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Tag Archive | "Michigan State Police"

Man drowns in boating accident at Crystal Lake


A Perrinton man drowned last week Thursday afternoon trying to save a woman who fell out of their boat.

According to the Michigan State Police Post in Lakeview, the incident happened at Crystal Lake, in Montcalm County’s Crystal Township, about 2:34 p.m. Thursday, June 4.

Police said that a 54-year-old woman had fallen from a fishing boat and into the water on Crystal Lake. The 59-year-old man operating the boat jumped into the water after the woman had fallen in. The woman, who was not injured, was pulled from the water and into a passing boat by citizens who arrived to help.

The man, Kelly Schaffer, 59, of Perrinton, in Gratiot County, was also pulled from the water and into the passing boat. Citizens began CPR on him before EMS arrival, but he was later pronounced deceased at the scene.

Life jackets were not worn by the fishing boat occupants.  The incident remains under investigation.

In addition to the citizens on scene, troopers were assisted by Crystal Twp. Fire Department, Montcalm County EMS, Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office and Montcalm County Central Dispatch.

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Sand Lake man killed in crash


Troopers from the Michigan State Police Rockford Post are investigating a fatal traffic crash that occurred on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at 6:12 p.m. at the intersection of 17 Mile Road and Sparta Avenue in Tyrone Township, Michigan.  

Preliminary investigation showed that a 2003 Pontiac Vibe entered the intersection from northbound Sparta Avenue and failed to yield to a 2020 Chevrolet Traverse traveling west on 17 Mile Road causing a collision. The impact forced the two vehicles off the roadway striking a utility pole in the northwest corner of the intersection. 

An 18-year-old male inside the Pontiac Vibe was pronounced deceased on scene.  

A second passenger in the Pontiac Vibe was transported to Butterworth Hospital via Aero Med and in critical condition. A third passenger sustained serious injuries. The driver was transported to the Butterworth Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. All the occupants inside the Pontiac Vibe were from Sand Lake, Michigan. 

The Chevrolet Traverse that was traveling west on 17 Mile Road was also occupied by four occupants. All occupants were transported to Butterworth Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. They are all from Kent City, Michigan. 

The crash is under investigation. Alcohol does not appear to be a contributing factor.  

Michigan State Police Rockford Post personnel were assisted on scene by Kent City Fire Department, LIFE EMS Ambulance, Spectrum Health Aero Med, Sparta Township Fire Department, Rockford Ambulance, Michigan Department of Transportation, and Consumers Energy.

The names of the victims in the crash were not available at press time.

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Suspect charged in 36-year-old cold case homicide


Richard Atwood disappeared from White Cloud, Michigan nearly 37 years ago.

Nearly 37 years after 25-year-old Richard Atwood disappeared from White Cloud, Michigan in Newaygo County, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel along with Newaygo County Prosecutor Worth Stay have jointly charged Roy Leando Snell, 55, with his murder. Atwood’s body has never been found.

Snell, 55, was arrested in Minneapolis by the Minneapolis Violent Criminal Apprehension Unit. He is being charged in Newaygo County with one count of homicide felony murder, punishable by life without parole, and one count of weapons felony firearm, punishable by two years in prison to be served consecutively and preceding any term of imprisonment imposed. Snell was in custody in Hennepin County Jail in Minnesota and was extradited last weekend.

Atwood was last seen on Aug. 10, 1983; his brown 1975 Pontiac Trans-Am was recovered in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area two months later. Snell was reported as the last person to be seen with Atwood.

Roy Leando Snell

Snell and another man, Walter Sanders, were reportedly driving around with Atwood that day. While Atwood was out of the car, Sanders told police that Snell showed him a gun and said, “Let’s rob Ricky.” Sanders said Atwood dropped him off and that was the last time he saw Atwood. Snell was still in the car.

When police recovered Atwood’s car, they found blood and tissue belonging to him on the seat, center console, and in the trunk.

Snell later told another man he killed Richard Atwood, and he told a cell mate about killing a guy and putting him in the trunk, which is consistent with the blood/DNA evidence police found. 

“Working cold cases would be an impossible task without all hands on deck,” said Michigan State Police Detective First Lt. Mike Anderson. “I’m very proud of the persistent determination shown by the Detectives and Prosecutors over the last two years. The Michigan State Police are proud to once again partner with the Newaygo County Prosecutor, Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan Attorney General to seek justice for the family of Richard Atwood. The arrest of Roy Snell is a very gratifying first step.”

Newaygo County Sheriff Mendham concurred. “The Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to help bring some relief to the Atwood family. The hard work and dedication of all officers and agencies involved throughout the years should be commended.”

“I would like to thank the Michigan State Police, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office and Prosecutor Stay for all their hard work on this,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “Cold cases are difficult cases to investigate, which makes good teamwork that much more important.”

MSP Detective F/Lt. Anderson thinks there are still people out there that might have information helpful to this case. “Sometimes an arrest and the passage of time gives witnesses with information about a crime the courage to come forward,” he said. “Although 36 years have passed, we feel there are still people in West Michigan who have information about this case that could benefit both the detectives and prosecutors; we would like to hear from them. Even though the information may seem insignificant, it can be the missing piece of the puzzle investigators are looking for.”

Information about the murder of Richard Atwood or any West Michigan cold case can be given in a variety of ways including:

  • Speaking with a detective in person or by phone at the Michigan State Police Hart Post at (231) 873-2171 or the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office at (231) 689-7303. 
  • A call to the Michigan State Police Cold Case Tip Line at (989) 775-9302. 
  • An anonymous tip can be left at Silent Observer of West Michigan by calling (616) 774-2345 or online at silentobserver.org http://www.silentobserver.org

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Child’s death ruled a homicide



Troopers from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Lakeview Post are investigating the death of a child in Montcalm County’s Douglass Township. 

Just after 5:30 a.m. on March 2, 2020, troopers responded to a residence on W. Stanton Rd. near N. Hillman Rd. and found an unresponsive child, just under the age of two. Lifesaving attempts by troopers and Montcalm EMS personnel were unsuccessful and the child was pronounced dead on scene.

The child was identified as Vayda Vasquez, who would have turned two next month.  Following an autopsy at a Spectrum Health Hospital in Grand Rapids on March 3, 2020, the child’s death has been ruled a homicide. The cause of death and additional details has not been released at this time because of the ongoing investigation.

Investigators are asking anyone with information regarding the death of this child to please contact Silent Observer by calling 616-774-2345, emailing info@silentobserver.com, or submitting a tip online at www.silentobserver.org. If anyone would like to speak to a detective, please call the MSP Lakeview Post at 989-352-8444.

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Cedar Springs woman dies in crash



A Cedar Springs woman died last weekend when her car rolled on US-131 in the early hours of the morning.

According to the Michigan State Police, the crash occurred on Saturday, February 15, at 3:59 a.m. on northbound US-131 north of 6 Mile Rd, in Plainfield Township. The preliminary investigation showed that only one vehicle was involved.

A Chevrolet Cruze had been reported as driving recklessly shortly before the crash, then ran off the roadway and rolled multiple times. The only person in the vehicle was the driver, identified as Monique Gabrielle Wilks, 22, of Cedar Springs. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police believe alcohol was a factor in the crash.

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Stanwood man and his horse killed in pedestrian-car crash



The Michigan State Police (MSP) Mt. Pleasant Post is investigating a car vs. pedestrian fatal crash that occurred on February 16, 2020, at approximately 9:39 a.m. The crash also involved an on-duty trooper, who was assisting in the area.

A trooper from the MSP Mount Pleasant Post was assisting an 85-year-old Stanwood man with getting a horse back to the man’s residence on 8 Mile Rd east of 170th Ave within Mecosta County’s Austin Twp. The trooper was dispatched to the area of 8 Mile Rd near 170th Ave for a reported horse running loose. The horse was captured by the trooper, at which time the owner was identified and contacted by citizens passing by. The owner of the horse then came to the scene and took possession of his horse and began to lead the horse home.

As the trooper was in the process of assisting the citizen in getting his horse back home, preliminary investigation shows that passenger car, driven by a 43-year-old Mt. Pleasant woman traveling west on 8 Mile Rd. lost control of her vehicle, crossed the centerline, and struck the man and his horse on the side of eastbound 8 Mile Rd. After striking the man and horse, the vehicle then struck the patrol vehicle occupied by the trooper. As a result of the crash, the Stanwood man and his horse received fatal injuries. The trooper was medically treated and released for injuries he sustained in this crash. The Mt. Pleasant woman was not injured in the crash, which remains under investigation.

Troopers were assisted on the scene by Mecosta Fire and Rescue and the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department.

The deceased was identified as 85-year-old Robert Johnston of Stanwood.

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Police investigate suspicious shooting



Michigan State Police troopers from the Lakeview Post are investigating the shooting of a man in Sidney Township Monday morning.

On February 18 at approximately 7:00 a.m., troopers from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Lakeview Post responded to the area of W. Colby Rd and M-66 for a man who called 911 to report he had been shot. Troopers, along with Montcalm Co. EMS, responded to the scene and located a 45-year-old Belding man with an injury to his head. The man was camping in the area at the time of the incident. He was was transported to Greenville United Hospital, where he was treated for bullet fragments found in his head. The man’s injuries are not life-threatening and he has been released from the hospital.  

This incident remains under investigation and troopers are asking anyone with information or who may have been hunting in the area to contact the MSP Lakeview Post at 989-352-8444.

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Barricaded fugitive arrested


When the Michigan State Police attempted to take a man into custody last Thursday in Montcalm County, it turned into an all-day standoff.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. January 23, detectives from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Fugitive Team attempted to take a 46-year-old Ionia man into custody outside of a residence on S. Miller Rd., north of W. Muskrat Rd. in Sidney Township . The suspect was wanted for felony firearm, taking a weapon into a prison, home invasion, and a Friend of the Court warrant.  When he saw police, the suspect fled back into the residence, barricaded himself inside, and indicated he was armed and may harm himself or police. 

As it turned out, the suspect was the only person inside the residence during the incident.  

The owner of the residence was also on scene and cooperated with the investigation.  Area residents were notified of the incident and evacuated.

Troopers from the Lakeview Post and Emergency Support (ES) Team responded to the scene, established a perimeter around the residence, and began to communicate with the suspect to negotiate a peaceful surrender.  The suspect exited the residence and surrendered to troopers at approximately 3:50 p.m. without further incident.   

The suspect, Jerry Lee Smith, was transported from the scene to be lodged at the Newaygo Co. Jail. He was arraigned in Newaygo Co. Circuit Court last Friday, January 24 on the charge of home invasion from their county. 

The MSP Lakeview Post will be seeking additional charges for what went on in Montcalm Co. on Thursday.

MSP was assisted on scene by Montcalm EMS.

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Greenville armed robbery suspects arrested



The Michigan State Police (MSP) Lakeview Post and the Greenville Department of Public Safety have arrested two 34-year-old Greenville men for robbery following a joint investigation.  

On Sunday, December 1, shortly after 9 a.m., Troopers from the MSP Lakeview Post responded to an armed robbery at the Admiral gas station at 6990 S. Greenville Rd. in Montcalm County’s Eureka Twp.  A suspect described as a white male wearing grey sweatpants, a grey and blue hooded sweatshirt, dark shoes, and bandana covering the lower half of his face, entered the store armed with what appeared to be a knife. The suspect took an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register before exiting the store and fleeing on foot, possibly getting into a vehicle.  

Two days prior, the Family Dollar store at 114 W. Grove St. in downtown Greenville was robbed in a similar manner, also by a white male suspect, which is being investigated by the Greenville Department of Public Safety (DPS.)

MSP Lakeview and Greenville DPS investigators collaborated efforts and were able to identify the robbery suspect through follow-up investigation and reviewing surveillance footage. The suspect is believed to be the same individual involved in both robberies. A second suspect was also developed, believed to be involved with the robbery of the Admiral gas station.

On December 2nd, the primary robbery suspect was arrested at a residence in Greenville with the assistance of the MSP Emergency Support Team and Central Michigan Enforcement Team. The second suspect was arrested a short distance away from the residence following a traffic stop. Both men were lodged in the Montcalm County jail and were arraigned on charges in 64B District Court of Montcalm County.

Christopher Daniel Sloppye, 34, of Greenville, was arraigned on Dec. 3 on two counts of armed robbery. Matthew Allen Sharp, 34, also of Greenville, was arraigned on one count of armed robbery. 

Sloppye is also under investigation by the Greenville DPS for other crimes he may have committed earlier in the month. 

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Second phase of roadside drug testing pilot begins



LANSING, MICH. The expanded Oral Fluid Roadside Analysis Pilot Program began Tuesday, Oct. 1, and includes participation from drug recognition experts (DREs) in every Michigan county.

Pursuant to Public Act 242 and 243 of 2016, the Michigan State Police (MSP) conducted a one-year Oral Fluid Roadside Analysis Pilot program, which concluded in November 2018, in five counties – Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw. The initial pilot provided valuable data on the performance of the oral fluid test instrument when coupled with law enforcement observed driver behavior and standardized field sobriety tests, but the overall sample size was too small to draw any definitive conclusions on the tool’s usefulness for law enforcement.

In their February 2019 report, the Oral Fluid Roadside Analysis Pilot Program Committee recommended expansion of the pilot for an additional year to include all DREs in the state to allow a greater number of police departments to participate and to increase the sample size.

“This additional, statewide data will help to determine the usefulness of this tool for law enforcement, as we work to get drug-impaired drivers off Michigan’s roads,” said Lt. Col. Richard Arnold, commander of MSP’s Field Operations Bureau. “Roadside oral fluid testing continues to show promise and by expanding this pilot, we’ll have a larger body of results by which to determine the tool’s effectiveness.”

Under the pilot program, a DRE may require a person to submit to a preliminary oral fluid analysis to detect the presence of a controlled substance in the person’s body if they suspect the driver is impaired by drugs. The preliminary oral fluid analysis will be conducted by a DRE on the person’s oral fluid, obtained by mouth swab, and will be administered along with the drug recognition 12-step evaluation currently used by DREs.

The oral fluid test instrument tests for the presence of the following drugs: amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabis (delta 9 THC), cocaine, methamphetamines and opiates.

Refusal to submit to a preliminary oral fluid analysis upon lawful demand of a police officer is a civil infraction.

DREs are police officers who have received highly specified training that allows them to identify drivers impaired by drugs. Although the pilot program is being organized and managed by the MSP, DREs employed by county, township and municipal police agencies are also involved.

Over the last several years, Michigan has seen a steady increase in fatal crashes involving drivers impaired by drugs. In 2018, there were 247 drug-involved traffic fatalities.

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