Detectives looking for driver, answers in GR man’s death

Kent County

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The last night of Gregory Gietzen’s life began as a night out.

“Two friends go out, and they were having a couple of drinks at a couple different local establishments in the Comstock Park area,” explained Sgt. Joel Roon from the Kent County Sheriff’s Office.

But the night ended in tragedy when the 57-year-old from Grand Rapids was found dead in the friend’s driveway Sunday morning. 

Preliminary autopsy results show Gietzen died from exposure, but there were also injuries to his face. Detectives say Gietzen’s injuries could have been caused by a fall, but they’re not ruling out other potential causes.

“The contributing factors of the injuries is something that has yet to be established,” Roon said. “It’s possible that the injuries came from an assault, which would be a criminal matter. Do we think the injuries were what killed him?  No.”  

Detectives say after spending some time at bars with Gietzen, his friend left for his home in the 4500 block of Bekinshire Drive and went to sleep. Gietzen stayed behind.  

Detectives say Gietzen was last seen about 8:30 p.m. Saturday leaving a bar near West River Drive and 4 Mile Road NW.

Sometime after that, Gietzen got a ride to the friend’s home.

“We believe he was dropped off either by a ride share program or by someone he met when he was out or maybe even an acquaintance while he was out. And that’s the person we are looking for,” said Roon. 

“The primary focus of the investigation at this point is putting together a timeline from 8:30 p.m. until the time he was found on Sunday morning, just to establish what may have happened,” Roon added.

He says the friend is cooperating with investigators.

Detectives are hoping Gietzen’s driver recognizes the house near Alpine Avenue NW and contacts detectives.   

That person’s answers may give Gietzen’s family some answers.

If you have any information, please contact the Kent County Sheriff’s Office at 616.632.6125 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

***CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated a friend found Gietzen dead. We regret this error, which has been corrected.***

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