,” said Kent County Board of Commissioners Chair Mandy Bolter. “Our fiscal team has been very responsible with taxpayer dollars over the years so we could make that possible. These projects wisely invest taxpayer dollars in areas that will not only improve access to County services but prepare our infrastructure for the future.”

The Kent County Building Authority will assume project management responsibility for these initiatives. All projects are scheduled to immediately commence with architectural and engineering services and the projected timeline for the North County Campus is twenty-four months; fifteen months for the Parks Department office; and eighteen months for the fleet facility. Design renderings are currently unavailable for these projects.

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Solon fire frees man pinned in vehicle



A man was freed from this vehicle and treated for minor injuries after he hit a tree in Solon Township. Photo from Solon Fire Facebook page.

The crash occurred on 18 Mile Rd near Algoma. Photo from Solon Fire Facebook page.

Police suspect that alcohol was involved in a crash that occurred in Solon Township last weekend.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, it happened about 10:55 p.m. on Friday, January 24, on 18 Mile Rd near Algoma Ave NE. A 39-year-old man from Cedar Springs was traveling westbound on Algoma when the vehicle he was driving went off the roadway and struck a tree.

The man was pinned inside his car, and Solon Fire, with mutual aid from Cedar Springs Fire, extricated the man from the vehicle. He was then transported to Spectrum Hospital for treatment for some minor injuries. 

Police are waiting on lab tests before sending this to the prosecutor’s office for review.

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