GRPD investigating homicide at GRCC parking ramp

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GRCC parking ramp homicide scene 043016_210768

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Police Department is investigating a homicide at a parking ramp at Grand Rapids Community College early Saturday.

Officers were called to the GRCC parking ramp in the 100 block of Bostwick Avenue NE north of Lyon Street around 2:47 a.m. According to authorities, a witness contacted police saying a man was seen dragging what appeared to be a body between the main building and the parking ramp.

When officers arrived, they found the body of a woman near shrubs and bushes on the campus. What appear to be drag marks could still be seen in that area Saturday afternoon.

Police have not yet said how the woman died, nor have they released any other information about the circumstances of the homicide. Her name was not released Saturday, but police said she was between the ages of 30 and 40.

A K-9 unit was brought to the scene but was not able to track down the suspect, who was described as a black man between the ages of 20 and 30. He was described by a witness as 6 feet tall. He either had short hair or was bald. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and dark pants.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call GRPD at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

GRCC said it sent out a notification to all staff and students regarding the incident. That alert says it “does not appear (the) individual is connected to GRCC” and asked anyone with information to call GRPD.

Campus Police Chief Rebecca Whitman said there are surveillance cameras in the parking structure, but not on every level. She said that in this case, it would not have mattered even if there were more cameras because no part of the crime occurred inside the structure.

There is a camera near the entrance to the parking ramp. It was unclear if the images it recorded provided GRPD with any information that may lead to an arrest.

The college was not open when the incident happened. Whitman said the campus police are on staff when the college is open for business. After that, Grand Rapids police take over patrol. Anyone on campus after closing time is trespassing.

She said the only connection the college has to the crime is that the body was discovered there.PERSON TAKEN INTO CUSTODY IN HEARTSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD

Saturday afternoon, police responded to the area of Mel Trotter Ministries in Grand Rapids’ Heartside neighborhood. Police said they were there in connection to the homicide investigation, though they did not say exactly what brought them there.

Later Saturday evening, one person was taken into custody outside Mel Trotter and a weapon was confiscated. Police would not specify whether that was connected to the homicide.

GRPD said its investigation continues and that it would release information about an arrest following approval by the prosecutor’s office.

Saturday’s homicide is not the first killing at the parking ramp at Grand Rapids Community College. In 1991, Muriel Stoepker who was homeless and suffered from mental illness was found brutally beaten, raped and shot death near the parking ramp.–24 Hour News 8’s Joe LaFurgey and Barton Deiters contributed to this report.

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