3 years later, murder charge in Kalamazoo County death

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

A July 6, 2020, booking photo of Joshua Wessel from the Kalamazoo County Jail.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A Galesburg man who was already convicted of auto theft after being found with a dead man’s car has now been charged with murder.

Joshua Wessel, 31, accused of open murder, court records show. The Kalamazoo County undersheriff confirmed he was jailed in connection to the 2017 death of Ronald French.

An undated courtesy photo of Ron French.

French, 71, was reported missing by loved ones in early June of 2017. About three weeks later, his body was found between two fields along E. V Avenue and S. 45th Street in rural Wakeshma Township.

The day after French’s remains were spotted by a farm worker, Wessel was found with French’s truck. The keys were in Wessel’s pocket, French’s family told News 8 at the time.

Wessel served 90 days in jail for unlawful driving away of an automobile in the case.

Online records show Wessel was booked into the jail on the murder charge Monday afternoon.

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