GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) - The memo was a simple request.
"The suspect(s) used a .40 caliber Glock handgun" read themessage to law enforcement. "The sheriff's office is asking anyonewith information to contact... " followed by the names of Lt. MarkBennett and another Ottawa County detective.
"We couldn't put that out to the general public at that time.But we wanted it out to the law enforcement community so that theycould be on the lookout and that's exactly what happened," Bennetttold 24 Hour News 8.
The message went out just days after the bodies of SharmaineZimmer, her sons Tyler and Jeremy and Jeremy's girlfriend KatherineBrown were found in the burned out Wright Township home.
Investigators had narrowed the owners of that particular gundown to a tall stack of names. They needed something that wouldpull a name out of that pile.
"The key to identifying the suspect at that time was thisbulletin," Bennett said, "and then the wherewithal from the GRPD tomake the call to us after they had made the arrest of Mr. Brake. Ithink that 's absolutely key in this case."
The night before, Grand Rapids police arrested Troy Brake forthe beating of a Grand Rapids prostitute. They recovered a Glock 40from his truck.
From there, another gun was found at Brake's Newaygo Countyhome. A cartridge from the second gun matched the bullets used inthe murders.
"Without the call from GRPD it may have been sometime, if ever,we'd been able to put together information," Bennett said.
None of this happened by luck.
Area departments have established a tradition of breakingdown boundaries and trusting each other with vital information incases.
"It still comes down to trusting in the system enough to putyour case facts out there for other agencies to know and to workwith," said Capt. Jeffrey Hertel, head of the Grand Rapids PoliceDetective Bureau.
Thursday, seven months after that memo went out, a jury sentTroy Brake to life in prison for the murders.
"Hopefully this provides some closures for the family," Bennettsaid. "Obviously, as everybody's said, it will never bring theirloved ones back. But hopefully this helps some of the mendingprocesses."
24 Hour News 8 reported earlier Grand Rapids police wereinvestigating Brake's possible involvement in the killing of otherwomen, some of them known prostitutes.
Hertel said Brake is still on their radar, but thoseinvestigations continue.
The wolf season started on Nov. 15 and runs through December.
Joshua Hoppe, 30, from Zeeland was a teacher with Hamilton Community Schools.
Nobody was injured and no personal belongings were stolen.