Home — Murder, “cold” cases, and mayhem

This website is intended to deal with murder, brutality, corruption and hatred—all falling under what we call acts of injustice.  We tell the stories of open and unsolved homicides–what are called “cold” cases.  We also memorialize those whose lives have been taken from them in hope that somebody will come forward to tell the truth. So far our efforts center on Michigan.

David B. Schock, Ph.D.

David B. Schock, Ph.D.

“Somebody knows somethin’.  Somebody ALWAYS knows somethin’.”

That’s the way Jim Fairbanks put it when we made our first film, Who Killed Janet Chandler?  Detective Fairbanks (retired) was the lead investigator on the law enforcement team in 1979.  What he had to say then still applies today.  For nearly every unsolved homicide there is somebody out there who could solve it if she or he would come forward and make a contact.

To call an unsolved homicide a “cold” case is chilling in its own right.  Yes, these unsolved cases grow “cold” because there are no new leads; they more or less drop off the social and cultural radar.  But they are NEVER “cold” to the family members and friends, they are never forgotten or out of mind.  And there is always the hope that justice, however delayed, will be served.

We invite you to visit the We Remember part of this site, a place where families and friends of those whose murders remain unsolved contact us and can help to post details of the victims’ lives and the resultant investigations.

We also invite your view of what we are calling a Primary Documentary Investigation as we tell the story of the murder of Mina Dekker.

Our hope in all the cases we chronicle is that somebody who knows something will say something.

From David — A Weblog of investigation:

August 8, 2016 — Slowly and slowly the film comes along

These films take time. I am in the middle or a little more of Heritage Hill Bride: The Murder of Shelley Speet Mills. And I need to move right along: the premier is Sept. 14 at the Wealthy Street Theatre.

You are invited. Silent Observer is again providing free popcorn.

Last week was spent in editing and recording music for the film. (I like to make sure all the music I use is locally produced; there is nothing there off the shelf. This time pianist Becca Beebe was kind enough to be the artist. Guitarist Mark Huizenga often has been the artist for previous films.)

The film is not yet end to end. I hope to have it this week. And that’s generally the mark that I have the piece in hand. BUT NOT YET! So there is a sense of urgency. And I need to return to the Ryerson Library to get a couple more newspaper clippings from the various killings that came to be known as the Heritage Hill Murders. Shelley’s murder is generally considered the first of the lot.

I would appreciate your prayers as I move ahead. Prayers to tell the story in a compelling manner, prayers for protection, prayers for calm reflection. And prayers for Shelley, her family and friends.

I thank you.

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June 20, 2016 — What about praying for these victims, their families, the police…and the murderers?

I believe in prayer, the powerful effects of prayer. I am convinced that each one of the murders with which we’ve been associated has been solved in large part because of prayer. …Not just prayers by the families and friends, but also by police. Most officers I know of put a great deal of faith in prayer. The officers who worked the Janet Chandler murder prayed together regularly. Their families prayed with and for them, helping to scrape off the toxicity of having to deal with any number of people who wished them ill. Every other case I’ve been close to has also involved uplifting and protective prayer…for justice, for the families of the victims, for the officers who are investigating the cases (and who really want to solve them), and even for the murderers.

Why pray for murders? They cannot begin to heal until they own up to what they’ve done. Many stay in denial…they are innocent, of course. Some others, though, have thanked the police who arrested them for doing what they were incapable of doing on their own: facing the evil they have done, their sin.

Shannon Marie Sider’s 1989 murder in Newaygo was a case that rattled me right from the start. I sensed the evil that surrounded the case, the absolute debasement of the killers, and the danger they represented…both spiritual and physical danger. They had killed once with near glee and I didn’t think there would be much to stop them from killing again. The story of the murder shook me at my core; that takes some doing.

After one of the early filming sessions I was so dis-eased that  went to St. Mark’s Church on–of all things–Justice Street (just behind the police station and across from the site of the old city jail). It was midday and the church was was open. So I knelt and prayed. And then I sought out the rector, The Reverend Mary Frens. I told her I thought there was spiritual warfare at work and that day I was the target.

She didn’t laugh, she didn’t dismiss my assertion. Instead she talked about the nature of evil and effective ways to fend it off and ways to protect one’s self from its effects. She talked about the work of Dr. Francis MacNutt. And then she shared two prayers that would be of use in our work.

Right then and there she gave me a copy of and then prayed MacNutt’s “Cutting Free Prayer,”  a way to cleanse and scape off all attachments. This was crucial, essential.

Then she shared his “Prayer for Protection,” something to pray before beginning work.

I believe that without these two prayers the film never would have been finished. We used them because they worked.

I believe that prayers like these and other, individual prayers can lead to the solving of these long unsolved homicides…of which there are so many.

Earlier last week I had the opportunity to speak again with The Reverend Frens, to let her know how helpful she and her work had been. I needed to thank her. She invited me to come back to speak with her congregation. So, yesterday I was in Newaygo again, to let that congregation know more fully the role of their church and rector in all that transpired.

And we talked about the DelayedJustice work. I told the congregants that I thought if every church would take on a cold case, many would benefit. First, there would be more cases solved–prayer having substantive effects. But it would be a lifting up of the victims, their families, the investigators, and the perpetrators. Maybe churches could invite the families of victims to get to know them. Perhaps investigators would come to realize just how many people are at their backs, praying every day for their protection and progress.

I also told St. Mark’s congregants that access to their church was essential. I would stop there to pray every time I came to town. Never did I find the church locked. And I prayed with assurance that there would be a day when I could come and kneel in thanksgiving and gratitude.

It happened. And I return whenever I pass by to continue giving thanks and praise in that place where prayer has been so effective.

And the church always still is open…a deliberate act of necessary courage in uncertain times.

There is welcome there; on the door from the bell town to the sanctuary is this notice:

Whosoever thou art that entereth this Church

Know that the Lord Christ is here

in His Holy Sacrament Reserved.

Kneel then, and adore Him and Pray

for thyself, for those who minister and

worship here:

Nor forget the souls of the faithful departed.

We do not forget.

 

 

 

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May 19, 2016 — Investigators look into the Richard Atwood murder

This new investigation into the 1983 disappearance of Richard Atwood represents collaboration among agencies, almost always a good sign.

Richard Atwood murder GRPress

This team was especially effective during the investigation of the 1989 Shannon Marie Siders murder during the last few years and the resulting convictions of the Jones brothers. I wish them continued success.

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March 24, 2016 — One of Ryan Pollok’s murderers found guilty, the other pleads

Douglas Ryan Pollok, Jr.

Douglas Ryan Pollok, Jr.

Last Friday jurors found 27-year-old Juan Enrique Reyes guilty of assault with intent to murder and felony firearm for the Sept. 30, 2007, homicide of Douglas Ryan Pollok, Jr.

Reyes’ brother Eric Reyes Santiago pleaded guilty the day before as an accessory to the murder.

The brothers, both U.S. citizens, had fled to Mexico after arrest warrants were issued for them. At long last they were arrested by Mexican authorities near Guadalajara in November 2015.   The two were extradited to West Michigan to face charges.

Pollok was attending a party  at 751 Cutler St. SW. in Grand Rapids. He was standing outside with some others, when Reyes and Santiago rolled up, got out of their car, first starting shouting and then started shooting. Reyes and Santiago had mistaken the gathering for some shooters with whom they’d been beefing at an area gas station. Neither Pollok not anyone else at the party had anything to do with the earlier altercation; he was an innocent bystander.

Both men are scheduled to be sentenced April 13.

Here’s the story by Angie Jackson in mlive.

.

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March 19, 2016 — Going to speaking to Rockford’s senior citizens Monday

Monday I am to deliver a talk about murder, specifically about the 1970 murder of Shelley Speet Mills. The murder has dogged me for more than  decade; it has followed investigators far longer. Finally, little by little, it’s coming together as a film. There, I’ve said it! Now I have to live into it. Almost all the footage has been gathered; there are only three interviews yet that I want to do (only one of them absolutely necessary). Now is one of the times this work is difficult and I have to be my own motivator. Still, getting ready for this talk has pushed me to begin the edit.

At any rate, we convene for lunch at noon at the Community Cabin, 220 N. Monroe Street. The talk begins immediately after chow. I hope the discussion will be useful.

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