Crime

FBI

Police are stepping up their efforts to solve a five-year-old hit-and-run case in Traverse City. The F.B.I. is offering a $25,000 reward for any information lading to a conviction in the death of 29-year-old Kelly Hurlbert.

On July 5, 2013, Hurlbert was riding her bike home from work at North Peak Brewing Company when she was struck by a car on Washington Street. Evidence at the scene showed that Hurlbert was dragged for more than a block.

JJ, Flickr

Police have stopped two kilograms of cocaine from being sold in northern Michigan. The cocaine was allegedly mailed from an address in Texas to James Lopez of Benzie County. Law enforcement intercepted the package at a local post office before it reached Lopez.

Michigan State Police Lt. Dan King, head of the Traverse Narcotics Team (TNT), says they rarely see drug packages this large in northern Michigan.

“To my memory, it’s the largest seizure and arrest of cocaine in Benzie County,” says King.

Emmet County

A northern Michigan man has been sentenced after posting a mass shooting threat on Facebook. Thirty-three-year-old Kevin Wayne Hansen was charged with an attempted threat of terrorism. He pleaded guilty.

Emmet County Prosecutor James Linderman says on Nov. 27, 2017, Hansen threatened to kill at least 59 people, referencing the massacre in Las Vegas last year.

Kevin Hansen's Facebook post:

Petoskey Department of Public Safety

A Charlevoix man has pleaded guilty to dealing heroin in Petoskey. Anthony Wilhelm appeared in Petoskey circuit court on Tuesday. 

Wilhelm’s alleged partner, Travis Gunderson, of Petoskey, pleaded guilty to other drug charges last month.

Ben Schumin

Otsego County has the highest rates of shoplifting in Michigan. According to data compiled by M-Live, Otsego County had 142 shoplifting arrests in 2016.

Rebecca Reynolds and Jim Carpenter recently released their second podcast series about Charles Manson, called "Young Charlie." They say despite the brutal details of the murders covered in the show, it's a story that needs to be told.
Dan Wanschura

Take a look at a list of top podcasts today and one thing is very clear: murder is big.

Podcasts like “Dirty John,” “Someone Knows Something,” and a show from ABC News called “A Killing on the Cape,” often focus on the graphic details of murder. Currently, they rank higher on iTunes than shows like “Fresh Air,” “Radiolab” and “The Ted Radio Hour.”

Detroit’s reputation as a high crime city has not gone away, but its crime rate is down substantially. It’s been falling since the 1980s. But there are areas of the city that are not as safe as others.

Detroit Neighborhood Police Officer (NPO) DeAndre Gaines at the Department’s Fifth Precinct picked me up for a ride-along in his patrol car. We headed to the MorningSide neighborhood on the city’s east side.

'Hollywood and Crime' is a podcast produced by Jim Carpenter and Rebecca Reynolds of Leland. The couple is currently working on producing the second season of the podcast, which is due later this year.
Wondery

Rebecca Reynolds and her husband, Jim Carpenter are filmmakers from Leland, Michigan.  About two years ago, Rebecca had a conversation with a friend in Los Angeles. Together, they came up with the concept for a true crime and Hollywood show.


"Don't be afraid to call us."

That's what Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky said in a recent meeting of anxious people at the Hispanic Center of West Michigan.

The meeting addressed concerns from people who don't know how and if President Trump's immigration crackdown involves local police agencies.

Aaron Selbig

A Traverse City man was convicted Monday of assaulting a homeless man.

After a day-long trial, jurors found 19-year-old Maayingan Brauker guilty of assaulting David Whitney, who was kicked and punched last July while sleeping near Central United Methodist Church.

Rebecca Reynolds and Jim Carpenter work on their podcast 'Hollywood and Crime' from their home in Leland.
Dan Wanschura

Rebecca Reynolds and her husband, Jim Carpenter are filmmakers from Leland, Michigan.  About two years ago, Rebecca had a conversation with a friend in Los Angeles. Together, they came up with the concept for a true crime and Hollywood show.


Boyne Highlands Resort

A man has been charged with second degree arson today in connection with the Boyne Highlands Resort fire in December. The fire injured a dozen people and damaged around 70 rooms.

The defendant, David Soltysiak, from Petoskey, was at the resort on December 11th for an office Christmas party, says Emmet County Sheriff Pete Wallin.  Soltysiak booked a room to stay the night.

All this week, we’re looking at juvenile lifers in Michigan -- those inmates sentenced to mandatory life without the possibility of parole for crimes committed when they were minors.

Michigan ranks second in the number of prisoners who fit this classification. There are more than 360 juvenile lifers in Michigan, and a series of U.S. Supreme Court cases has meant that Michigan has to take a second look at the sentences these inmates were given.

Aaron Selbig

If you’ve spent a summer day on the beaches of Grand Traverse Bay, you’ve probably seen parasailers soaring across the sky. Parasailing is a popular, fun way to get out on the water, but the Traverse City parasailing business also has a cutthroat side.

Grand Traverse County

Judge Philip Rodgers announced his retirement from the 13th Circuit Court this week. Rodgers presided over many big cases in northern Michigan, including the fight over a nine-story building in Traverse City.

In a letter announcing his retirement, Rodgers thanked the attorneys he's worked with over the years, calling them “the most interesting and humorous people in the world.”

Peter Payette

Police in Traverse City are investigating a pair of attacks on homeless men this week. The victims were kicked, and had firecrackers and stones thrown at them. 

Two were injured badly enough to be taken to the hospital. David Whitney has a broken nose and 27 stitches on his forehead, above his eye and, he says, inside his mouth. His left eye is swollen and blue. 

"They came back in here three times to continue," Whitney says of the attacks. "[They] dragged me down there ... kicking the stuffing out of me.

Tom Carr

Are you a fan of a good murder story? If so, you’ll find plenty of well-known murder cases all around Michigan.

Northern Michigan author and journalist Tom Carr has gathered up a bunch of them in his new book, “Blood On the Mitten: Infamous Michigan Murders.” The book takes a look at Michigan murder cases all the way back to the 18th century.

You may know Carr as a former reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle and a contributor to IPR News.

To protect yourself from assault, be aware of your surroundings. That’s what twelve women and girls learned last weekend at a self-defense class at The Rock of Kingsley. 

The class was in direct response to sexual assault statistics.

Bills to ease penalties for minors who are caught with alcohol have cleared the state Senate.

Under current law, a first minor-in-possession (MIP) offense comes with a misdemeanor charge and possible jail time. The legislation would make it a civil fine. The state Senate approved the bill with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Supporters say one MIP offense can make it tough for young people to get a job.

“This is outrageous, criminalizing young people for having a beer or even a beer in their system,” said bill sponsor Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge).

Michigan State Police

A joint effort has led to the arrest of nine people who law enforcement say conspired to bring heroin and cocaine to northern Michigan.

Michigan State Police allege drugs flowed from the Detroit-area to Traverse City and Cadillac for years.

“They are thinking maybe seven million dollars worth of heroin was brought up into northern Michigan during that five year process,” says First Lieutenant Michael Shaw with MSP. “So we’ve shut down a major, major source into both Traverse City and Cadillac.”

David Cassleman

Thompsonville is a small town of roughly 450 people. The village center is just down the road from Crystal Mountain.

And while some people are enjoying the quiet life of a small town, Ron Osga is worried about police protection and a rise in drug use.

He says things got really bad in Thompsonville when heroin hit five years ago.

"For a while they were burying somebody once a year from an overdose," he says.

 


UPDATED: Traverse City's mayor victim of vandalism

Apr 22, 2015
photo courtesy of Mayor Michael Estes

The mayor of Traverse City says an F-150 pickup parked in his driveway was vandalized over the weekend. Michael Estes says he was out of town over the weekend and discovered the damage Sunday at about 9:00pm.

“Three sides of the vehicle were filled with black, spray-painted graffiti,” he says. “And very derogatory comments.”

An 18-year-old murder case was not resolved this week, as Kalkaska residents had hoped. A jury could not come to a decision in the case against Jason Ryan for the 1996 rape and murder of 68-year-old widow Geraldine Montgomery.

So now, after Kalkaska has endured two long trials, the community is heading for a third.

A jury was not able to agree whether Ryan is guilty of the crime after a nearly two-week trial. The prosecutor has said he will try again. Ryan, 36, is said to have been staying down the street from Montgomery’s home at the time of the murder.

The town of Kalkaska will endure a second long trial in a rape and murder from the 1990s.

The trial for Jason Ryan will revisit the horrific story of a widow’s last moments. But the jury will hear evidence in this trial that is vastly different from the first one.

Jason Ryan was staying just down the street from Geraldine Montgomery in October, 1996. That’s when Montgomery was found dead in the trunk of her car, asphyxiated as it ran in her closed garage.

New York (magazine)

Kelli Stapleton is on the cover of this week’s edition of New York (magazine).

The Elberta woman was sentenced earlier this month to at least 10 years in prison for trying to murder her autistic teenage daughter in September 2013.

Hanna Rosin, a journalist based in Washington, D.C., wrote the cover story after months of reporting and interviewing Stapleton and her family.

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