BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - A 64-year-old man has been arraigned for allegedly killing another man whose body was found in some woods in Branch County on Sunday.
The victim has been identified as Larry Eldon Denniston, 63, who was from Bellevue in Eaton County but lived in California, police said in a news release.
The suspect, Lauren Dale O'Melay, is from Marshall in Calhoun County. He was charged with open murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He is being held at the Calhoun County Correctional Facility with no bond.
Calhoun County prosecutors said the men are distant relatives. Additionally, property records reveal the pair co-owned the property where O'Melay lived and was arrested.
On Tuesday Calhoun County sheriff's deputies and investigators with the Michigan State Police Crime Lab combed that property -- a house and field several hundred yards away -- along 20 Mile Road in rural Marengo Township.
"We believe the crime occurred out in that field, south of the residence," Sgt. Tracey Chambers of the Calhoun County Sheriff's Department told 24 Hour News 8.
Neighbor Charlie Mack and his family moved in across the street from O'Melay a few months ago.
"I got home from work and there were police cars all over and the property was all taped off and I couldn't even get down the road," said Mack.
He said O'Melay mainly kept to himself but he would see him outside from time to time.
"He was never really outwardly friendly. I waved at him a couple of times but never really got to know him," said Mack.
Authorities aren't yet saying how or why the murder was committed.
After the killing, investigators say, the body was transported and dumped in the woods off Ely Road in nearby Butler Township.
The Calhoun and Branch County sheriff's departments are working together on the case.
Investigators said they found enough evidence to quickly move the case forward.
"Within two hours after activating the crimes task force, we ended up apprehending the suspect and arrested him," said Chambers.
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